The Pope On The Phone: A Leadership Lesson

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2growth

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.

 

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Likability Or Lovability? You Decide!

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2growth

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.

 

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Will People Follow You? 5 Questions to Ask

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2growth

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.

Thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter @JohnBaldoni

Red Lines and Policies – A Last Resort for Leaders

By Brian Layer
Chief Executive Officer, N2growth

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.

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The World’s Top 50 Leadership and Management Thinkers

By Mike Myatt
Chairman, N2growth 

* This column was originally published on Forbes.com

Every two years since 2001, Thinkers50 has published their ranking of the world’s top 50 management and leadership thinkers. I’ve watched the popularity of this ranking grow over the last few years, and today being nominated for a Thinkers50 award is largely considered akin to being nominated for an “Oscar” in management and leadership thinking. Those recognized previously have included Peter Drucker, Michael Porter, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Tom Peters, Richard Branson, Clayton Christensen and other esteemed thinkers. Just today, Thinkers50 announced their shortlist for the 2013 awards. In todays column I’ll take a peek inside Thinkers50 which includes an interview with one of its founders Stuart Crainer.

 

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Elmore Leonard: Focus On What’s Important, Ignore Everything Else

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2growth

Try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.

That is Rule No. 10 that Elmore Leonard, a gifted storyteller and author of some 46 novels, posited in an essay on writing for the New York Times in 2001. Leonard died this month and since his passing has brought forth boatloads of praise for this gifted storyteller. Leonard followed this rule most of the time. His storylines are lean what makes them compelling is the rich assort of characters he draws, chiefly with dialogue. Leonard possessed a keen insight into motivation and his protagonists move forward under their own power, sometimes driven by demons at other times toward a sense of righteousness.

What we can learn from Leonard is that essence matters more than show. In his essay on writing offers what could be considered an eleventh commandment: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” Such insight is something that managers would be wise to consider. That is, make certain you get to the point and more importantly make certain the point is worth making.

 

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12 Leadership Qualities of an Often Overlooked President

By Mike Myatt
Chairman, N2growth 

I’m a big fan of author and historian David McCullough. His writing has a way of transporting me back in time like few other authors can. Recently I have been immersing myself in his account of America’s second president John Adams. McCullough’s portrayal of John Adams has made no small impact on me.

If your early education was anything like mine, Adams presidency was glossed over with little more than a brief mention. Perhaps this was largely because he was sandwiched between two of our more memorable presidents – Washington and Jefferson. If this generation of American children is having the same experience I did, it’s a shame.

 

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Bob Lutz: ‘Straight Talk On Leadership’

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2growth

Usually if the title of a business book contains the word “idiot” in the title I assume the book is a screed on the perils of working for bosses who are not as smart as the author and therefore deserve belittlement. Such books I avoid like the plague because like subjects of these fevered rants, the authors – often disgruntled employees or self-important consultants – offer little of merit other than an ability to rail against the system.

But should the title also contain “icon” and is authored by one Robert Lutz who could veritably be called that himself, it is worth a read. Lutz’s newest book, Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership is not only entertaining, if you like larger than life stories about auto magnates, it is also illuminating.

 

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Give ‘em a second chance

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2growth

Management can sometimes be an act of faith, particularly when the people you hire have a questionable past.

One approach to giving people a second chance is to sit down with them and ask them to write about what they want to achieve and how they want to be remembered.

The savvy manager who can connect with such an employee not only gives the person a second chance, but he or she also creates an environment where the past can be put into the past and the future can be created together.

Thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter @JohnBaldoni

10 Ways To Make Each Day A Leadership Masterpiece

By Brian Layer
Chairman, N2growth

*Originally Published on Forbes.com

Years ago, I picked up a pearl of wisdom from coaching great, John Wooden.  Make each day your masterpiece!  Living at that level is a powerful and challenging concept.  Most of us fall short and it‘s easy to blame our circumstances and those around us for their distraction.  Yet, a leader has a duty to perform at the highest possible level and an honest assessment may reveal days laden with missed leadership opportunities.

 

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