When I’d consider following someone down a dangerous path in my formative years, my Mother would ask: “Would you jump off a cliff just because he did?” More than once, I earned a lecture about thinking for myself and leading others up the high road. As a young leader, I translated that lesson into a phrase I picked up in the Army: “If it’s stupid, it’s not our policy!”Read More›
Diversity is a complex issue because it comes in all shapes and sizes. It has been and continues to be the subject of much debate in business communities across the globe. As an Executive Recruiter, I have been asked to identify candidates who are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender and even geography. One type of diversity that has more recently begun to receive subtle yet perceptible attention is age diversity.
What? You may ask yourself! Age diversity in a country where federal and state laws prohibit questions about age?Read More›
Leadership not deeply rooted in a foundation of truth is leadership destined to fail. The reality is the best leaders are also absolutists when it comes to truth – they view truth as a non-negotiable. However in the wake of some of the recent, and highly publicized business, financial, and political scandals, it’s not too difficult to understand how some may actually question the existence of truth in business or government. If you peel back the layers on most of the debacles that often transform themselves into highly sensationalized headlines, you’ll see they often begin with rationalizations, justifications, posturing, and spin being substituted for the truth. In today’s column I’ll address the often overlooked benefits of truth telling as a key success metric.
A leader is a dealer in hope.
While that quote is attributed to Napoleon, it was put into practice last week by Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. The day after the devastating fire the destroyed part of the boardwalk at Seaside Park and Seaside Heights – an area that had just been rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy – Christie said he would not let the people down. “I will not permit all the work we’ve done over the last 10 months to be diminished or destroyed by what happened last night.”
As rapidly as times change and business evolves, one topic clearly hasn’t kept pace – board diversity. With all the news about the economy, the impact of the affordable health care act, and other media favorites, few things are as telling with regard to the state of Corporate America than the lack of diversity in the boardroom.
When you think it might do some good, pick up the phone and call.
That’s a mantra that Pope Francis is following. As reported in the New York Times, the Jesuit Pope is making waves again with his informality. Over the past few months he has been “cold calling” people who have written to him. His reason is to offer comfort. For example, he counseled a woman in Argentina (his homeland) who had been raped by a police officer. He offered to baptize a child in Italy whose father wanted the child aborted. And he comforted an Italian man who had experienced personal loss, including the murder of his brother.
Would you rather be liked or loved?
That question came to me as I observed a going away party for an executive who was moving to another job within the same organization. Her staff had come together to send her out with glad tidings and as part of the event a few people stood up and spoke about what this executive had done for them and for the organization. The sense of appreciation and gratitude was tangible.
One question I hear from executives is this: How can I tell if people want to follow me?
The answer to that question lies in your example. The way you communicate, challenge, plan and evaluate. Here are five questions to ask yourself to check if you are on track.
The U.S. response to Syrian chemical weapons dominates this week’s news. Thankfully, most of our problems are simpler than the President’s, but the Syria puzzle exposes the risk of one leadership tactic–leaders who draw red lines are likely to get stained in the process.
We draw these lines for a variety of reasons but mostly because it’s easy. They are ultimatums used as a negotiating tool with actors beyond our direct control. They are binary, “If you, then I,” propositions. Leaders take the same approach with people they control and call their ultimatums policies using language like, “you will,” or, “you will not.” But like most things in life, just because it’s easy doesn’t make it the best course of action.Read More›