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Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully
Leading Lightly increases engagement, effectiveness and satisfaction - including your own!
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Slow down, ideas are fragile things: Give it five minutes - (37signals)

Slow down, ideas are fragile things: Give it five minutes - (37signals) | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it

Ideas are often shot down an killed before they are even fully born. So often someone comes up with a thought, a glimmer, which, with a bit of massaging, could turn into something worth consideration, but is not even considered because someone else immediately sees a potential flaw. 

 

We are all so used to being fast, and not only having the answer, but having it FIRST:

 

"It’s like I had to be first with an opinion – as if being first meant something. But what it really meant was that I wasn’t thinking hard enough about the problem. The faster you react, the less you think. Not always, but often."

 

So, next time someone offers an idea, or even the start of what could be an idea - give it a minute. 

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All you need to know: Bertrand Russell’s Ten Commandments

All you need to know: Bertrand Russell’s Ten Commandments | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it
The philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote his own personal set of ten commandments. They were published under the title "My Ten Commandments" in Everyman magazine in 1930.
They ran as follows: -
1. ...

 

They still apply, but years later he wrote another set for teachers - this set should be part of any course on leadership or managment:

 

1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

2. Do not think it worthwhile to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.

4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that is happiness.

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Spotlight on Association Leadership: Critical skills you’ll need to prepare for 2020

Spotlight on Association Leadership: Critical skills you’ll need to prepare for 2020 | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it

Another "List", this time of skills for leaders in 8-10 years. It is interesting because, perhaps due to the intended audience, all of the skills are very personal and have a social aspect:

Sense-making: Ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed.

Social intelligence: Ability to connect to others in a deep and different way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions.

Novel and adaptive thinking: Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based.

Although the article was written with associations in mind, I can't see how these skills would not be beneficial for leaders in eompanies, can you?

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Powerpoint is still an issue

Powerpoint is still an issue | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it

It seems that Powerpoint has replaced documents in the world of business for all but contracts.

This brings the inevitable result that people try to cram the content of whole novels onto 87 slides. 

As an alternative, try writing your main story into a real document, with complete sentences and everything (you can still be brief). Then, really take only headlines and follow the guidelines summarized by Scott Eblin. What a difference!

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A Joyous Christmas Wish to All

A Joyous Christmas Wish to All | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it
Wishing a joyous Christmas and Health, Peace and Happiness in the new Year...
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Give a man a fish: Great Leadership: Ambiguity Breeds Mediocrity

Give a man a fish:   Great Leadership: Ambiguity Breeds Mediocrity | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it

Dave Mastovich writes that ambiguity on the part of a manager in assigning work will lead to mediocre results from the employees.  He then continues to give some tips both to employees (repeat and confirm the task), and the manager (don't just eMail, meet with the employee, be specific). 

Which is fine for starters, and when the work involved is more than completing a simple task I would add that it is always helpful for the employees to be aware of the context.  

It reminds me of the proverb:

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

If you want the task done precisely, explain the exact result you expect. If you want the employee to actively participate in this and future, similar results, involve her in the process leading to the task itself.

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A fun look at some seriously bad habits: 10 Ways to Act More Important Than You Really Are

A fun look at some seriously bad habits: 10 Ways to Act More Important Than You Really Are | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it
I have a gut feeling that this post is going to rub a few people the wrong way. Why? Because many, if not all of the items on the upcoming list are grounded in some degree of reality.

 

A tongue in cheek look at some of the characteristics of important people - or those trying to appear that way.

1. Never show up to a meeting on time.
2. Name drop.

3. Have the biggest chair in the office.

4. Pose like a peacock.

5. Have a lot of LinkedIn connections.

6. Keep a lot of very important books or periodicals on your desk.

7. Talk really loud and don’t worry about listening.

8. Pretend you enjoy the arts.

9. Never answer your own phone, emails, or schedule your own appointments.

10. Use a lot of letters after your name.

 

Was there something on the list that made you cringe? Because that is the one to watch! 

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Dan Ariely » Can beggars be choosers? «

Dan Ariely » Can beggars be choosers? « | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it

The choice  to which Dan Ariely  is refers is the choice of how beggars effectively approach their potential patrons. He writes about a quick experiment which showed that, when asking total strangers for money, what worked best was a very personal approach, looking people in the eye or even holding their hands out, to either shake or recieve money.

 

In the experiment, the would-be-beggar received more money when he was standing and looking people in the eye. In other words, he moved from being an anonymous object, a part of the environment, to being a fellow human being with needs and a personal story.

