A Different Kind of CEO?

A more integrated leader? A post conventional CEO? Chad Dickerson, CEO of the online commerce site, Etsy, may well fit these descriptions. At least his mindset about leading from the top reveals some of the contours we look for in a 21st century leader. In an interview for the On Leadership section of the Washington Post he had some interesting things to say. I have picked out five that particularly caught my attention. His first annual performance review as CEO was in the form of a … [Read more...]

Three Aspects of Mandela to Guide Us All as Leaders

So much has been written about Nelson Mandela and leadership that I hesitate to add to the pile. But it's hard not to since he so exemplifies the more highly developed human being at the core of the very best leaders. Of the many examples and behaviors, I think three are central for all leaders. These three are archetypal and apply not just to this South African icon working on the national political stage, but equally to leaders of any organization, even of units within organizations. He … [Read more...]

The “Tyranny of the Immediate” Tyrannizes Leaders Most of All

You've probably had a time and priority management course somewhere along the way. Or, maybe you've read a book about it. You learned about how often the less important tasks take up too much of our time, to the detriment of our not tackling the more significant areas of our job duties. There's a reason for this. The less important tasks are usually easier and take less time. In addition, we get to enjoy the repeated satisfaction of checking things off our to-do list. And we look back over our … [Read more...]

What Does Virtue Have to Do with Leadership?

The ancients, particularly Socrates (through Plato) and Plato, believed "Virtue" to be an absolute that one came to understand through the application of reason. For Aristotle, Virtue was something you didn't deduce in the abstract but rather something you lived, to the best of your ability. In particular, it was about living fully the life that nature has enabled you to. So, the cobbler should live a cobbler's live fully and a teacher the best teaching life he or she can. In the US in the … [Read more...]

Slow Flow: Ignore it at Your Peril

"Once we get our new Marketing VP in place and fold the regional Customer Service units under that executive at headquarters, things will finally be settled and everything will be OK." But things in any organization are never really "in place," are they? Our organization charts with a date stamped in the corner fool us. They insidiously pander to our deep human desire for things in life to STOP CHANGING! I think a healthy attitude for managers and leaders is to see the workplace not as … [Read more...]

To Cheat or Not?…Choosing in Awareness

A presentation called "Why People Cheat" at a recent leadership breakfast by a colleague of mine, Thomas Hoffman, got me thinking. He provoked us with a statistic: people are lied to anywhere from 10 to 200 times per day. Leadership, Tom said, includes the ability to manage cheating. So I'm thinking how does a leader "manage" the prevalence of dishonesty and cheating going on in his/her organization? Studies over the decades have surfaced all manner of causes for cheating. To name just a … [Read more...]

Do Good and Poor Bosses Clone Themselves?

When I train or coach front line supervisors, I am struck how often they are unable to think of a good manager for whom they have worked. It is so much easier to learn and then apply good management skills when you have someone in mind who has actually demonstrated them with you. ("How would Jennifer handle this employee? What would Frank do in this situation? What I remember Amanda said to turn her team around was… ") But does this mean that the leaders you have worked for in your career … [Read more...]

A Bit about You and Your Board

I ran across a useful article by Beverly Behan who specializes in board development and relations. She has several good tips for senior teams and CEO's who want to make meetings with their Boards more productive and successful. Even if you don't have to deal with your organization's Board of Directors now it will come up in the future as you advance your career. And, if it is an issue now, here are four tips I've gleaned from her piece: Provide Pre-reading that includes summary points. … [Read more...]

Once Again, It’s All about a Leader’s Maturity

A lot of the coaching and speaking I do these days involves the close relationship between level of adult development (maturity, integration) and level of effectiveness as a leader. This approach represents one of what I think are two cutting edges in the field of leadership development today (the second edge: the emergence of neuroscience + leadership). Now a new study has been published by the Ashbridge Business School in the UK in collaboration with the University of Cape Town, under the … [Read more...]

Three Intriguing Thoughts from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

A recent HBR blog podcast interviewed the CEO of Amazon who, in a major study reported in the Harvard Business Review's Jan/Feb issue, was ranked #2 of global CEO's. The late Steve Jobs was #1. Jeff Bezos is an intriguing guy. He permits interviews sparingly and is somewhat of a contrarian around some commonly held business beliefs. In the short audio, Bezos makes three points that I think are worth CEO's and managers hearing about. He sees the DNA of Amazon as that of an explorer, vs. a … [Read more...]