Controversial thinking on leadership

Hello and welcome to our fortnightly update of all the latest articles on leadership and high-performance teams.

In this edition I’m highlighting a range of new leadership research with a controversial edge. I’ve included research on why many of the myths about effective leaders aren’t supported by evidence, as well as some of the unexpected downsides to expertise and new thinking on why companies don’t actually learn their way to success.

There’s some great reading here to get you thinking very differently about leadership in your organisation. As always, I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this week’s edition. You can connect with me by replying directly to this email.

Kind regards,
Gillian Fox

Much of the standard wisdom about leadership is wrong
In a new book, Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer shows that many of the myths about effective leaders aren’t supported by evidence. (ERE Media)

Feeling like you’re an expert can make you closed-minded
New research explores how feelings of expertise can lead us to be more close-minded. (Research Digest)

Why corporations don’t always “learn” their way to success
New evidence shows that companies tend to keep doing what worked in the past, even if the strategy no longer works. (Science Daily)

Leading by accountability is contagious
Accountability is essential for any successful organisation. When team members take ownership of their projects and the outcomes, the entire company benefits. (Entrepreneur)

Leading in an increasingly VUCA world
The leadership challenges in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world are significant, but they’re not insurmountable for those willing to look beyond old thinking and approaches. (Strategy + Business)


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Female leadership: Strength and creativity

Hello and welcome to our fortnightly update of all the latest articles on leadership and high-performance teams.

Research shows that gender diversity helps companies and teams to perform better. For example, a recent study from Grant Thornton put the opportunity cost of low female board representation at a staggering £430bn.

In this edition I’ve included some new research about women in the workplace. As you may know, this is an area that I am particularly passionate about (through our Women’s Career Advancement Program).

I love to hear your feedback and opinions on the selected articles. You can contact me by replying to this email.

Kind regards,
Gillian

Can women be strong leaders without being labelled bossy?
The contradiction between needing to act as a strong leader and needing to be seen as warm and nonthreatening is a catch-22 for women. This article explores the double-edged sword that leading women face. (Stanford Graduate School of Business)

Do Leaders Assume That Female Managers Are Less Creative?
In a new study, researchers found that supervisors tended to judge female executives as less innovative than their male counterparts, even though the executives’ direct reports made no such distinction and considered the women and men similarly innovative. (Duke University)

The best leaders are constant learners
Leaders must scan the world for signals of change, and be able to react instantaneously. Personal knowledge mastery is a lifelong learning strategy to help leaders do that. (Harvard Business Review)

Personality: What you need to know to build an effective team
The Big 5 are a set of indicators that can give leaders insight and make team building easier. Understanding team members’ personalities leads to better informed leadership decisions, and a stronger and more productive business. (CEO)

Why accountability in the workplace matters
A new study found that 91% of people rank accountability as one of the top organisational development needs. In businesses with no system of accountability, things can fall apart very fast. (Talent Culture)


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The Talent Edition: Managing, Acquiring and Rewarding Talent

Hello and welcome to our fortnightly update of all the latest articles on leadership and high-performance teams.

A high-performance team starts with the talent of your team members, so this edition is focused on the many different aspects of talent management.

There’s great research this week on managing powerful personalities, acquiring talent and why task competence matters for leaders.

As always, you can contact me if you have any comments or questions by replying to this email.

Kind regards,
Gillian

The problem of too much talent
When individuals perform largely independent tasks, more talent leads to more performance. But in team settings, new research finds that too much talent can lead to diminished performance. (The Atlantic)

Why companies make bad hires
New research has found that 95% of companies admit to recruiting the wrong people each year. The study also reveals a fuller (and scarier) picture of the cost of a bad hire. (Fast Company)

Meritocracy without the numbers
More and more companies are moving away from the annual performance review. However abandoning quantitative reviews has led to concerns that organisations will become less meritocratic. (Strategy + Business)

Great leaders understand the fundamentals
New research suggests that a leader’s fundamental task competence predicts performance more than charisma or liveability. (Stanford Graduate School of Business)

Why you need to bridge your workforce skills gap (and how to do it)
According to a recent study, 58% of global CEOs fear that talent gaps could hinder their ability to grow. (Ere Media)

Unravelling the surprising relationship between mood and productivity
Evidence shows that negative mood is associated with reduced performance and flexibility at work. A new app is helping employees take control of their emotions. (Fast Company)


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Collaborative or autonomous? How to get the most out of your team

Hello and welcome to our fortnightly update of all the latest articles on leadership and high-performance teams.

