Transparency. Passion. Communication. You know that they're all important traits of effective leaders. But are they the most important qualities?
Transparency. Passion. Communication. You know that they're all important traits of effective leaders. But are they the most important qualities?
Management is like driving: Managers tend to rate their skills higher than average. But from surveys, we know that there is a disconnect between this perceived skill and actual skill.
These two messages, Scott says, tend to stick with people, even as they move into the working world and assume leadership positions. The result is an ineffective — and often destructive — management style.
In 1934, a young woman named Sara Pollard applied to Vassar College. In those days, parents were asked to fill out a questionnaire, and Sara’s father described her, truthfully, as “more a follower type than a leader.” The school accepted Sara, explaining that it had enough leaders.
An old friend called me yesterday and I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about where his life was taking him. During the discussion, he commented, “I can’t believe the idiots I have to put up with at the office.
Professionals often assume to become a leader requires adding new skills or habits to your arsenal. While this can help, I've also found doing the opposite can be just as effective. Giving up simple things I once put value on became just as important on my journey than anything I added.
Millennials hear a lot about how their personality traits from other people. At least that’s how it often feels to this millennial (whose job involves getting pitched many drafts of articles on that subject every week) but also to plenty of others in my generation.
Landing a summer internship, even one without pay, is crucial for college students to earn a “real-world” credit that can boost a resume without much career experience. Yet most interns end up doing the menial tasks that no one else wants to do.
Kim Scott, co-founder of Candor, Inc., has built her career around a simple goal: Creating bullshit-free zones where people love their work and working together. She first tried it at her own software startup.
Although people think they perform better on caffeine, the truth is, they really don’t. Actually, we’ve become so dependent on caffeine that we use it to simply get back to our status-quo. When we’re off it, we under perform and become incapable. Isn’t this absurd?
Google. Apple. Dropbox. Twitter. If anyone has had a hand in helping build phenomenal teams at powerhouse companies in their prime, it’s Kim Scott. At one point in her career, she admits she thought she was one of the best people in the world at creating amazing teams.
Companies like Apple, Netflix, Google, and Dell are 40% more productive than the average company, according to research from the leadership consulting firm Bain & Company.
Are you a good leader? How do you know? In a startup culture that is obsessed with management by metrics, many founders struggle to answer this critical question about themselves. It’s tempting to measure leaders simply by the success of their businesses.
Business leaders have many tasks to accomplish and prioritizing stuff can be hard. Yesterday I wrote about the need to “do fewer things, more often” in which I described that frenzied world we live in and why the shiny objects and distractions stop us from living up to our true potential.
Kim Scott had one thing to do that day. She was going to price her product. It was the year 2000, she was the founder and CEO of Juice Software, and she had blocked off her whole morning to make this decision.
Most managers I know want their employees to be curious and experimental, to take the initiative and develop new products and solutions. But, as it turns out, managers also like to micromanage and control outcomes through safe, predictable processes.
Like most 25-year-olds, Julia Rozovsky wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. She had worked at a consulting firm, but it wasn’t a good match. Then she became a researcher for two professors at Harvard, which was interesting but lonely. Maybe a big corporation would be a better fit.
One day, I was having my weekly 1:1 meeting with my boss, Andrew Bosworth. We were going through the regular updates about my team, things going on at Facebook more generally, yada yada. Then he asked me a somewhat startling question…. I was taken aback.
If you asked the world’s most successful business leaders what it means to “be strategic,” how many different answers do you think you’d get? Consider this number: 115,800,000. It’s the number of unique links returned when I searched online for “strategic leadership.”
In all my years in business, I have yet to hear someone say: “I love corporate politics.” On the other hand, I meet plenty of people who complain bitterly about corporate politics—sometimes even in the companies they run. So, if nobody loves politics, why all the politics?
There are three popular explanations for the clear under-representation of women in management, namely: (1) they are not capable; (2) they are not interested; (3) they are both interested and capable but unable to break the glass-ceiling: an invisible career barrier, based on prejudiced stereotypes
When I worked at Trilogy, one of my fellow managers seemed to have a brutal case of absenteeism. He was never at his desk.
Do people really leave managers, rather than companies? And if so, how do you fix the problem? The data suggests bad management is a real and significant issue. According to a study by Gallup, one in two people admitted to having left a job to get away from a bad manager.
Schwab (oddly enough, no relation to Charles R. Schwab, founder of the Charles Schwab Corporation) was the president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the largest shipbuilder and the second-largest steel producer in the U.S. at the time.
Leaders know that low employee engagement is a sign of lost value—it’s clearly something they want to fix. But most of them don’t know how, so they provide random perks, hoping those will move the needle. It’s much more effective to create a culture of trust.
I’ve spent many years referencing Wikipedia’s list of cognitive biases whenever I have a hunch that a certain type of thinking is an official bias but I can’t recall the name or details. It’s been an invaluable reference for helping me identify the hidden flaws in my own thinking.
