SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Are you better at being a leader or being a manager?

  • I’m better at being a leader: 44.68%
  • I’m better at being a manager: 21.26%
  • I lead and manage equally well: 27.74%
  • I don’t see a difference between leadership and management: 6.31%

Leading or Managing. As Admiral Grace Murray Hopper said “You manage things and you lead people.” The clear majority of respondents have a bias toward the people side of things. If you are in this group, just ensure there’s someone on your team who has an eye on the management pieces too. It’s very easy to ignore the inanimate and focus on the human interactions. Lean too far in that direction though and you put your organization at risk. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How often do you delay big decisions out of fear of being wrong?

  • Never — I always make decisions promptly: 28.72%
  • Sometimes — I’m occasionally afraid to make the call: 62.05%
  • Often — big decisions are hard for me to make: 7.86%
  • Always — I get stuck between fear and making the call: 1.37%

Overcoming your fears. Fear and decision making go hand in hand. We could be wrong. We could look silly. We could get fired. That said, the mantle of leadership requires us to take those chances. You can get over these fears pretty easily. Simply adopt an approach of understanding the true risks and know where your uncertainty resides. Once you’ve done that, the big decision will seem much smaller. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How well do you solve complex and ambiguous problems?

  • Very well — I’m a great problem solver: 49.9%
  • Well — it takes a lot of effort though: 42.39%
  • Not well — I could be much better at it: 7.1%
  • Poorly — I have trouble with ambiguity and complexity: 0.61%

Ambiguity is challenging. Half of you put substantial effort into solving complex and ambiguous problems. The typical reason big, ambiguous problems are challenging is because we try to tackle the entire problem at once. In doing so, we often chase many low impact ideas or worse, we miss the true root issue. The easiest way to solve those complex, big problems is to turn them into smaller ones. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: What is your preferred style for moving a team toward making a decision?

  • I push and drive until we get there: 14.44%
  • I build consensus through influence: 65.81%
  • I remain quiet and keep the group on track: 18.46%
  • I let others drive the decision: 1.28%

There is power in silence. Clearly most people have a bias toward building consensus by directly influencing people. That approach works and can be effective, but consensus-based decision making can also take a lot of time. And while you’re pushing to influence others, they might dig in and push back. A different technique to try is being silent and only asking questions to keep things on track. In so doing, you let others come to conclusions by simply steering the conversation. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Have you ever been on or considered a leadership immersion “expedition”?

  • I’ve been on one or more such programs: 13.36%
  • I’ve never been on one but would like to: 19.59%
  • I don’t have any interest in such programs: 9.45%
  • I’m not familiar with programs like that: 57.6%

Immersing yourself in leadership. Sometimes getting away from everything gives us an opportunity to refocus, reflect and grow. Too often daily distractions and pressures prevent us from dedicating the time required to grow as leaders and professionals. Taking time away and immersing yourself in a leadership expedition can be a great way to unplug, reflect and think about where you’re headed as a leader. You invest plenty of time, energy and money into developing your team. Occasionally you should think about doing the same for yourself. (read more…)