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Archive: Leadership development

The mobilizer: President Obama

I don't agree with all of President Obama's policy agenda, but it is hard to argue that he has been anything but successful in advancing the very types of policies he said he would...

By Ed O'Malley | December 29, 2010; 09:42 AM ET | Comments (1)

Not a risk taker? Then chances are you're a woman

Girls learn about risk differently. Risky behavior, girls are told, is dangerous. For many young women, perfection is the more popular state for which to strive. Being simultaneously popular, a top student and pretty becomes a recipe for greatness. As you get older, this ideal morphs into Superwoman syndrome--the pressure to be that strange creature...

By Selena Rezvani | December 20, 2010; 06:21 PM ET | Comments (10)

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)

How it can pay off for women to work abroad

While women are increasingly taking the international route, support structures have not necessarily caught up. A study by Mercer Human Resource Consulting showed that female expatriates are more likely than males to leave their partners at home when on assignment and are less likely than their male counterparts to have a partner prior to going on assignment.

By Selena Rezvani | November 12, 2010; 11:34 AM ET | Comments (2)

'A wish for leaders'

There are some key questions that should be considered by both, even though Senator Reid has retained his formal position and Speaker Pelosi's fate is now dependent on the votes of her peers. In the final analysis, both will have to be authorized by those they want to influence. Can they present and represent their positions...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | November 9, 2010; 02:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Acceptable vs unacceptable failures

If your personal values are aligned with those of your organization, you will know how much and what type of failure is too much. If you hold true to your values and have the courage to accept responsibility for your actions, you'll know when you need to step aside. At the end of the day, we must act...

By West Point Cadets | November 9, 2010; 02:41 PM ET | Comments (1)

Good leaders never give up? Nonsense

Forget the myth nurtured on the football field that leaders never give up. Nonsense. True leaders are smart enough to know when to stop bashing their heads against opposition stronger than themselves. Even smarter ones, and may I add more courageous ones, know that the bravest thing to do is to give up...

By John Baldoni | November 8, 2010; 06:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

The people have spoken--listen and speak back

I thought it was telling that President Obama went on Jon Stewart's show last week and complained that the public wasn't aware of everything his administration has accomplished. Who exactly is to blame for that? The president and his team, who have let their opponents define them. He's a master orator, but he needs to do a better job of communicating empathy and understanding where the problems of Main Street Americans are...

By Yash Gupta | November 2, 2010; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (11)

Every day is election day

It's hard--probably impossible--to get everyone behind you, and good leaders will always get feedback from their teams that is surprising, even disappointing. But good leaders headed to greatness are those who brush off the dust, check their egos, listen...

By Susan Peters | November 2, 2010; 11:04 AM ET | Comments (2)

Work with those that would see you fail

We should not accept the appearance rather than the reality of cooperation; nor can we tolerate the unconditional resistance to change seen these past two years. In the long term those who are all about power not purpose, about self-interest not the common good, about control not compassion will be exposed as non-leaders...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | November 2, 2010; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (5)

Appraise the past to build the future

There is no better avenue for swift strengthening of one's leadership than to uncompromisingly review the immediate past. If President Obama and his team can dissect what went well and what did not in the first two years, their leadership of the second two will be far better for...

By Michael Useem | November 1, 2010; 06:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obama's gift of opportunity

Rather than respond defensively to unambiguously negative feedback, the first thing any organizational leader should do is to thank his evaluators for the opportunity to tackle the areas of deficiency and make things right before problems escalate to irreparable levels. Whether considering President Obama or...

By Amy Fraher | November 1, 2010; 03:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Five ways to serve the people

Take responsibility: if your key stakeholders believe that you have made a mistake, you have made a mistake (either in strategy, communication or style). Avoid 'blaming' your stakeholders...

By Marshall Goldsmith | November 1, 2010; 03:18 PM ET | Comments (2)

Smart leaders compromise

It is so disheartening to see compromise being dragged through the mud of what purports to be political discourse. Politicians desperate for cash and voters roundly criticize compromise as somehow being a tool of deceit and an indication of lack of spine. When in reality, compromise is not only a sign of intelligence; it is a sign of...