Podcasts continue to grow in popularity as a convenient way to stay on top of all kinds of topics. As a result, the field is becoming steadily more crowded--a recent check of iTunes showed more than 100 podcasts with the word leadership in their title.
Difficult people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity, strife and worst of all stress.
Organizations aren’t getting the performance they need from their teams. That’s the message we hear from many of our clients, who wrestle with complex challenges ranging from strategic planning to change management. But often, the fault doesn’t lie with the team members, our research suggests.
The fog of war envelops every battlefield.
The world is full of people with opinions. Television, radio, and other media are brimming over with commentators making suggestions and offering seemingly authoritative advice to government officials and corporate executives about what they ought to do.
Every time I walk into a new company I am advising, I invariably encounter a set of noble values that are prominently displayed on the walls. So the first thing I do is look past them by carefully observing how people really behave, which tells me what I actually need to know.
It’s 4 p.m. and you’re having a hard time focusing. So you stare at your computer and click in and out of lots of tabs. But when you look up, you see it’s only 4:03 p.m. Then, you get a glass of water, which takes all of seven minutes.
Here at Google, we don’t have a secret formula for innovation. But that doesn’t mean Googlers’ best ideas are ineffable mysteries. On the contrary, we’ve found they can be systematically coaxed into being and steadily improved upon. And so can yours.
The global design firm Ideo set out to answer this question by studying the company’s 26-year archive of projects that focused on clients’ internal team dynamics, as well as external sources focused on innovation (including Fast Company‘s annual Most Innovative Companies lists).
We all often face the same problem: The workweek drags by at a glacial pace, while the weekend speeds past us before we even realize what’s happening. Mathematically, of course, it all makes sense.
In 2013, Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley walked into a bakery and bought a cake. Almond, with meringue on top. It was sweet — but the milestone was sweeter.
This article is by Dave Girouard, CEO of personal finance startup Upstart, and former President of Google Enterprise Apps. He’s well known for building Google’s enterprise apps division into a $1B+ global business. Here he shares his tips for making speed fundamental to your company.
Getting ready for our next semester’s class, I asked my Teaching Assistant why I hadn’t seen the posters for our new class around campus. Hearing the litany of excuses that followed –“It was raining.” (The posters go inside the building.) “We still have time.
Sometimes, life seems upside-down. So, here goes, and I hope it helps at least a few of you.
When I was in my late twenties, I was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Doctors operated and told me to hope for the best. I returned to Japan, where I was working, and tried to forget about it. The tumors returned a year later, this time in my liver.
These days it seems like most people have too much on their plate. Everyone complains about feeling overworked. So how do you tell your boss you simply have too much to do? No one wants to come across as lazy, uncommitted, or not a team player.
At Etsy, COO Linda Kozlowski spearheaded international expansion, unified and started growing its marketing plans, began redefining the company’s brand, launched a new communications strategy, and kicked off the integration of user feedback into product development — all in about six months.
Successful leaders know that meetings, while important, are also incredibly expensive. The next time you're in a meeting, mentally add up the hourly rates of everyone in the room.
Influitive CEO Mark Organ was feeling haggard. He’d just raised a seed round for the 12-person marketing technology startup and was rapidly building out his sales department. As the company grew, Organ was becoming increasingly frazzled.
It takes great leaders and talent to grow a successful company. One of the best descriptions of a leader I’ve heard is that leaders focus on vision and strategy, guiding and removing obstacles for their teams -- something like a coach in sports.
As a former consultant, I have a deep and abiding love for the use of 2×2 matrices in business strategy. My favorites are those that highlight two factors that seem, at first glance, in conflict.
Uncertainty is uncomfortable for everyone. Whether it’s political turmoil or a reorganization at your company, employees who are concerned about their future are likely to be distracted and unproductive.
The starting gun fires and when the starting gun fires, you run. You’re a new manager, and while the sound of gun firing is startling, you run because this is finally your chance. You’ve been promoted to the role of manager, you want this gig, and this is your chance to shine, so you run.
I’m sure you’ve run into Simon Sinek’s TED talk on the Golden Circle where he made the case for how great leaders communicate differently — leading first with their why (or purpose), then describing their how (or unique value proposition), and finally describing what they do.
There’s been lots written about how Internet businesses should build software, from books like The Lean Start-Up, and posts from Google Ventures, but not many examples where startups open up their process and show how it really happens.
A high-potential employee is usually in the top 5% of employees in an organization. These people are thought to be the organization’s most capable, most motivated, and most likely to ascend to positions of responsibility and power.
