5 Top Leadership Articles for the Week of July 24, 2017

This week Karin and I were excited to see our feature interview make the front cover of the American Management Association’s Quarterly. Take a look – it gives you a good view into the ‘why’ behind our work.

Each week I read a number of leadership articles from various online resources and share them across social media. Here are the five leadership articles readers found most valuable last week. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think, too.

Got Leadership Grit and Grace? By Jane Perdue at Lead Change Group

I’m a business person who has hit the trifecta of stereotypes: I’m a woman who is blonde and overweight. Despite being a vice president who managed a department of 150 people in a $2 billion annual revenue organization, a male boss felt free to describe me to the CEO as a “soft and round Aunt Polly” and a female colleague as a “colorful little butterfly.” Physical descriptors were absent in his summary of my male colleagues.

Biases, both implicit and explicit, and stereotypes make it challenging for business women to be seen as both good leaders and good women. Those same biases and stereotypes work against businessmen who dare to be compassionate, nurturing, and sensitive to the needs of others. Economic warrior bosses more interested in profits than in principles and relationships look the other way when these men are described as wimps and the women as bossy.

Is that the kind of workplace culture we want for our children and grandchildren?

My Comment: Wow – what a great article from Perdue. There are so many “hit you between the eyes” moments in this one. Let’s start with the question she asks, “Is that the kind of workplace culture we want for our children and our grandchildren?”

When I speak to managers, leaders, and business owners, I always ask them (and I’m asking you!) to join us in creating the workplace we want our children and grandchildren to inherit. Every interaction with your employees, every meeting, and every strategic business decision you make help to create this future. What future are you creating?

Specifically, with regard to solving problems of equity and gender-balance, Perdue offers nine rich suggestions to help you create the future I know I want for my sons and daughters.

And a quick PS: I’m an advocate on these issues. I believe we’re better when everyone is at the table…AND yet, I still wrestle with some of these assumptions, generalizations, and stereotypes. It takes intentional work and transparency to do this work. Thanks for this list Jane Perdue!

The Simplest Way to Become a Great Decision-Maker by Dan Rockwell

Make decisions based on future value not sunk-cost.

The lake house: Last month we rented a small house on Seneca Lake. We had so much fun we decided to do it again this month. We found a beautiful home on a private lake. The drive was short. The price was right. It would be fun. It wasn’t.

I like to get away with my High School sweetheart. She drove. I played love songs on my iphone. Eric Clapton’s “You Look Wonderful Tonight” was followed by Joe Cocker croaking “You are so Beautiful.”

Things turned dark when we arrived…

My Comment: With an all-too-familiar story of a getaway gone wrong, Rockwell shares the one thing you can do to instantly improve your decision-making: make decisions based on future value – not the sunk costs of the work or investment you’ve already made. Straightforward, simple – and sometimes hard to remember and do. It’s human nature to focus on what we’ve already done, as opposed to where we might go and what will actually get us there.

Three Behaviors That Will Convince Your Boss You’re a Rock Star by Karin Hurt

Yesterday “Doug,” a participant in one of our Winning Well workshops, asked, “Karin, if I were to walk into your office right now with the goal of convincing you I’m a rock star, what behaviors would get your attention?”

I’m always intrigued by what comes out of the other end of my microphone during spontaneous Q & A— the raw advice bubbling straight from my heart without the benefit of the backspace key.

So, here’s my answer to Doug, and for you if you’re looking to make a bigger impact…

My Comment: I love this article. It reminded me of a time when I had been promoted and was determined to show up and knock the socks off of my executive leadership team and the Board of Directors. Of course, I fell on my face. Why? Because I had been focused on trying to show off and look good as opposed to actual results that were relevant to their needs.

We encourage every aspiring leader to “Rock Your Role” – it’s vital to your credibility and success. Hurt offers three important characteristics that we look for in employees who want more responsibility. Pay attention to #3 – it is often overlooked, but it’s a key to ensuring that organizations promote healthy leaders.

Great Leaders Focus on One Important Thing by Joel Garfinkle at Smart Brief

From small shops to giant corporations, we know that great leaders everywhere are on top of any number of important facts and figures, deadlines and other business information. They have the knowledge, the expertise and the drive to succeed — often in very different ways. The best leaders, however, all share a common trait: they prioritize relationships.

Results come from great teams, and great teams start with a strong coalition. If you know relationships could be your key to getting ahead, but you’re struggling to get it right, read below to learn how coalition building can help you succeed in any workplace…

My Comment: In Winning Well we continually invite leaders to focus on both results and relationships. Put people before projects. Prioritize peers. Trust the trenches. With our continual rush to results, it’s curious how common it is that leaders lose focus on the very people and relationships that achieve those results in the first place. Garfinkle gives you several ways to invest in healthy professional relationships with your team and the other people you need to succeed.

Never forget: leadership is a relationship.

Management vs Leadership: Is there a difference? By David Hand

There is an enormous amount of writing and commentary about management and leadership, which are often used interchangeably. The focus is usually on the practical aspects of management – including the authority bestowed on managers because of their position in an organization’s hierarchy – and the motivational aspects of leadership.

Both management and leadership can be harnessed to drive business success. Both are demanding attributes and can be defined in their broadest terms. Leadership is deciding what must happen and what direction to take. Management is getting it done and ensuring the organization is moving in the required direction.

My Comment: Early in my own management career, I encountered slogans extolling leadership over management. Some even quoted Peter Drucker: “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.” These well-meaning, but wrong-headed folks denigrated management and elevated leadership.

If you’ve been in a management, leadership, or supervisory role of any kind, you’ve probably realized the truth: you succeed best when you lead and manage well. Your leadership credibility comes from your skill as a manager. Your management effectiveness soars when you inspire and lead your team to a better tomorrow. Hand gives you some specific ways you can focus on the areas that challenge you.


We’re booking companies and association events for 2017 fall and 2018 spring. Drop me a note or call to bring Winning Well to your leaders. Invite David to help your leaders transform their results without losing their soul (or mind) in the process. Available for keynotes, deep-dive breakout sessions, and corporate training.

We’re booking corporate leadership development and association events for 2017 fall and 2018 spring. Email or call to bring Winning Well to your leaders. Invite David to help your leaders transform their results without losing their soul (or mind).

To see David in action, check out this demo video.



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