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Archive: A leader's team

The unknowns: Your manager, perhaps?

I nominate all the leaders--executives, managers, supervisors, team leaders--who fly under the radar. You know the ones I mean. Their staffs, team members and employees rave...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | December 21, 2010; 01:52 PM ET | Comments (1)

The mitigators: David Cameron and Nick Clegg

Protesters might terrify formal-attired Camilla and Charles. But even that turned out fine. With budgets being slashed, there's no way to avoid such resistance--whether from students with scant tuition or from beneficiaries with lavish government handouts. But the harmony, decency and rationality of the Cameron-Clegg team...

By Ken Adelman | December 20, 2010; 04:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

When what you do outweighs who you are

A cloud of allegations hovers over this year's Heisman recipient, and a shadow has been cast on his character and on the integrity of those who chose him. In his case, fact and fiction are somewhat muddled; but what is clear is...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | December 16, 2010; 09:26 AM ET | Comments (2)

Cam being Cam

Once in an interview in response to the question '"How do you manage all those newly rich, testosterone-rich, self-absorbed men on a professional football team?" Bill Parcells answered exactly the opposite...

By Marty Linsky | December 15, 2010; 01:47 PM ET | Comments (1)

Offer redemption, then show the door

Spending time with my five grand kids always reminds me that children are great mimics. Spending a few minutes with the daily newspaper reminds me that adults are too--and often with far less charming results...

By John R. Ryan | December 15, 2010; 01:39 PM ET | Comments (1)

Integrity is essential

Today, more than ever, leaders are expected to set the standard. To be role models and...

By Susan Peters | December 14, 2010; 05:32 PM ET | Comments (3)

The meaning of an asterisk

Add Cam Newton's reception of the Heisman Trophy to the long list of examples of athletic "excellence" coming before sports "integrity." Many names come to mind, but the quintessential example...

By Coro Fellows | December 13, 2010; 11:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

How to save a company from demise

If culture is, as Terry Deal states, "the way we do things around here;" then corporate leadership must question the underlying assumptions that drive the behaviors of those within the company. Many assumptions are unconscious and have a dramatic effect on operations; surfacing them is critical to a company's ability to change. An integrated approach to leadership means...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | November 17, 2010; 10:55 AM ET | Comments (1)

Fighting gender fatigue

At a time when companies are looking for any unturned stone to improve their financials, it seems like idiocy not to leverage women. Study after study documents that companies with more gender-balanced leadership teams see better financial results. And yet even in this economy, we find ourselves at a standstill. If the inclusion argument was not enough of a reason to increase women's proportion, I thought surely the business case would get CEOs' attention.

By Selena Rezvani | October 29, 2010; 01:51 PM ET | Comments (24)

Zuckerberg rightly focuses on his 'inside game'

The very purpose of Facebook is to keep people informed about each other, not about Mark Zuckerberg, and he seems to be leading the organization effectively. His focus is on his "inside game" of continually making Facebook better every day, which he seems to be doing quite well. Perhaps the best "outside game" is a good "inside game".

By West Point Cadets | October 5, 2010; 11:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Time to repair a tarnished image

In the past, Zuckerberg's relationships with his colleagues proved fragile. He lost a number of people who helped build the company. His challenge is to retain and enlarge a talented team, develop his business, and beat the competition. That will require him to clarify his philosophy of leadership and convince his people that he can be trusted to practice it.

By Michael Maccoby | October 5, 2010; 10:23 AM ET | Comments (1)

Fearful leaders

I suspect the meetings that President Obama has with his advisers engender passion and debate between and among all present over high-stakes decisions. In these kinds of settings leaders far too frequently march down one of two paths: they shut out their advisers or they cater to...

By Martin Davidson | September 29, 2010; 02:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deciding in a state of ignorance

Seasoned decision-makers value experts' views---but view experts skeptically. They learn to cross-examine them with ferocity. They learn to create "Red" teams and "Blue" teams. The Red Team is charged with providing the affirmative account of...

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | September 29, 2010; 12:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

Getting team buy-in

Leaders who are looking for more creativity need to put their people in different surroundings and reframe the questions in ways that probe the underlying philosophy and criteria for an effective solution first, rather than specifics. Devising your own solution might work if you are president of the United States, but...

By Kathryn Kolbert | September 29, 2010; 12:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

When the going gets tough, the tough get...

In the case of strategic advice to a president, his senior military advisers must give him their best advice as they see it, no matter how painful. When faced with a desire to define an end state--and it is not clear that was the entire question at issue with the president in regard to Afghanistan--his military advisers...

By Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.) | September 28, 2010; 03:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

The right way to engage military leaders

The fact that a debate on the strategic direction occurred, allowing for conflicting and dissenting points of view within the Bush administration, is characteristic of healthy civil-military relations. Senior military officers--the theater and operational commanders as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff--were engaged in discourse...

By Col. Charles D. Allen | September 28, 2010; 03:19 PM ET | Comments (1)

Respect your advisers

President Obama has the difficult task of serving as a commander-in-chief without a military background, while working with career military people. He's not the first president in this position, of course. It just means he has to be extremely well prepared on military matters. He doesn't need to know nitty-gritty details...

