In the 1980s, MBWA was the rage. It involved the radical notion that leaders could drive better results by stepping out of their offices and engaging with employees and the work flow in a less formal, more impromptu fashion. “Management by walking around” changed the cadence of business — in large part through greater leadership involvement and presence.
Fast forward three decades, and just “being there” has become table stakes. Now leaders must really leverage those moments with others, and the most natural and effective tool for accomplishing this is conversation.
A quick Amazon search reveals that thousands of books are published each year on the subject, teaching readers how to engage in conversations that span from crucial to courageous, passionate to powerful, fierce to focused, and authentic to action-oriented. Advice focuses on the importance of small talk and big ideas, listening and messaging, as well as on the art and science of the act. (read more…)
Let’s face it — it’s great to be the boss. You’re the one calling the shots, making sure everything stays on course; in the end, the responsibility for your company’s success or failure falls on your shoulders. And you’re fine with that. After all, you’re the boss.
When it comes to being in charge, however, acting as the constant problem-solver can become tiring — and detrimental to the business. When an employee brings you a problem, there are benefits to having built a company culture in which he or she is encouraged to bring a solution as well.
More businesses are adopting policies that direct employees to bring possible solutions to management whenever they present a problem. Considered offhand, this practice makes perfect sense. How often have you had an employee present a problem, and when you ask what he or she thinks should be done, you had the same idea in mind? (read more…)
For those who don’t know the story of Sal Khan and the Khan Academy, a look at the back story and growth rate of the online education portal can be startling. What began as a one-on-one tutoring sessions between Khan and his cousin in 2004 has grown into a platform that touches 200 countries, includes 150,000 educators and welcomes 10 million unique users every month.
Khan’s made a dynamic presentation at CME Group’s annual Global Financial Leadership Conference this week and shared his keen insights on the current and future landscape for education:
On the rising costs of higher education in the U.S.: Khan said an education system where costs grow 5% faster than inflation is not sustainable, adding that the return on investment current students are getting is not good. “The ecosystem is right for alternatives.” Khan says the de-coupling of knowledge and credentials might help solve structural unemployment. (read more…)
It’s easy to be drawn into the rhythm of living and working day to day, doing what we need to do without giving it much thought. We do things because we have to, we do things because we gave our word, we do things because they are expected of us.
Richard was in the pharmaceutical industry. A prospective star in his company, he was brilliant but enough of a bully that he was nicknamed “the monster.” I was called in to help him become the executive everyone knew he could be.
I asked him how he saw himself as a leader. “Well, I never thought about it,” he said. “I am here to do a job and do it well. I am here to get the work done any way I can.”
When I showed him the feedback from those who worked with him — feedback that focused on his moodiness, his temper, his inconsistency — he was surprised, expecting instead to hear how smart he had been. (read more…)
Mark Miller is vice president of organizational effectiveness for Chick-fil-A and the author of “The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow” (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, October 2013). In this post, he discusses the motivations behind this book and five signature leadership traits.
The core idea behind my new book, “The Heart of Leadership,” is simple: Leaders are different. This was actually the book’s working title for many months. The subtitle contains the good news: Becoming a leader people want to follow. The implication for all of us is we can become that type of leader — the leader people want to follow. The key is to identify the points of difference and begin to cultivate those attributes in our daily leadership.
As we approached the day to finalize the manuscript, the publisher decided we needed to do some research around the title. You guessed it — after surveying hundreds of men and women, it was decided “The Heart of Leadership” was a better title. (read more…)