We all know that teamwork and collaboration are a vital part of achieving long-term business success. But all teams need to strike a balance between being collaborative and being autonomous. Our first article this week discusses this challenge in greater depth.

In some very interesting (and related) team research, I’ve also included new findings on how mental effort becomes “contagious” amongst work groups.

As always, I enjoy discussing what you took away from these articles. Don’t hesitate to contact me by replying to this email.

Kind regards,
Gillian

The double-edged sword of teamwork
If teamwork and collaboration are so vital, why do so many people feel that meetings are a waste of time? Teamwork can be a double-edged sword: the benefit of collaboration coupled with the potential time-sink. (Switch & Shift)

Mental effort is contagious
The presence of other people affects our own mindset in predictable ways. According to a new study, if a person near you is concentrating hard, their mindset helps to intensify your own concentration levels. (Research Digest)

Why your best workers may not always be employees
A study by IBM found that independent contractors are more engaged and innovative than regular employees. But contract workers are also less committed and collaborative. (IBM Center for Applied Insights)

3 keys to successfully re-engineering performance reviews
While a number of global organisations have changed the way they conduct performance reviews, only 5% of Australian organisations are planning to eliminate the process completely. (Inside HR)

Why more and more companies are ditching performance ratings
By the start of this year, around 30 large companies had removed ratings from their performance management systems. Recent research by HBR has found four clear reasons that the trend is gaining momentum. (Harvard Business Review)

The surprising reason big companies are losing top employees
A recent LinkedIn study indicates that top talent are leaving bigger companies for smaller ones. New “lifestyle employers” are making it harder for bigger companies to retain the best talent. (Inc.)


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Effectively managing high-potential talent

Hello and welcome to our fortnightly update of all the latest articles on leadership and high-performance teams.

How you engage and develop high-potential employees (otherwise known as HiPos) is one of the biggest drivers of long-term business success. In this newsletter I’ve included some selected articles focusing on strategically managing high-potential employees to keep your top-quality talent.

What’s your top tip for engaging high-potential employees? You can contact me with any comments or questions by replying to this email.

Kind regards,
Gillian

The two types of high-potential talent
Many companies tend to see and promote only one type of high-potential talent, when in fact they need two. Every successful business needs both high-potential producers and high-potential performers. (Strategy + Business)

The age of infidel talent
The career aspirations of high potential Gen Y employees are dynamic and aggressive. They are not loyalty obsessed, especially if that loyalty comes at the cost of self-development. (People Matters)

Why it’s so important that team members believe they’re on the same page
One of the most important characteristics of successful teams is that members believe in their collective potential. New research suggests that team members feel stronger when team members believe that they are on the same page. (Research Digest)

Why leaders need to ask, “Is that a promise?”
Managers increasingly rely on others to take initiative and be accountable. Negotiating clear, strong commitments with your team is a powerful tool for mobilising teamwork and execution. (Strategy + Business)

First know yourself, then your team
To be truly effective, a leader must know what kind of people they have on their team. The first step is to understand the unconscious motivations of people around you. (INSEAD)

Create a culture where difficult conversations aren’t so hard
Many companies and teams find it difficult to tackle the elephant in the room. This article lists three important behaviours that you must encourage to develop an honest feedback loop. (Harvard Business Review)


Want to get the best out of yourself and drive results through others? Take a look at our leadership programs.

Rethinking performance management

Hello and welcome to our fortnightly update of all the latest articles on leadership and high-performance teams.

Performance management is a hot topic this week, following Accenture’s announcement to get rid of performance reviews and rankings for over 330,000 employees. I’ve selected a range of articles that explore some of the main weaknesses of performance appraisals, as well as the more modern alternatives.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the articles in this fortnight’s newsletter. You can always get in contact with me by replying to this email.

