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,

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.

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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.

How to build high-performing teams (and measure their success)

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

This week we take a closer look at establishing and maintaining high-performing teams. As the first two articles this week discuss, building high-performing teams takes much more than just individual talent and good relationships. This is a challenge that we see regularly in our consulting work – with huge implications for team and organisational performance

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,

High performing teams require more than just good relationships
Although most people form positive relationships at work, many teams still under-perform. An interesting look at why building great teams takes much more than just building great relationships between the people in those teams. (Human Capital Exchange)

Building high performance teams takes more than talent
In today’s increasingly networked workplace, talent doesn’t guarantee success. This piece outlines some common talent issues that hinder the ability to build high-performance teams. (Forbes)

Managing performance when it’s hard to measure
Organisations have long struggled to accurately measure the performance of all employees. The process can be highly subjective, which is why Red Hat has developed a simpler, more flexible approach to performance reviews. (Harvard Business Review)

Practice makes perfect
Two out of three first-time leaders felt unprepared for their new job. This presents a unique opportunity for HR in preparing the next generation of organisational talent. (Human Resources Executive Online)

The $112 billion CEO succession problem
Failed CEO succession is usually a result of boards allowing succession planning to fall off the regular agenda. This article covers four recommendations to help make succession planning sustainable. (Strategy + Business)

8 habits of highly accountable people
Many people struggle with the definition of accountability versus responsibility. Here are 8 of the habits that accountable people uniquely choose to make a part of their everyday life.

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

The Importance of having EQ on your team

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

Emotional intelligence is one of the biggest differentiators between outstanding leaders and merely average ones. In this edition, I’ve included a selection of articles that look at the importance of EQ in a team environment, as well as ways to handle emotional outbursts on your team.

What did you think of this fortnight’s articles? Let me know by replying to this email.

Kind regards,

How to look for emotional intelligence on your team
EQ is much more difficult to assess than IQ and experience. This article gives an overview of how you can measure EQ in working adults, by looking at general traits and specific behaviours. (Harvard Business Review)

Handling emotional outbursts on your team
Don’t let emotional outbursts hijack your team, as they can stall productivity and limit innovation. The most productive team leaders treat emotional outbursts as what they are: just another form of communication (albeit loaded with motives, values and beliefs). (Harvard Business Review)

Tapping into high-potentials: Programs guiding female talent to the top
Innovative companies are investing in promising female employees with the goal of shaping future leaders. Royal Bank of Canada and Novatis Pharma AG are selecting women for high potential programs, giving them more visibility and exposure to leaders and executives. (Women of Influence)

How to make your employees more engaged and productive
We all want our teams to be more engaged and productive. Investing in collaborative technology, providing autonomy and keeping teams smaller are just a few things that organisations can do to achieve this. (The future organisation)

How positivity makes you healthy and successful
The greater the challenge, the harder “staying positive” can be, especially when our brains are hard-wired to look for threats. This article focuses on two simple steps to train your brain to focus on the positive. (LinkedIn)

What to do if your team is letting you down
Holding people accountable is important for getting the results you want, but expectations must be clearly communicated. Defining exactly what you want can sometimes be the hardest step. (Harvard Business Review)

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

Key challenges in building a high-performance leadership team

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

Building a high-performance leadership team is critical for sustained business success. But as I’m sure you know well, doing so is not without its challenges.

This edition we look at some of the specific challenges associated with building a high-performing leadership team, including transitioning leaders into the C-suite and maintaining a sustainable leadership pipeline.

I’d love to hear what’s captured your attention this fortnight – you can reach me by replying to this email.

Kind regards,


Ascending to the C-suite
Nearly one-third of new executives fail to meet overall objectives for their new C-level role. Executives reporting the most successful transitions focus on communicating priorities, valuing their team and spending time on culture. (McKinsey)

Are you prepared for the leadership gap?
New research reveals that only 11% of employees aspire to C-level positions. As millions of baby boomers get ready to retire, this presents real challenges for leadership succession. This article lists some suggestions to help close the leadership gap at your organisation. (CIO)

How to build a successful management team
Chris Curtin has run large global teams at Disney, HP and Visa. He has a great two-point ‘investment strategy’ whether you’re building a high-performance team or starting a new company – invest in health and people smarter than you. (Fortune) 

Forget the vision, make the connections
New leaders usually have two priorities – how best to allocate financial resources and how best to allocate human resources. Mindy Hall says they’re skipping a key first step – making meaningful connections. (Strategy + Business)

How to refocus a meeting after someone interrupts
Dealing with interrupters during a meeting can be challenging, and can lead to wasted time and productivity. Handle the frustrating situation by going in with an agenda and redirecting the conversation to the purpose of the meeting. (Harvard Business Review)

Why smaller teams are better than larger ones
Smaller teams tend to work better together than their larger counterparts, for a number of reasons. Help your team to avoid these traps whilst keeping them accountable, productive and engaged. (Forbes)

Recruiting for high-performing teams – how Google does it

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

In this edition we look at recruiting for high-performance, with some great insights from Google’s head of HR, Lazlo Bock. In the first article below Lazlo talks to Fast Company about recruiting for ‘Googleyness’ and freedom.