By Yash Gupta | September 28, 2010; 02:26 PM ET | Comments (2)

The president as decider

This president is very logical, thoughtful and deliberative in the way he makes decisions; he doesn't appear to be impulsive or easily swayed by poll numbers grading his likability or direction. There seems to be healthy ability to obtain counsel from smart people who don't always see things the same way and who aren't afraid...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | September 28, 2010; 02:18 PM ET | Comments (1)

Going down in flames? Do it this way

In these make-or-break situations, my advice to leaders is: "Go with your gut." Going down in flames is always painful. But it's neigh on unbearable when you fail following someone else's advice about...

By Paul R. Portney | September 28, 2010; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (2)

Experts and advisers and leaders, oh my

A generation who judges its importance by numbers of blog followers and Facebook friends is bereft of leadership that dares to be unpopular. However, the "unpopular" role is one that leaders often have to play. If expert advice conflicts with what leadership senses is the best...

By Coro Fellows | September 28, 2010; 09:51 AM ET | Comments (3)

Leaders use advisers, not the other way around

President Obama's efforts to impose his views on the conduct of the war in Afghanistan bring to mind the example of an earlier president, Abraham Lincoln. During the first three years of the Civil War, Lincoln was served by military leaders who were either less than competent or...

By John Baldoni | September 28, 2010; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

When not to listen to experts

A leader's assumptions and incentives may be different from those of experts. In the case of Obama and the generals, the president--not the generals--is accountable to the American people. It is his responsibility to define and defend...

By Michael Maccoby | September 28, 2010; 09:22 AM ET | Comments (1)

The leader as chief strategist

The challenge with senior advisers and other content experts is that they are often just that --experts with deep, specialized knowledge in a narrow domain. They are not attuned to the language, framing and packaging required to sell a difficult decision to...

By Sally Blount | September 27, 2010; 04:46 PM ET | Comments (2)

Obama and Fenty guilty of poor communication

Leaders are the ones who create consensus. That might sound like a contradictory phrase, but it's true; people will follow leaders who clearly explain the reasons why their proposals and programs address the public's needs and desires.

By Yash Gupta | September 14, 2010; 12:01 PM ET | Comments (6)

Direct managers are still key to productivity

The first question any leader should ask is "what am I trying to get done?" Generally with regard to human capital, there are three basic objectives: recruiting terrific people to the organization, getting the highest contribution out of the people I have, and engaging and retaining the high performers.

By Tom Monahan | September 1, 2010; 02:27 PM ET | Comments (1)

Becoming a leader your team is proud of

If you're a top leader, you need to understand that your words and your behavior set the tone, the culture, and the values within your organization. If you seem distant and detached, the organization will take on...

By Yash Gupta | August 31, 2010; 01:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Middle managers just as critical as senior leaders

This year's Best Places to Work in federal government survey finds that top leadership has a stronger impact on worker satisfaction than immediate supervisors. At the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), however, various research projects over the years confirm that immediate supervisors also have a major influence on employee satisfaction and engagement...

By John R. Ryan | August 31, 2010; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (1)

Understanding the stakeholders

The key lesson for both public and private leaders is the significance of an in-depth understanding of their clogged cartography of stakeholders. For federal leaders especially, the media have to be among the top 5% of stakeholder salience. Why? Because their employees...

By Warren Bennis | August 31, 2010; 10:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Provide a narrative for your organization

A primary job of leaders in these organizations is to provide a sense of purpose, a narrative for what that organization stands for and how it contributes to making the world a better place. Their job is to...

By Sally Blount | August 31, 2010; 08:47 AM ET | Comments (2)

Leaders engage top to bottom

Managers at every level are often asked to do more and more with shrinking resources and escalating time frames. And it is for precisely those reasons that leaders at the top need to leverage the talents and skills of their people to allow them to think and do more to help the organization achieve its mission.

By John Baldoni | August 31, 2010; 08:39 AM ET | Comments (2)

Connecting everyone to the mission

The two key elements of all leadership are simply: 1) to connect everyone to the mission, and 2) to each other. Other aspects of leadership may be critical, but not as indispensable as these two. Connecting everyone to the mission takes identifying that mission. Only top leaders can do that. Only they can set the whole organization's direction, and give it meaning.

By Ken Adelman | August 31, 2010; 08:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Lock-step advisors

Dissension within a president's inner circle is rapidly being relegated to annals of American history.

By Robert Goodwin | March 8, 2010; 06:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Who's running the show?

Take JFK in the Cuban Missile Crisis as a model: He met often with his advisers but left no doubt he was making the decisions.

By Yash Gupta | March 5, 2010; 12:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Open to manipulation

The leaders most in danger of becoming dependent on an advisor are the ones who believe they don't need any advice.

By Michael Maccoby | March 4, 2010; 02:54 PM ET | Comments (3)

Rove's Brutus problem

President Bush should have learned a lesson from Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar' and gotten rid of Karl Rove.

By Ken Adelman | March 4, 2010; 02:39 PM ET | Comments (7)

Advisors, not deciders

The first test of any leader's abilities is in deciding whose knowledge, experience, and judgment to take into account.

By Mickey Edwards | March 4, 2010; 06:26 AM ET | Comments (1)

The ventriloquist and the dummy

Behind the thinly veiled trick, the puppet has no voice. Self-aware leaders continually search for, and use, their own voice.

By Coro Fellows | March 4, 2010; 04:43 AM ET | Comments (1)

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