By John Baldoni | October 26, 2010; 09:53 AM ET | Comments (2)

Why do women hate negotiating?

Women initiate negotiations four times less often than their male counterparts. Women also report "a great deal of apprehension" about negotiation--at a rate 2.5 times more than men, according to the research of Carnegie Mellon's Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. One data point from Babcock and Laschever's research, which appears simple on its face, is even more striking. When asked to pick metaphors that represent the practice of negotiating, women most often selected "going to the dentist" while men more often chose "a ballgame" or "a wrestling match."

By Selena Rezvani | October 15, 2010; 01:09 PM ET | Comments (33)

Does elitism still rule?

College application season has kicked off, and overachieving high-school seniors across the country are busy hitching their self-worth to the judgment of admissions boards. What do you think? How important is getting into an elite school if you want to be a leader in this country?

By Lillian Cunningham | October 13, 2010; 03:37 PM ET | Comments (24)

Game is good, but sometimes you can win without it

More generally, chief executive officers do not face the same "outside game" requirements as, say, political leaders. CEOs sell a product, while politicians are the product. Campaigning is inherently linked to a candidate's image because voters...

By Coro Fellows | October 7, 2010; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (1)

Matching 'outside game' to 'inside self'

Our culture still tends to equate extroversion with leadership and introversion with followership. The former is perceived as active (good), and the latter as passive (bad). Much too frequently, a quiet demeanor and reflective deliberation are not seen as leadership behaviors; while verbal, outgoing, decisive action is. I find it irresponsible to attempt to coerce someone who is being authentic into an acceptable, conventional role or societal stereotype of...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | October 6, 2010; 02:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Leadership brand is more than a buzz word

A leader's brand radiates throughout the organization but it also carries to the outside. When the CEO is respected, it casts a halo of excellence around the organization. The prime example of this is Steve Jobs at Apple; his vision is Apple's mission. Similarly...

By John Baldoni | October 4, 2010; 10:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

First, investors look at the purse

t would be nice if the leaders of every corporation, large or small, could be described as Engaging, Believable, Inclusive, Transparent, Decent and Articulate. But that's not what the acronym "EBITDA" stands for. Rather it means "earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization," a rough measure...

By Paul R. Portney | October 4, 2010; 10:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

He'll figure it out

Would having a better outside image be a positive for Mark Zuckerberg? Of course. Good PR is always better than bad PR. On the other hand Mark has, at a very young age, figured out how to...

By Marshall Goldsmith | October 4, 2010; 02:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Zuckerberg doesn't live his own company's story

one aspect of the Zuckerberg tale is fascinating for students of leadership: leaders should have a story to tell and they should embody that story in their own lives. Zuckerberg's story is about the power of connections and about the limits of privacy...

By Howard Gardner | October 4, 2010; 01:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

Afraid of average

Best paid. Most powerful. Top influencer. Lots of publications churn out lists and rankings of impressive women. These grown-up honor rolls sell magazines and get lots of hits in the social-media universe, whether showcasing women's power in terms of hierarchy or paychecks. It seems we love a good competition, especially one that culminates in a tidy inventory of prowess. But while impressive to read through, the average woman feels like there's a grand canyon separating her from the leaders profiled in these rankings.

By Selena Rezvani | October 1, 2010; 10:25 AM ET | Comments (17)

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)

The Supreme Court's immigrant roots

Will the Supreme Court justices remember where they came from -- not just their elite education but their immigrant parents and ancestors?

By Juana Bordas | May 19, 2010; 02:20 PM ET | Comments (10)

Wicked smart, despite naysayers

Imagine if the president had nominated a woman from a less prestigious school? You can bet the naysayers would have been squealing she wasn't good enough for the job.

