December 15, 2018

Is the Peter Principle alive and well?

I recall with fondness the ironic humour of a colleague when he explained: “By promoting just one person, I accomplished two very significant things. I lost my very best engineer and I gained a very problematic team leader!” It had seemed logical to choose the most competent person in the team to be the new […]

Do you think of leaders as heroes? As people out in front, leading the way, setting the example, inspiring others to follow?

It’s a very common thought, but with the development of theories more attuned to contemporary management challenges, different concepts of leadership have emerged. Among those concepts is one that purports that the most effective leaders are actually service providers. A long-standing leadership model, Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership (Hersey, 1985) maintains that the leader’s job […]

Leadership Feedback the Breakfast of Champions

One of my best bosses, ever, was Judith, a woman who over the years had made her way from departmental secretary to vice president within a major pharmaceutical company. She had many admirable traits, but one behaviour in particular has remained with me over the years: her request for performance feedback… from her team. In […]

Motivating through praise

“Praise, when given by a respected leader, motivates followers toward even better performance.” Or does it? Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck believes that, if we praise the right thing, praise is an important motivator. If we get it wrong, praise might even be demotivating. She works from the idea that we have either a fixed mindset […]

You probably cannot lead change

‘Leading change’ versus ‘leading stability’ may be two quite different leadership skill-sets. According to the findings of a 2015 survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, even if you are in a leadership position, there is only a 7 per cent chance that you will be able to lead your organisation through a major transformation. If you are a […]

Do older leaders do less leading?

There is remarkably little research on how age affects leaders. Therefore, a recent study provides a most interesting look at how and why leadership behaviours might change with age. In brief, the researchers questioned 106 German university professors and found that their ‘legacy beliefs’, which changed with age, were found to negatively impact their level […]

Boardroom women enhance results. But men don’t believe it!

Nearly 10 years ago, McKinsey & Company published a research paper showing that corporations with the strongest representation of women on their boards ‘are also the companies that perform best’ (http://www.raeng.org.uk/publications/other/women-matter-oct-2007 ). The research was extensive, examining 231 organisations with feedback from 115,000 employees against nine of McKinsey’s proprietary measures such as accountability, innovation, leadership […]

Is Business Leadership Different from Political Leadership?

With the controversial election of real estate mogul Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States, there is considerable concern about his style of leadership. A prevalent criticism is that he is not very ‘presidential’ in his conduct, seemingly involving himself in public debates that many deem to be below the level of conduct […]