Stop Fixing and Start Learning
One leadership style that is both praised and criticized is the “fixer.” When the situation looks mostly hopeless, we need someone who can minimize the damage and help restore some level of status quo. Yet no organization desires to be in that situation and certainly not to live in that state of affairs. Fixers excel at identifying root causes and mobilizing resources rapidly to help people and organizations move to a position where they can begin to play an active role in their rescue.
Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert in When Helping Hurts, illustrate the devastating effects when poverty alleviation…Read more.
Create Tension and Find a Better Solution
Several years ago, I read Roger Martin’s, The Opposable Mind, and immediately saw the need and opportunity for integrative thinking. Martin proposes that we don’t have to choose between two unsatisfying paths but if we think deeply enough, we can identify a third path that captures the desired benefits of the other two. After writing the book and promoting the concept, Martin realized telling people they just needed to “think harder” didn’t help very much. His latest book, Creating Great Choices, (co-authored with Jennifer Reil) provides the methodology to move beyond an interesting idea to an approach that helps…Read more.
What am I Missing?
Although I have enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell’s writings over the years, my initial reaction to his latest book, Talking to Strangers, was a bit lukewarm based completely on the title. It sounded like a self-help book for introverts. But after reading a few reviews, I realized the book had something to offer to the leadership conversation. Gladwell adds his voice to the chorus of writers reminding us we are not as competent as we think we are in some very important aspects of communication and decision making.
In Gladwell style, he illustrates his points with stories from the world of espionage,…Read more.
Overcoming the Blame Game
One of the leadership lessons learned in your first management assignment is the responsibility for the actions of others. While team activities may be a big part of growing up, most academic and extra-curricular activities focus on your individual performance. Grades given by teachers are intended to reflect individual learning and performance. The team may win or lose but the players generally know their personal statistics and remember well the coach’s feedback about their specific actions. So, the first time you receive negative feedback because someone else performed poorly can come as quite a shock.
Some emerging leaders embrace…Read more.
Don’t Let the Past Limit Today’s Options
Failed military battles produce some of our best leadership lessons. In hindsight it becomes clear whether it was simply a lack of resources, a flawed strategy, a superior enemy or a series of unforced leadership errors. Errors like a lack of preparation or poor decision making and communication can often be traced back to pride, overconfidence and fear. Usually these errors are not the result of a single mistake in thinking or action, but a series of cascading miscalculations and leadership behaviors.
In David McCullough’s book, Pioneers,about the settling of the Ohio Valley after the American Revolutionary War, he chronicles a…Read more.