Explained in 10 sketchesAssigning TasksDelivering NewsConducting 1:1sGiving FeedbackDealing with TurbulenceFor more detailed reads of the sketches above:Managing with Martians — or, why frameworks are better than answersSo, You Think You Want to Manage — what is management? and why woul
A few months ago, my friend Tim took a new sales job at a Series C tech company that had raised over $60 million from A-list investors. He’s one of the best salespeople I know, but soon after starting, he emailed me to say he was struggling.
In a recent strategy meeting we attended with the leaders of a Fortune-500 company, the word “culture” came up 27 times in 90 minutes. Business leaders believe a strong organizational culture is critical to success, yet culture tends to feel like some magic force that few know how to control.
Most leaders know what strong motivation looks like.
About four years ago I started working for myself. I wanted the freedom and flexibility to own my schedule and the space to bring my ideas to life.
You’ve gone beyond proving that you’re a star in your field. You survived grad school (although exams and student loans may still cause night terrors), advanced in your career and have notable achievements under your belt.
Companies protect a lot of things, yet many of them are guilty of one glaring omission. Too often, there’s something they leave wide open and vulnerable: their employees’ time. Companies spend their employees’ time and attention as if there were an infinite supply of both.
It’s easy to lose perspective when we’re facing a thorny dilemma. Blinded by the particulars of the situation, we’ll waffle and agonize, changing our mind from day to day. Perhaps our worst enemy in resolving these conﬂicts is short-term emotion, which can be an unreliable adviser.
Thirty years after leaving McKinsey, the prolific author returns to discuss tomorrow’s management challenges and the keys to organizational change and transformative leadership in any age. About two years ago, Tom Peters felt as if he were falling behind.
The CEO of a rapidly growing company lamented this as we spoke about how he was trying to build a great company with a healthy culture. He saw the value of choosing to promote from within, but it wasn’t often leading to people being managed well.
Is it just me or are there a lot of aspiring product managers out there? Maybe it’s just because I am one myself, but I feel like all I hear these days is that people who are not product managers — consultants, MBA candidates, engineers — want to be product managers.
We all know that job satisfaction often hinges on the quality of the relationships we have with our bosses. Yet in today’s rapidly evolving, 24/7 workplaces, it’s not always clear what managers should do to create the most satisfying work experiences and the happiest employees.
When individual contributors are tapped to manage large-scale projects, oversee direct reports, or participate in strategic planning, they need to develop new skill sets on the fly — skills such as interpersonal dexterity, emotional agility, and communication savvy.
Ever been caught in the grip of extreme emotions? I’m gonna guess whatever decision you made next probably wasn’t a good one. When we’re anxious, angry, or sad, we rarely do the smart thing. And that can seriously mess up our lives.
We all have things that we want to achieve in our lives — getting into the better shape, building a successful business, raising a wonderful family, writing a best-selling book, winning a championship, and so on.
Since the early days of Google, people throughout the company have questioned the value of managers. That skepticism stems from a highly technocratic culture. As one software engineer, Eric Flatt, puts it, “We are a company built by engineers for engineers.
When it went public in 2011, over a decade after the company’s founding, Pandora employed fewer than 40 engineers.
With well over 50 billion dollars to his name, Warren Buffett is consistently ranked among the wealthiest people in the world. Out of all the investors in the 20th century, Buffett was the most successful.
Organizations are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on employee engagement programs, yet their scores on engagement surveys remain abysmally low. How is that possible? Because most initiatives amount to an adrenaline shot.
A year into their jobs, how many employees still have the unbridled energy and enthusiasm that they brought with them to their first day on the job? How many still believe they can make a difference?
If there's one thing we all have in common, it's that we all make mistakes along the way (and hopefully learn valuable lessons from them). But if you're smart, you'll learn as much as possible from the mistakes of others and spare yourself some of the grief.
In a recent interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates argued that serious thinkers and writers should get off Twitter. It wasn’t a critique of the 140-character medium or even the quality of the social media discourse in the age of fake news.
Sidestepping four common mistakes can help companies develop stronger and more capable leaders, save time and money, and boost morale. For years, organizations have lavished time and money on improving the capabilities of managers and on nurturing new leaders.
Why don’t successful people and organizations automatically become very successful? One important explanation is due to what I call “the clarity paradox,” which can be summed up in four predictable phases: Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.
Power and prestige insulate most CEOs from ideas and information that might alert them to looming opportunities or threats. Innovative executives work hard to break down the walls surrounding them by gaining exposure to a broad range of constituents and venturing off the beaten path.
Are you a soldier or a scout? Your answer to this question, says decision-making expert Julia Galef, could determine how clearly you see the world. Imagine for a moment you’re a soldier in the heat of battle — perhaps a Roman foot soldier, medieval archer or Zulu warrior.
There’s sometimes a disconnect between how we talk about leadership qualities (we tend to use words like authority, power, and emotional intelligence) and what we actually require from the people leading teams and other working groups (arguably, competence and a deep knowledge of the specific wo
Picture your ideal neighborhood.