Role models, confidence, self-esteem and other leadership stuff

leadership role modelOur leadership research and tastes were eclectic last week, ranging from giving praise to happiness to the impact of role models.


The Praise Paradox: Why Praise Doesn’t Always Lead to Confidence (Tara Sophia Mohr, The Glass Hammer) Continue reading


Catch up on your reading!

These leadership pieces intrigued us, made us say “hmmm” or were helpful to a client this past week. Enjoy!

Are Successful People Nice (Art Markman, HBR Blog)

Recent research shows that men who are agreeable earn less than those who are disagreeable. What’s up with this?

Handling Direct Challenges to Your Authority (Tanvi Gautam, The Glass Hammer)

Tanvi offers three pieces of practical advice for handling situations when your clout is openly defied.

Leaders Open Their Ears Wide (Mary Jo Asmus, Leadership Solutions)

Terrific post from Mary Jo pointing out the important leadership implications from listening to understand versus “pretend listening.”

Overcoming the Abysmal Reorganizing and Restructuring Failure Rates (Jim Clemmer, The Clemmer Group)

Considering a reorg? You’ll find a whole host of statistics and insights on how to handle a reorganization with people, not to them.

Why You’re Stuck in a Rut (And How to Get Out of It) (Travis Robertson)

Thoughts on upending the change paradigm by not waiting for inspiration before making a change.

Thoughts on gender. If a woman is swept off a ship into the water, the cry is ‘Man overboard!’ If she is killed by a hit-and-run driver, the charge is ‘manslaughter.’ If she is injured on the job, the coverage is ‘workmen’s compensation.’ But if she arrives at a threshold marked ‘Men Only,’ she knows the admonition is not intended to bar animals or plants or inanimate objects. It is meant for her. ~Alma Graham

Image courtesy of Make It Happen



Weekly Leadership Reading

Each week we share our favorite leadership reading from all the research we do. Our favs are an eclectic collection of topics that engaged our interest over the past week. Posts may be current, old, mainstream, and even off the beaten path. Be inspired! Lead BIG!

Lead by Listening and Championing New Leaders & New Ideas (Melissa Laughon, Catch Your Limit)

The BIG team loves Melissa’s self-awareness! On a recent flight, she recognized it was time to be a listener and hear stories about leadership and the power of negative role models.

Leadership and Love  (Paul J. Zak, Big Questions Online)

“Especially in tough economic times, some managers may believe that love in the workplace is a luxury they can’t afford. They may find that the cost of hard-hearted or indifferent management can be counted in dollars and cents.” Try a little kindness…

Office Politics – Five Steps to Make It Joyful (Henna Inam, The Glass Hammer)

Office politics is frequently a work sport many people choose not to play. Bad move. Henna offers up good advice on how to turn those sticky situations into positive advantage.

Escaping the Asylum (Samuel B. Bacharach, The Bacharach Blog)

Goodness, what a concept! Comparing corporate life to being in an asylum, where, “after a while everyone…begins to submit to the definition of self the organization imposes on them, begins speaking the language of the organization, parroting the aspirations of the organization, and accepting the authority and rules of the organization.” Lots to noodle after reading this one!

3 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic  (Scott Eblin, Eblin Group)

Scott serves up three methods for silencing the itty, bitty committee in your head “so you can show up with the kind of confidence that compels people to follow your lead.”

How Women Can Advance as Business Leaders (Anne Deeter Gallaher, CrowdShifter)

Anne shares tips and pointers that helped her with career advancement, from finding your voice to building your own sandbox.

Workplace Diet: Was Blind But Now I See (Because I Asked for Input) (David Grossman, Leader Communicator Blog)

As David writes, “We all have them. Blind spots. Things that are unknown to us yet obvious to others; an area of our leadership vision we’re not able to see.” He offers examples of the most common blind spots as well as 11 ways to figure them out.

Thoughts on dealing with the paradox of kindness. “Kindness is the currency of our hearts, the only currency that can never be subtracted and never be balanced in anyone’s ledgers. We choose to be kind because it is the way we want to live our lives, not because we will be rewarded in some way. When we start to keep score, we become closed-hearted: I’m not doing anything nice until someone does something good for me. Our acts of kindness are whole unto themselves. They require no acknowledgment and no reward, for the act itself returns us once again to the heart of our own humanity.” ~Will Glennon










This Week’s Leadership Favs

Our weekly leadership favorites are an eclectic collection of articles, blog posts, quotes, pod casts and whatever else engages our interest. Some items are recent, others aren’t. Some are mainstream, others are off the beaten path. Enjoy! Be inspired!

The Leader And The Peacock In The Closet (Terry Starbucker)

Striking the fine balance between confidence and humility is a perpetual challenge for many leaders. Terry shares some of his early lessons from powerful mentors who helped him learn how effective leaders think more about we and less about me.

