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The Critical Skill You Need for the Future of Work

We are deep into a period of uncertainty that is likely to continue, which makes one thing more certain than ever: The skill you will need to be successful in your work from here on out. But first, what does the future of work look like? If we listen to the high level view from the likes of McKinsey and Company, we will see successful companies that are: Flatter with less hierarchy and streamlined decision-making Using faster information flows enabled by analytics Embracing more cross functional teams and a “test and learn” approach to initiatives Fully leveraging flexible working structures … Read more

The Key to Lowering Team Stress Levels

Imagine if you could help your team work more efficiently and with less stress. Would that be helpful in these uncertain times? I bet it would. And I bet your team would appreciate that kind of leadership. Let’s look at a lesson from cycling to see how this works. To lead a pack of cyclists, the leader must ride fast but also in a “smooth and predictable” manner so that the other riders can follow along in a way that flows efficiently and optimizes team performance. If the leader goes a little more slowly up a hill, it’s easier for … Read more

3 Less Stressful Ways to Get Your Daily Work Done

Many things in daily life cause stress, but our response can be simple. The mistake we often make, however, is to pile on more stress by complicating the way we deal with things. Here’s what we should do instead. First, it’s important to recognize that there are really only three ways to respond to stress. We can take action to change things. We can change the way we perceive things. Or we can come to terms with the fact that some things are beyond our control. We spend a lot of time worrying about things we can’t control and fretting … Read more

Tadej Pogacar and the Truth of Leadership

They call it the race of truth. Each Tour de France rider races alone along a set course. The person with the fastest time wins. That is how one day of each of the annual three week race is spent. Today, on the penultimate race day of this year’s three week race, Tadej Pagacar beat them all and earned the coveted Yellow Jersey of the overall race winner in a shocking finish not seen since 1989 when Greg Lemond beat Laurent Fignon by 8 seconds to win that year’s Tour de France. When the interviewers reached him, he immediately credited … Read more

Your Leadership Must Change: New Trends Becoming Clear

Trends are becoming clear six months into the pandemic about how digital communication patterns have changed—and it includes some surprises. You can take some leadership lessons from the first large-scale analysis just released by the Harvard Business School. Using aggregated meeting and email meta-data from over 3 million users, the study finds that the average number of meetings has increased. That’s not surprising. And neither is it shocking that more attendees are in each meeting and more people, on average, are copied on email messages. We might have guessed these results in the absence of face-to-face exposure and serendipitous meetings. … Read more

It’s Time to Up Your Empathy Game as a Leader

Employee engagement is a primary leadership challenge in this age of intense remote work. And your number one tool to meet this challenge is empathy. Empathy is touted a lot as a tenet of emotionally intelligent leadership, but it’s difficult to get a firm grasp on one’s ability to be empathetic. Now, more than ever, it’s time to figure this out. Leaders need to listen, understand, and, ultimately, care. A simple way to understand engagement Employee engagement is a series of questions any staff member can be expected to ask themselves. It’s intrinsic to work. We all wonder, “Do I … Read more

Why You Should Focus on Improving the Essential Leadership Skill of Reflection

Why You Should Focus on Improving the Essential Leadership Skill of Reflection

Four professors from world class business schools studied the impact of reflection on performance, and the results were amazing. The lesson for leaders is clear: grinding it out is far less effective than taking small amounts of time to reflect on and improve performance. Through a combination of field studies and lab experiments, the team of researchers from Harvard University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and HEC Paris (École des Hautes Études Commerciales) demonstrate that “deliberate attempts to learn from previous experience generate higher performance outcomes as compared to the accumulation of additional experience alone.” In other words, taking … Read more

Why Leaders Should Lead Like Teachers Teach

Explaining things is hard. But translating strategy into action is the number one responsibility of a leader. You must convey ideas in a way that everyone on the team can not only grasp the concepts but apply them to their individual roles and responsibilities. They need to internalize the ideas. Those ideas need to shape their thinking. And their thinking has to inform their many decisions and actions. This is a tall order, which is why so many leaders are bad at it. Fortunately, leaders can learn critical insights from the teaching profession. After all, the entire purpose of that … Read more

Humanizing Remote Work for Your Team

humanize remote work for your team

Remote work can be super productive, but it can also be lonely and stressful. Because it’s harder to collaborate, it’s more difficult to communicate, and it’s tougher to unplug than it is when working in an office.  That old-timey physical space, though limiting in many ways, helps establish certain norms and behaviors that build camaraderie. Hallway conversations, lunch with a coworker, and office banter fuel our sense of belonging. These and other informal pathways for communication and collaboration are what contribute disproportionately to results. And the truth is that you cannot easily digitize this secret sauce.  Maybe you don’t have … Read more