Kind regards,
Gillian

In big move, Accenture will get rid of annual performance reviews and rankings
Accenture will abandon rankings and the once-a-year evaluation process for its 330,000 employees. CEO Pierre Nanterme says that the process was too costly, and was also irrelevant. (The Washington Post)

The push against performance reviews
Many companies have reformed their performance appraisal process in recent years. But organisations also need to ensure that their performance management approach is designed to minimise bias. (The New Yorker)

Performance management gets social
Performance management is increasingly being viewed as out-dated. The interesting concept of social performance management seeks to address the collaborative needs of modern businesses. (Society for Human Resource Management)

Learn this simple secret of employee motivation
According to this article, the secret of employee motivation is just one sentence long: Employees who are selected, oriented, and reinforced properly, and who are surrounded by peers of the same caliber, will thrive when given significant autonomy.” (Inc.)

Why you shouldn’t trust leaders who don’t seek advice from others
Donald Trump is proud that he makes big decisions without input from others, but he shouldn’t be. Individuals have some serious natural limitations as decision-makers. (Science of Us)

The emotional impulses that poison healthy teams
Almost everything that we do at work is done with others in groups. This article looks at some common mistakes that lead to dysfunctional teams. (Harvard Business Review)


Want to get the best out of yourself and drive results through others? Take a look at our leadership programs.

Leading a cross-generational team

Welcome to our fortnightly update of all the latest articles on leadership and high-performance teams.

Millennials now comprise nearly half of the workforce. Because of this, almost every team today is built from a cross-generational mix of employees.

In this environment it’s never been more important for leaders to understand how to lead a cross-generational team. We focus here this week, looking at how each generation has a different response to hierarchy and a generally preferred working style.

I’d love to hear how you manage across generations. You can reach me by replying directly to this email.

Kind regards,
Gillian

Five Insights we gained this week about multi-generational workplaces
Two new surveys from Deloitte and PwC have delivered a range of insights about generational change in the Australian workforce. This article summarises 5 key takeaways on what generational change means for leaders. (AHRI)

Millennials and Boomers in the same workplace! How we can all get along
Leading employees of all ages has become a requirement for effective management. Initiatives such as reverse mentoring are great for breaking down barriers and building relationships across generations. (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Pitfalls to avoid when you inherit a team
Taking over a new team can be daunting. This article will help you keep the peace, whilst carving your own niche as a new leader. (HBR)

The leader’s challenge: Modelling good work-life behaviours
Part of your obligation as a leader is to set a good example for work-life balance. You must to show employees the importance of disconnecting from work. (The Hiring Site)

Stewart Butterfield of Slack: Is empathy on your résumé?
Empathy is a commonly overlooked leadership skill that helps others to develop. This interview with Stewart Butterfield highlights the business case for the empathetic leader. (NY Times)

Creative leaders create a culture where all ideas are encouraged and valued
Leaders must make sure all employees are heard. Managing By Walking Around (MBWA) is one of the easiest ways to give all employees a voice, and encourage spontaneous brainstorming. (TLNT)


Want to get the best out of yourself and drive results through others? Take a look at our leadership programs.

Leading and engaging a global team

Welcome to our fortnightly update of all the latest articles on leadership and high performance teams.

More and more leaders today are managing global teams. As a leader, this presents a whole new set of challenges that go far beyond just dealing with different time zones. This week we focus on new thinking for managing team members across the world.

As always, I’m interested to know what you took away from this week’s articles. Let me know by replying to this email.

Kind regards,
Gillian

Collaborating well in large global teams
Global collaboration creates significant coordination costs. Research is showing that teams achieve the best outcomes when members feel as face-to-face as possible. (HBR)

What motivates employees across the globe?
A recent global study looked at what motivates people in different countries. What motivates employees may change, but the leadership and engagement process is broadly the same. (Fast Company)

Why learning from experience can be so dangerous
Sydney Finkelstein warns that personal experience is not always the best source of solutions for leaders. When trying something new, most people have no personal experience on how to approach the situation. (Thinkers 50)

There’s a dark side to heroic leadership, and it’s haunting most organisations
Too often, leadership thinking is focused on style over substance. More organisations are moving from ‘leader as hero’ to ‘leader as facilitator’.