Management Debt (Ben Horowitz, ben’s blog)

As Gary Hamel writes, business is full of irreconcilable trade-offs, yet Ben adds a new twist. ”…you will run into serious trouble if you fail to keep the trade-off in the front of your mind. There also exists a less well-understood parallel concept, which I will call management debt. Like technical debt, management debt is incurred when you make an expedient, short-term management decision with an expensive, long-term consequence.”

Power Failure in Management Circuits (Rosabeth Moss Kanter, HBR post)

What a great opening line:  ”Power is America’s last dirty word.” And what’s even more compelling (to me) is that this article was published in 1979…and is still totally relevant today. Read on to learn more about sources of power, powerlessness, and sharing power. Then, ponder, as the BIG team is, about when this is all going to change…

What The Eyes Reveal: 10 Messages My Pupils are Sending You (Psyblog)

If you are looking for clues as to what story someone’s eyes are telling you, you’ll find ten interesting possibilities here.  The second item was a surprise to the BIG team.

Three Convenient Non-Excuses Keeping Women Off Boards (Melissa Anderson, The Glass Hammer)

While research from Catalyst and a host of other sources shows the positive bottom line impacts of more women in senior teams and on boards, the presence of women on those roles remains limited. Melissa writes about ”three convenient non-excuses that boards make for their lack of business-building diversity – and to counter them.”

A thought to noodle: ”I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” ~Gilda Radner

Here’s to using your head to manage and your heart to lead!



Fav Leadership Reading

Here’s hoping you’ll find some good reading - and inspiration - in our fav list for this week!

10 Ways to Act More Important Than You Really Are (Dan McCarthy, Great Leadership)

Dan’s post sure didn’t rub the BIG team the wrong way…we say right on! Character-based leaders are all about authenticity and sincerity rather than fretting about the size of their chair or feigning pseudo-intellectualism. (We did have a great walk down memory lane thanks to Dan, reminiscing about the big shots who sported the latest briefcases and had assistants fetch Italian coffee for meetings, thinking we would all be impressed!)

7 Ways Work Can Make You Physically Sick (Jeremy Dean, PsyBlog)

As the year winds down and you’re feeling a bit off even thinking about going to work, check out this post to determine if any of these factors may be in play for you.

The Four Corners Of Great Leadership (Tim Sanders, Tim Sanders blog)

Whether you’re new to the leadership game or would benefit from a quick view of what’s most important, Tim’s list of four — vision, commitment, influence and purpose - is either a great introduction, or reminder, of some foundational leadership premises.

Boosting Your Career and Personal Resilience (Kate Buller on The Glass Hammer)

Resilience is a key ingredient for life and workplace success. Kate provides interesting information regarding the biological responses to stress and offers a number of helpful suggestions for boosting your own resiliency.

Food for thought: There are seven things that will destroy us: wealth without work; pleasure without conscience; knowledge without character; religion without sacrifice; politics without principle; science without humanity; business without ethics. ~Mahatma Gandhi


BIG Curated Leadership Reading

Five People You Need On Your Personal Board of Directors (Tina Vasquez for The Glass Hammer)

If you’re a woman interested in making professional connections for career advancement, there’s some good advice in this article. Rather than wait for a mentor or sponsor, be proactive and create your own board of directors. Tina offers suggestions for five roles for the individuals you select for your board. This composition provides a variety of feedback which “leads to diversity of thought and in most cases, better results.”

Who’s Got the Monkey? (HBR Classic by William Oncken, Jr. and Donald L. Wass)

Struggling with a ‘to do’ list that gets longer every time one of your direct reports pops into your office? If your employees are delegating their issues upward to you, this will be a great read (or re-read!). HBR re-released it in the late ’90′s, and it totally resonated with the leadership team where I was working at the time. To help us manage what the authors call “subordinate-managed time,” we all purchased the barrel of monkeys toy, using it as a visual symbol to track who was giving the monkey to whom!

Cultivating Goodness (Mary Jo Asmus, Aspire Collaborative Services)

Here at Braithwaite and Get Your BIG On, we’re big supporters of goodness, kindness and making a sustainable positive difference. We applaud Mary Jo for creating a thoughtful list of things leaders can/should do to serve the greater good. “When you put goodness out there, it comes back to you. Make an impact and watch goodness ripple throughout your organization.”

Why Airplanes are a Productivity Haven For Me (Kevin Eikenberry on Leadership and Learning)

Kevin’s post made us chuckle. We share his view that airplanes are a haven for unplugged productivity. Kevin’s key point to add to your toolkit is finding your haven - a place to think and renew. “It’s about making (not finding) the time and place to do your most important work.”

Whack Pack: The best brainstorming tool for the iPad

I’m a big fan of Roger von Oech’s Whack Pack. It’s a great tool for introducing creativity concepts to leaders and for brainstorming. Now it’s available as an app. This article provides suggestions on how to use the tool via an iPad…ingenious! (And now all I have to do is get an iPad!)

This quote stopped us in our tracks this week: “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.” ~Nietzsche