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...]

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...]

Another Slice on the Best CEO’s

Adam Bryant writes a column in the New York Times called The Corner Office. He has selected 70 of the over 200 interviews he has done with CEO's for his column and put some core insights from these into a book, The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEO's and How to Lead and Succeed. You can hear a short interview of Bryant in a recent issue of Knowledge@Wharton. In addition to sharing the CEOs' lessons and tips around both managing and leading, the author distilis five … [Read more...]

Reactive vs. Creative Mind-sets…and Results

At the core of The Leadership Circle (360 degree assessment) model are the Reactive tendencies and Creative competencies. If you look at the circle itself, you will see Reactive structure of mind represented by the lower half of the circle and Creative structure by the upper half. When leaders operate from the Reactive mind-set they are, of course, able to achieve at least some level of results through their people. The problem is that, as research shows, at some point they hit a ceiling. … [Read more...]

Don’t Clone Yourself

A boss of mine early on in my career had a tough, almost bulldog, style. He was a pragmatic, no nonsense guy. He didn't have a wide vocabulary and didn't spend a lot of time talking about concepts. He was super loyal to the company and even more so to the branch of which he was a part. In short, he was the antithesis of yours truly. I never understood why he hired me, with my Masters degree in HR Management and my parallel interest in the bigger picture and broader developments in the … [Read more...]

The Leader as Authentic Actor

Actors on stage and screen are not genuine. They are fakes. They are playing a part, not themselves. Of course, we expect them to do this and, furthermore, we expect them to do it really well, to convince us that they are the character they are playing.   But what about a managers who has to play a part and perhaps not express their fully genuine self in a particular situation? For example, In challenging economic times, projecting a confidence he may not fully feel … [Read more...]

To Flood or Not to Flood–a Test of Leadership

The Premier of Manitoba, Greg Selinger, makes the decision to break the dike near Portage la Prairie and deliberately flood 85 square miles and inundate 150 homes…to prevent an uncontrolled break in the dike that would flood 850 properties occupying 190 square miles along the Assiniboine River. He says it is one of the most difficult decisions he has ever had to make. The very same day, over a thousand miles to the south, Army Corps of Engineers Major General Michael Walsh calls a similar … [Read more...]

Fear and Managers’ Fears

You seldom hear the word "fear" in management development workshops. Of course the word is not welcome anywhere in organizations. It's the "F word" in offices and plants. Odd, isn't it, since fear is always lurking in our workplaces, especially during the last few years of economic hell? For some inexplicable reason your people think that you aren't worried about your own job or about the brutal labor market you would be thrown into if you lost it. They think only they have fears. But, as you … [Read more...]