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Archive: Leadership advice

TSA debacle: How media controversies keep tripping up Obama

Sensing what will anger people or ignite into a full-blown crisis--and what's a mere triviality that will be made worse by giving it attention--has tripped up Obama multiple times, as brouhahas over debates like the so-called "death panels" or the Guantanamo prisoners' trials have erupted before he could get in front of them.

By Jena McGregor | November 23, 2010; 12:21 AM ET | Comments (1)

The art of the announcement: Cuomo's charges against Obama's 'car czar'

The timing of Cuomo's announcement will certainly draw more awareness to the charges against Rattner. And indeed, the allegations against him are serious. Cuomo may, despite claims of coincidence, have decided it was in the public's best interest to be reminded of charges at a time when Rattner was already in the news, both for his work with GM and the SEC settlement.

By Jena McGregor | November 19, 2010; 10:46 AM ET | Comments (4)

Keith Olbermann's wrist slapping

Olbermann's punishment falls somewhere in the middle. It's understandable that MSNBC felt it had to do something more than get Olbermann to apologize. A rule is a rule, after all. But if it really wants to send the right message to other people who might be tempted to violate it, the discipline wasn't likely to scare many off.

By Jena McGregor | November 8, 2010; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (101)

How to lead like Jon Stewart (and why you'd want to)

Unlike so many today, both inside and outside politics, he offered perspective on the bigger picture, made people feel better about themselves and encouraged compromise in a world that seems to have forgotten how to do it.

By Jena McGregor | November 1, 2010; 08:24 AM ET | Comments (22)

Weekend Reads: The gurus grade Obama

Would President Barack Obama pass a leadership class at a top business school? Yes, but he wouldn't get an A.

By Jena McGregor | October 29, 2010; 11:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bad move for Obama to go on Daily Show?

And while it's two years before the next presidential election, Obama seemed to be campaigning for himself rather than the members of Congress who'll be elected next week. Despite some kind words for a few members of his party, Obama felt more candidate than leader, the savviest of which would have used humor to turn the conversation around and try to deflate the kind of anger and furor the country is gripped with these days.

By Jena McGregor | October 28, 2010; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (35)

Wikileaks' Julian Assange: When the leader becomes the story

By walking out on the CNN interview with Ms. Shubert, he promises to bring even greater attention to himself rather than the Iraq war documents to which his organization is trying to bring so much attention. Even if questions about his personal life weren't germane to the interview (and given his accusations against the U.S. government, they are), Ms. Shubert's questions about whether or not he is eclipsing the Wikileaks revelations were fair. A leader's job is to promote and defend the organization's work, yes. But that is best done behind the scenes rather than by making one themselves.

By Jena McGregor | October 25, 2010; 08:03 AM ET | Comments (67)

The hubris of Steve Jobs

I'm all for CEOs being a little more candid when it comes to discussing their competition. Some go out of their way to avoid even saying their rivals' names on the record (which can sound ridiculous), much less openly criticizing them. But there is such a thing as too much hubris--even for a company with results as stellar as Apple's--and a healthy respect for competitors should be something in every leader's lexicon. Most at least pretend they have it.

By Jena McGregor | October 19, 2010; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (23)

Kaya Henderson: The new and improved Rhee?

If ever there was an example that shows why management style should get more weight, it's Michelle Rhee. Consider the transfer of power from Rhee to Kaya Henderson, who will be interim schools chancellor but is also considered a potential permanent replacement. Not only did Henderson, like Rhee, get her start with Teach for America and work with Rhee for her New Teacher Project organization, she was an implementer of Rhee's strategies for reform in D.C. She calls Rhee her "friend, partner, mentor."

By Jena McGregor | October 15, 2010; 09:47 AM ET | Comments (8)

Where Rhee went wrong

Now that the dust has settled on the news of her departure, Rhee's tenure has plenty to teach leaders about managing change. While the views on Rhee's record are decidedly mixed, even supporters are likely to agree she violated one of the fundamental rules of change management: Rhee was never really able to enlist support from the people--namely teachers and parents--who would ultimately implement the changes she hoped to instill.

By Jena McGregor | October 13, 2010; 02:19 PM ET | Comments (84)

Paying top dollar to snag a star performer? Big mistake

For years, companies--and Wall Street, especially--have been able to explain away outsized pay by saying it was the only way to attract the people it needed to perform at its best. Groysberg punches a big hole in that argument. Too bad banks like Wells Fargo and UBS didn't know it was there.

By Jena McGregor | October 11, 2010; 11:12 AM ET | Comments (11)

Leaders need to 'pass' on the sports cliches

When the sports analogy gets overplayed, it ceases to be useful. Not because people don't understand it, but because it's more likely to have your people rolling their eyes than feeling motivated to work better or smarter. The manager who talks about fumbling the ball when something goes wrong, or using the hurry-up offense on a competitor, or being in the red zone when quarterly numbers are close to being met sounds like a caricature, not a leader.

By Jena McGregor | October 8, 2010; 06:44 AM ET | Comments (10)

Weekend reads: The books edition

Weekends reads is back after a hiatus, and just in time for the big fall leadership book season. It's October, the time of year when publishers roll out the tomes they hope will be the blockbuster books of the year.

By Jena McGregor | October 1, 2010; 09:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

Redskins: A lesson in low expectations

usiness teams, too, have a way of overlooking the possibility of their competitions' success. There's a whole genre of "disruptive innovators," a term coined by Harvard professor Clayton Christenson's work, in which companies get blindsided by unexpected competitors or new strategies of their opponents.

By Jena McGregor | September 27, 2010; 09:04 AM ET | Comments (1)

Why a CEO shouldn't run the NEC

The temptation to send a signal when filling such an important leadership role is a risky one. One sees it all the time: rather than simply picking the best person for a job, leaders make political decisions on who will ruffle the fewest feathers or send the right message to their employees, their investors or their constituents.

By Jena McGregor | September 22, 2010; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (2)

The lessons the government must learn from corporate workplaces

Simply sharing more about your team's status and direction is the best way to make people feel better about their jobs and their future, especially during times of uncertainty.

By Jena McGregor | August 31, 2010; 01:17 PM ET | Comments (2)

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