 

There may be a lesson for leadership here, if you are truly interested in the wellbeing of your organization, walk among the staff and see them not as "FTEs", or "heads"or "resources", but as individual people. Then again, maybe that is why so many leaders never do just that.

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5 Keys to Effectively Communicating Appreciation in the Workplace

5 Keys to Effectively Communicating Appreciation in the Workplace | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it

Paul White:  "As I travel around the country to consult for businesses and organizations, I hear the same message over and over—both from leaders and from their employees: People are getting burned out.", and "approximately 50 % of the workforce are just passively enduring work they don’t enjoy."

Wow. 

These are the 'drones' that so many managers complain about. These are the people who are not enthusiastic about the latest 'innovation' or 'change' program in the enterprise.  

What is too often overlooked (or purposely ignored) is the fact that these drones were once children with shiny eyes and enthusiasm, just begging to be engaged. Many factors contribut to change in people, but lack of appreciation is surely one of them. While you obviously cannot and should not play therapist, how about some authentic appreciation?

1. Praise very specifically - not just a blanket "that was great"

2. Some people react better to actions - spending time with them, assigning an interestin task.....

3. Do it in the language of the recipient: sports analogies should be used only with real sports enthusiasts

4. Save the qualifiers for another time - no "now next time....."

5. Mean it - most people have very good detectors for .... fibs and 'praise by the book' often is worse than none at all.

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Why Aren't Leaders Delivering the Basics? - Forbes

Why Aren't Leaders Delivering the Basics? - Forbes | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it

"What is it with business leaders these days?  According to a recent survey by Right Management, a talent and career management group within ManpowerGroup, the #1 reason business leaders fail is their inability or unwillingness to build relationships and a team environment."

 

At a meeting to prepare Managers for interviews and dealing with journalists this summer, a few do and dont rules were given:

 

DO: be courteous, on time, dependable, do what you say you will do when you say you will do it, show some interest in them, listen!, share information, .....

 

DONT: ever lie, be late, try to manipulate (and get caught), put them or their organization down, steal their thunder by giving the same "exclusive" to others, be unfair,....

 

so, I just had to ask: "why is this different from what we learned in Kindergarden, and why are these not the same norms we use in dealing with our teams every day?"  

and we all agreed that there actually is NO difference. 

 

But according to this article, it would seem that not all people in positions of leadership were paying attention in Kindergarden, or maybe we all just need a refresher now and then; what would your staff say about you? 

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BPS Research Digest: Feeling socially excluded? Try touching a teddy bear (seriously)

BPS Research Digest: Feeling socially excluded? Try touching a teddy bear (seriously) | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it

The things that get studied and discovered!

 

Now we have evidence and scientific proof of the effectiveness of Teddy Bears. Don't you feel  better knowing that there is empiric evidence to show that people who feel socially exluded, either by being put down by others or ignored, will not only feel better, but actually be more willing to participate afresh in social activities?

 

Seriously, maybe organizations should give out little Teddy Bears to their emloyees (at least the managers)  to touch throughout the day - it might make some workplaces more attractive.

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The Story(s) of Our Life | Psychology Today

The Story(s) of Our Life | Psychology Today | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it

A Tale of Competing Narratives, By Robert Steven Kaplan...

 

Mr. Kaplan is a Professor or Management Practices at Harvard Business School. It is interesting to see that, like many psychologists and coaches, he too talks about the power of narrative and the effects of the stories that we tell ourselves and about ourselves.

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FAIL UPWARDS | Variant of 'if life gives you lemons...'

Dave Trott is Executive Creative Director at csttg (UK). He regularly blogs on the csttg website. 

In this entry he describes a number of milestones in his own career and how they actually resulted out of what had originally been failures. While the central message is not new, it is told in an interesting and suspensful manner and worth a read!

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There is no Symbol that we can't use: Five Leadership Lessons From James T. Kirk - Forbes

There is no Symbol that we can't use: Five Leadership Lessons From James T. Kirk - Forbes | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it
Through his example, Starfleet's finest Captain has something to teach us about leadership. Here are five lessons to take on your own voyages.

 

FORBES gets ever more creative with their presentation of leadership characteristics - this time with Captain Kirk.

 

The (unsurprising lessons) are:

1. Never stop learning

2. Have advisors with different world views

3. Be part or the away team (get in the middle of things)

4. Play Poker, not Chess (it's not always the rules that define the game)

5. Blow up the Enterprise - read the article to find out ;-)

 

The whole thing is a bit Tongue-in-cheek, but worth a read, especially for all Strar Trek Fans 

(guilty)

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5 Leadership Lessons: Great Leaders Grow

Ken Blanchard has a new Book out: "Great Leaders Grow", in which GROW stands for:

Gain Knowledge

Reach out to others

Open your world

Walk towards wisdom.