By Kathryn Kolbert | May 19, 2010; 02:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

The best and brightest

If they all hold degrees from America's most prestigious universities, so be it.

By Robert Goodwin | May 18, 2010; 02:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

Ivy is good but we need more

There is nothing wrong with a bunch of Ivy League minds coming together on the Supreme Court bench, but we have to ask what else matters in rendering the best justice we can.

By Martin Davidson | May 18, 2010; 12:21 PM ET | Comments (23)

No Ivy monopoly on leadership

We should never permit any institution, or elite group of institutions, to be the sole source of leadership, because no one institution possesses all of the best and brightest.

By Katherine Tyler Scott | May 18, 2010; 11:48 AM ET | Comments (1)

Ivy League influence

There is clear evidence that our place in elite social networks explains our social status and mobility.

By Scott DeRue | May 18, 2010; 11:04 AM ET | Comments (1)

The test of a meritocracy

Our university system should be a point of pride for us. The American system works because we believe in merit.

By Yash Gupta | May 18, 2010; 10:26 AM ET | Comments (1)

Intelligence -- or access?

Effective leaders are street savvy because they are curious. We need our leaders to ask questions both to gain information as well as to challenge assumptions.

By John Baldoni | May 18, 2010; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

A place for smarts, not 'empathy'

Empathy, while a nice quality, may lead to bias and favoritism -- a perfectly acceptable outcome in the political world and a completely unacceptable outcome in the judicial world.

By Mickey Edwards | May 18, 2010; 06:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Liability for elected leaders

While some elected leaders have Ivy League backgrounds, few flaunt it and many disguise it.

By Slade Gorton | May 18, 2010; 05:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Ready for legal combat

President Obama and Democrats would do far better basing their support for candidates on those who embody a progressive judicial philosophy rather than a particular set of life experiences.

By Jon Cowan | May 18, 2010; 05:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Ivies more diverse than ever

In 1960, the Ivy League was filled with white males, mostly WASP, with a sprinkling of Jews and Catholics, and one or two token blacks per campus.

By Howard Gardner | May 18, 2010; 05:29 AM ET | Comments (0)

Skin-deep diversity

The value of diversity is not captured in a photograph; it is realized when different perspectives are brought to the table that were shaped by varying experiences.

By Coro Fellows | May 18, 2010; 04:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Blind obedience need not apply

Smart leaders lead by identifying the big goals, communicating them to their teammates, gathering the resources to get the job done, and licensing their junior leaders to lead.

By Donald Kettl | April 23, 2010; 12:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lead through your boss

As a junior leader, you lead first and foremost with your ideas, backed by your gumption

By John Baldoni | April 22, 2010; 01:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Distributed leadership at work

Today 'command and control' at the top is going the way of the buggy whip and being replaced by 'distributed leadership' where junior leaders act when the situation demands.

By Deborah Ancona | April 22, 2010; 01:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Ignoring Robert E. Lee

General John Buford didn't wait for orders at the battle of Gettysburg and gained the high ground for the Union army. But other leaders who acted autonomously at Gettysburg were not so successful.

By Michael Maccoby | April 22, 2010; 01:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

The stretch assignment

Stretch assignments are the most challenging, and thus satisfying. After all, "Our stars must glisten with new fire, or be today extinct."

By Ken Adelman | April 22, 2010; 01:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Crossing the Euphrates

Leading in the absence of specific guidance requires competence and confidence. The latter without the former is called recklessness.

By West Point Cadets | April 22, 2010; 12:55 PM ET | Comments (2)

Age of the millennial

For many millenials, its always the right time to 'take charge.'

By Coro Fellows | April 22, 2010; 12:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Nordstrom's one and only rule

Can you think of a more potent prescription for chaos than inviting everyone in an organization to rely solely on good judgment when making decisions?

By Carol Kinsey Goman | April 22, 2010; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Horse-back lessons

My instructor helped me see myself as someone who could be fearless and confident, even as a puny kid on a huge horse.

By Jon Cowan | April 22, 2010; 11:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

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