Are We More Productive When We Have More Time Off?
A recent study compared the productivity of American and European senior managers, who take dramatically different amounts of annual leave. Taking time off may not increase your output, but it makes you more focused during time at your desk. (HBR)

Mentoring in precarious relationships
How would you go about mentoring your boss? Mentoring in challenging situations requires significant humility from both mentor and protégée. (Talent management)


Want to get the best out of yourself and drive results through others? Take a look at our leadership programs.

Women in leadership: Understanding the confidence gap

Welcome to our fortnightly update of all the latest articles on leadership and high-performance teams.

Getting more women into leadership is a major challenge for all of the large Australian organisations that I work with. Despite the proven business case, there’s still a range of barriers that stand in the way. This week, we take a closer look at one of the specific barriers, in helping women to overcome the ‘confidence gap’.

Which articles have caught your attention this fortnight? You can let me know by replying directly to this email.

Kind regards,
Gillian

Resolving the conflict between “woman” and “leader”
Despite more focus on women in leadership, society’s archetypal business leader is still a man. It is critical that organisations promote a positive view of women leaders. (INSEAD)

Overcoming the confidence gap for women
The number of women in top leadership roles remains far too low (and slow to change). Women too often undervalue their strengths, resulting in a continuing confidence gap. (The New York Times)

The importance of being an ally
You can help promote diversity in your organisation by taking the time to listen to and understand another group. Every positive action helps foster an environment where diverse groups feel supported. (Strategy + Business)

Baboons like to hang out with other baboons who are similar
New research shows that baboons spend more time with other baboons that they resemble, choosing those with similar age, status and even personality. But homophily can slow down the transmission of ideas (for both baboons and humans). (Research Digest)

Leading people when they know more than you do
Being promoted into an area outside your expertise can be challenging. Here are the four key skills to develop generalist management skills. (Harvard Business Review)

How to figure out when you need to delegate
An essential part of being a leader is trusting your team and letting them share the responsibility. (Fast Company)

Are we more productive when we have more time off?
A new study shows that taking time off may not increase your output, but it makes you more focused during time at your desk. (Harvard Business Review)


Want to get the best out of yourself and drive results through others? Take a look at our leadership programs.

The challenges of changing culture

Welcome to our fortnightly update of all the latest articles on leadership and high-performance teams.

We all know that company culture has a major impact on team performance and behaviour in the workplace. But changing culture is incredibly challenging. In this edition, we focus on culture, change and the broader performance impacts across the organisation.

Is there anything that caught your eye this fortnight? Let me know by replying to this email with any comments or questions.

Kind regards,
Gillian

Culture change tips and traps
Often, an attempt to change culture often occurs without understanding the real barriers to change. Here are some traps that organisations should look out for when attempting cultural change. (Switch & Shift)

Corporate culture’s influence on employee evaluations
New research reveals that a company’s culture can play a large role in performance reviews. Surprisingly, culture can also significantly influence how likely employees and managers are to deliver accurate feedback. (Human Resources Executive Online)

4 reasons managers should spend more time developing a culture of coaching
Leaders who don’t coach are neglecting an effective tool to develop talent. Managers who do coach have a different mindset: they believe in the value of coaching, due to the way that they perceive their role as a manager. (Harvard Business Review)

Dividing team tasks: Is there a better way?
Sometimes, self-managed teams may adopt task divisions that are wrong for the project. It is useful for managers to remind their teams to consider multiple possibilities when dividing tasks. (INSEAD)

The best way to hire from inside your company
Investing in internal recruitment is likely to pay off, as recent research finds that internal hires routinely outperform external hires. But internal hiring isn’t fool proof, and this article addresses some of the common traps. (Harvard Business Review)

Ten teamwork killers and how to avoid them
Being able to lead and work in teams is incredibly important to organisations. In this insightful article, IESE professor Carlos Rodriguez Lleuesma has compiled the 10 most common causes of team failure. (Forbes)


Want to get the best out of yourself and drive results through others? Take a look at our leadership programs.