Welcome to this week’s edition of Elite Leadership Insights: Weekend Reads, a resource for you to utilize as you continue your leadership journey and packaged so you can casually read them over the weekend. We curate these articles from leading business and academic organizations. Continuous learning is a critical part of leadership improvement. Feel free to share this with your team. Enjoy and have a great weekend!
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Don’t miss the bonus articles at the bottom of this post!
Here are this week’s Weekend Reads. Enjoy and feel free to share this with your colleagues.
6 Unconscious Micro-Behaviors That Undermine Your Chance to be a Leader, Fast Company, September 9, 2023. When senior leaders in organizations discuss candidates in talent reviews for promotions and leadership opportunities, they often consider the informal narrative that exists about someone as much, if not more, than the formal narrative, the latter typically referring to an individual’s professional experience, their credentials, and quantifiable accomplishments.
5 Types of Stories Leaders Need to Tell, Harvard Business Review, September 22, 2023. Storytelling is an important leadership skill, and executives who want to succeed should master five types of narrative: Vision stories, which inspire a shared one; values stories that model the way; action stories that spark progress and change; teaching stories that transmit knowledge and skills to others; and trust stories that help people understand, connect with, and believe in you.
Are Your People Truly Ready for Change?, strategy+business, September 21, 2023. PwC’s 2023 Global CEO Survey contained some findings about company cultures that were alarming. Just 56% of CEOs said that leaders in their company encourage dissent and debate. Only 46% said that leaders in the company tolerate small-scale failures. That’s concerning, but it turns out that employees think the problem is actually worse. In PwC’s 2023 Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey, only 33% of employees said that their manager encourages dissent and debate, and just 35% said that their manager tolerates small-scale failures.
As A Leader You Need To Lean Into The Magic Of ‘Because’, Forbes, September 27, 2023. Words are wonderful things, unless of course you are exchanging them through attorneys. In the vast lexicon of the English language, some words stand taller than others when it comes to evocative impact and the ability to spur people into motion. One of the most powerful words that any leader can deploy is ‘because’ – everyone’s favorite subordinating conjunction that does much more than connects clauses. This article explores how consistently adding a simple “because” can work literal magic on your effectiveness in leading others.
Activating Middle Managers Through Capability Building, McKinsey & Company, September 28, 2023. Few groups are as maligned as middle managers—that vast middle tier of sales managers, program managers, account managers, branch managers, and more wedged between senior management and the front line. Middle managers who are equipped with the skills and support they need to succeed can reduce friction, accelerate action, and ensure that an organization achieves its vision. However, in many companies, middle managers have been left behind, consigned to act merely as paper pushers, bureaucrats, and rule enforcers.
THIS WEEK’S BONUS ARTICLES
5 Warnings Signs Your Leadership is Failing and What to do About it, Fast Company, September 21, 2023. Being a leader can be challenging. You have choices to make every day in how you lead and learn. These choices create either a culture of denial and exclusion or an environment of opportunity and inclusion—for you, your team, and your colleagues. The danger is that you can lull yourself into a false sense of security, thinking you have this leadership thing nailed. Yet the best leaders know they are fallible and that there is always more to learn about themselves, others, and their working context.
How to Be a Better Leader Amid Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity, Harvard Business Review, September 28, 2023. More than three decades ago, the U.S. Army War College developed a framework for understanding how leaders succeed during times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. The framework, known as VUCA, has been widely discussed and adopted since, but it turns out to be better at describing what successful leaders do than teaching all leaders how to succeed. The authors present an updated approach that has generated positive outcomes in military, business, and sports contexts.
A Study Of Thousands Of Executive Teams Reveals 5 Central Behaviors, Forbes, September 27, 2023. It may sound counterintuitive in an era that often lionizes the “hero CEO,” but effective leadership teams actually outperform even the most effective individual leaders. They do so consistently, and in almost every context. A recent Bain & Company study of 1,250 companies found a meaningful correlation between highly effective top teams and companies that beat their competition in revenue growth, profitability, and total shareholder return.