Context is also all-important when identifying and hiring high-performers. The second article explains how you first need to define what ‘high-performance’ means to your company before seeking the ideal candidates.

Let me know what’s got you thinking this week this week by replying to this email.

Kind regards,

Google’s head of HR shares his secrets
The recruitment process at Google is more selective than Harvard, Yale or Princeton. Find out how Lazlo Bock cuts two million applications down to just several thousand. (Fast Company)

Hiring top performers decoded
People that were high-performers in their last company won’t necessarily be high-performers in yours. It all starts by defining what top performance means in your organisation. (People Matters)

What great managers do to engage employees
Managers account for as much as 70% of variance in employee engagement scores. This article discusses the recent research by Gallup, which identified the managerial behaviours that are most strongly linked to employee engagement. (Harvard Business Review)

Leaders win trust when they show a bit of humanity
New survey results reveal that trust in leadership is at an all time low. Here are three suggestions for winning the trust and respect of your team. (Harvard Business Review)

12 signs a company doesn’t trust its employees
If you trust your employees you’ll do a better job of retaining them, maintaining high levels of productivity and attracting new talent. Companies who trust their employees avoid doing these 12 things… (LinkedIn)

Maximising innovation with diversity
Diversity within teams can increase innovation – but diversity across teams could unlock even more creativity. The key here is keeping an eye on the bigger picture when building your teams. (INSEAD)

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


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Are the personalities in your team driving success?

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

As a leader, your personality directly affects the culture and performance of your team (a topic explored in my Influential Leadership program). Likewise, building a team according to personalities can prevent tension. This works to increase productivity further down the line.

The featured articles this week look at the impact of personality on leadership and high-performance teams. If you’ve had personalities affect performance in your team, let me know by replying to this email.

Kind regards,

Personality tests can help balance a team
Selecting team members based on their personality, soft skills, and values may help to reduce tension in the workplace. Many organisations are now using personality profiling to build their teams (and I don’t mean Myers Briggs). (Harvard Business Review)

A culture of personality
New research reveals that CEO personality and corporate culture are strongly linked. Certain personality types are associated with a range of positive outcomes, providing insights into how a CEO’s personality can rub off onto their employees. (Strategy + Business)

The science of reading your co-workers personalities
Some of us are better at reading and reacting to personality than others. Psychologist John D. Mayer calls this ability Personal Intelligence. Personal intelligence helps us communicate better with others and make better choices at work. (Fast Company)

Inside Google’s insanely popular emotional-intelligence course
There are thousands on the waiting list for Google’s Search Inside Yourself training course. Chade-Meng Tan is the engineer-come-self-help-guru that’s behind the course. He describes it as a leadership program that uses the tools of mindfulness and emotional intelligence. (Fast Company)

Do your training efforts drive performance?
Organisations around the world are struggling to measure the impact of training programs on business performance. HR and learning specialists need to take accountability to integrate L&D with overall talent management. (McKinsey)

Why your board needs performance management too
Board-level performance management is the focus of an increasing number of studies. Performance management for boards appears to drive great results for both the organisation and its shareholders. (Cognology)

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


Gender balance as a strategic opportunity

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

I’ve always believed that when gender balance is seen as a strategic opportunity, true workplace diversity will quickly follow. Two articles I’ve come across this week look at gender biases and barriers – and how they can be tackled. The articles agree (as do I) that the answer lies in leadership accountability and highlighting the positive outcomes of diversity.

Please reply to this email if you have any comments or questions.

Kind regards,

Tackle bias in your company without making people defensive
The fact that all humans are biased to some degree is well researched, but most people don’t take well to accusations of bias. The key is positioning gender balance as an opportunity, not a problem. (Harvard Business Review)

How women leaders are challenging male-dominated industries
Despite the lack of female leaders in Fortune 500 companies, some women outliers are making waves in the tech and mining industries. Leaders (both male and female) need to take accountability to influence gender balance. (Fast Company)

Team leaders need better data, faster
Performance and engagement tools need to be designed for team leaders – not the organisation. If team leaders have access to real-time data they will be able to improve performance and engagement much more effectively. (Harvard Business Review)

Leaders need to be accountable for culture and engagement
The Global Human Capital Trends 2015 study finds that culture and engagement is the most important problem that companies face worldwide. Organisations need to hold their leaders accountable for building a sustainable culture and engaging and retaining their teams. (Deloitte University Press)

Four keys to high-performance succession management
How many leadership roles in your organisation are without ‘ready-now’ successors? Establishing a high-performance succession management process is crucial to the future success of the business. This article proposes four must-read recommendations. (Human Resource Executive Online)

The holy grail of performance management?
If you’re not already using thePerformance vs. Potential matrix (or 9-box grid) this writer has a convincing argument for you. By giving you a multi-dimensional view of your workforce, the matrix allows performance management to have a bigger impact on business strategy. (Fistful of Talent)

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