 

A key point of the book is: "The two primary reasons leaders get off track are ego and fear. For many leaders, their ego is fueled by a heightened sense of confidence—you might call it overconfidence or pride. This, combined with the fear of losing control, often prevents leaders from serving people."

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Why Bosses Who are Civilized and Caring, But Incompetent, can be Really Horrible

Why Bosses Who are Civilized and Caring, But Incompetent, can be Really Horrible | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it

Bob Sutton, who writes so wonderfully on-point about bosses, both good and bad, has added a new category of a bad boss - one who is nice but incompetent. The idea behind this is that there are bosses who are actually incompetent, but because they are such nice people, nice to both staff and peers, no one can bring themselves to remove them.

 

To this I would add the category of "Boss as Ineffective Rebel". These are bosses who regularly complain about their own bosses, how they themself understand all the grievances of the staff, but they just can't get through to the jerks upstairs. They always give you the feeling that they feel your pain, would do things differently if they only could, unfortunately......  To top it off, this often leads into long discourses about their pain! 

 

Practiced regularly, this will not make your staff appreciate you more, in fact, the opposite occurs - you have hijacked their story, provided no help, and ultimately actually asked for their empathy because of your own ineffectiveness.

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Your daily duh with a twist: Humble people more likely to be helpful

Your daily duh with a twist: Humble people more likely to be helpful | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it
If you're looking for a helping hand, you're more likely to get it from people who are humble than from those who are more arrogant, a study by researchers at Baylor University has found.

 

Arrogance and conceit, both almost automatic by-products of assertiveness and self esteem, are not conducive to being helpful. This fits well with the recent study showing that 'nice' people are less likely to be viewed as effective managers.

 

So my question is this: if high levels of assertiveness and self esteem are found in most leaders, and that makes it more likely that humility is not their strongest suit, how on earth can we expect them to have true interest in mentoring, fostering, and helping their employees?

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Karin Sebelin's comment, April 29, 2013 10:49 PM
Wonderful article .. thank you! I like this question:"..if high levels of assertiveness and self esteem are found in most leaders, and that makes it more likely that humility is not their strongest suit, how on earth can we expect them to have true interest in mentoring, fostering, and helping their employees?"
Karin Sebelin's curator insight, April 29, 2013 11:25 PM

Read the article: 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/01/02/humility-helpful.html

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Two leaders die, only one will be missed | leadinglightly.com

Two leaders die, only one will be missed | leadinglightly.com | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it
Kim Jong-il & Vaclav Havel die to very different world reactions, one leader will be missed, the other leaves a power vacuum.


This effect is not limited to world leaders. It is often seen in organizations as well. Managers' authority comes not from within, due to character and personality, but from without, from their position.


It is difficult to show the effects of these two different styles. Here however, the differences become apparent in the reactions to the deaths of two well known leaders, each one a representative of one of the styles.


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What's good for the gander is not good for the goose: Humility key to effective leadership

What's good for the gander is not good for the goose: Humility key to effective leadership | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it
Humble leaders are more effective and better liked, according to a study forthcoming in the Academy of Management Journal.PsyPost...


Intuitively, this is something we probably agree with. How much better to work with or for someone able to admit a mistake, or ignorance on a topic, able to apologize, or just someone who has an open mind and doesn't have to be deferred to.  Another interesting fact is that people can tell whether your humility is authentic or not - this is something that really can't be faked.


However, while these facts may appear to be obvious, it turns out that the "humility-bonus" only works well for white males (the author's words, not mine). It seems that both brown males and women have to present more competence and therefore have a hard time being humble as well.  So, as a woman or man of colour, they get you coming and going, don't they? 

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The Biggest Leadership Myth: You Can't Motivate Other People ...

The Biggest Leadership Myth: You Can't Motivate Other People ... | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it
In Daniel Pink's newest book Drive and the underlying message is that a leader can provide a motivating environment but can't motivate their employees;Business 2 Community...

 

... as more and more studies show, the best motivation is intrinsic and not some form of extrinsic (pavlovian?) system of rewards. This article only quickly mentions the 3 intrinsic forms that Daniel Pink has written about extensively (Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose).  Here, the authors focus on how leadership need not throw their hands up and declare their helplessness, but can actually affect motivation by creating an environment or culture that will foster the mastery, autonomy and purpose.

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Leadership:The Power of Emotional Intelligence

Leadership:The Power of Emotional Intelligence | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it
Daniel Goleman is a psychologist and writer on emotional intelligence. His most recent book, Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence (2011), collects articles from the Harvard Business Review and key excerpts from his books.

I have great respect for Daniel Goleman and the concept of emotional intelligence. In this interview, he seems to be softening the definition by saying that it is enough to have a few of the characteristics such as vision and intense drive to achieve and improve things.

This is where we part ways; intense drive to achieve and vision without empathy are actually the characteristic of most tyrants, dictators  and cult leaders. Does that make them inspired leaders on whom you want to model yourself?

It is tempting to wonder whether Goleman is softening his definition because so many leaders are in fact, without empathy? Watch how he tiptoes around the question of whether Steve Jobs was emotionally intelligent or not.

I take a closer look at www.leadinglightly.com 

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Great Leadership: Leaders Should Be Competent – But Not Too Competent

In keeping with the previous post about leadership basics here is a very good reminder of the main function of leadership: to lead, not to be the best doer.

 

Unfortunately, many (even experienced) leaders in new teams or positions feel the need to establish (or justify) their position by being overly 'active' and 'hands-on'. This usually means that they often seem to mistrust the experts in their teams and complicate, or even begin to micro-manage things they don't fully understand.

 

Therefore I absolutely agree with the core message of the article:  "There is one thing leaders should be competent at: leading. That is their job. Leaders should know just enough to be dangerous about the subject they are managing. How can you know if you’ve crossed the boundary into over-competence? Ask yourself:

• Is there anyone you are managing that you don’t trust to do something they have been hired to do? If so, why?

• When you are reviewing work, do you spend more time nitpicking or focusing on the big picture?

• When you are interviewing new talent, are you actively seeking out people that are smarter than you in a given area?"

 

When dealing with your team or their work-product, keep in mind that:

- no-one will ever do it exactly as you would - which does not necessarily make their way wrong.

- people most often have a pretty good reason for doing what they do and the way they do - maybe you should ask them about that reason?

 

Finally, a bit of humility is always good: while you certainly should aim to improve things, the team/organization was there before you, and will in all likelyhood, still be there when you move on.

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Think like Jobs, don’t act like him—unless you’re a genius - AMA Shift

Think like Jobs, don’t act like him—unless you’re a genius - AMA Shift | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it

AMA Shift delivers a more nuanced view of Steve Jobs. 

 

YES, he was a genius,

YES, he had great vision (in a very specific area of technology),

YES, he initiated great changes in human/machine communications,

 

and

 

YES, he was a really awful, horrible leader,

YES, he treated people very, very badly,

YES, there is ample evidence that this kind of leadership will not sustain success for organizations

 

so

 

NO, he is most certainly NOT someone to take as a model for want-to-be leaders.

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The Power Of The Roles We Take: A Very Old Study And Related Thoughts - Bob Sutton

The Power Of The Roles We Take: A Very Old Study And Related Thoughts - Bob Sutton | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it

Have you ever noticed that people who move into new roles also seem to undergo attitude changes? Of course those who notice such changes are often accused of being biased, especially when a former colleague gets promoted.  And yet.... as Bob Sutton writes in his Blog-Entry, studies going back to 1956 have shown that a change in roles will often be accompanied by a change of attitudes.

 

The gist of the article is that reality distortion is normal and inevitable, "...the lesson is that we all need to be very careful of the roles we take and realize that they will probably change us more than we change them...". It is normal that people who take on leadership roles will identify more with their new colleagues and the company as a whole than they did in their earlier role. 

 

But if nothing (or not much) can be done to prevent this, then what is the point?

 

Well, I suggest that leaders must remain aware of a few things:

first, that the phenomenon exists and yes, it will also affect them,

second: that points of view are not only influenced by personality, but also by roles - so even a basically 'good' person can develop views they might otherwise not have

and lastly: points of view and thus reality are not fixed, but determined to a good degree by the context in which we find ourselves - so..... there really is no good basis for 'my way or the highway' standpoints.

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How to Get Involved Without Micromanaging People - Linda Hill & Kent Lineback - Harvard Business Review

How to Get Involved Without Micromanaging People - Linda Hill & Kent Lineback - Harvard Business Review | Leading Lightly - Managing Mindfully | Scoop.it

Linda Hill & Kent Lineback present a quick recipe for delegating and keeping control without micro-managing. They use the Prepare-Do-Review approach in which the manager/delegator does not so much tell employees what to do and how to do it, but asks questions instead.

This a number of advantages:

- it creates space for more than one approach to the problem/task at hand

- it empowers the person being delegated to by inviting initiative

- it can become a learning experience for both the manager and the person being delegated to

 

Maybe this is something worth trying?

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