Monday, March 26, 2012

Lead Differently

Every week, we publish an exciting summary of the best articles, videos, events, and posts that relate to innovative management. This week, check out these 7 articles that inspire better management. Enjoy! 

Lead Differently 

Change This 
"Leaders and leadership are often thought of in a poor light. Leadership is often viewed as a necessary evil. There is even a growing voice to the idea of leaderless organizations. I’m not sure where that is headed, but I do know I don’t want to be a part of a leaderless organization.

People and organizations are much more likely to thrive if the leader subscribes to what Robert Greenleaf called Servant Leadership. It is not a new idea—Greenleaf didn’t invent it nor did I. However, it is an idea whose time has come… It is time to Lead Differently!”

IT Management should not begin and end with a spreadsheet 

Enterprise CIO Forum
 …every person in each room was measuring and managing the old fashion way—after the fact by manual manipulation of Excel spreadsheets. This is problematic at multiple levels.

According to Derek Abell, “control is different than ‘reporting’ in that it implies the possibility for management intervention if things go out of control. Control implies feedback in which management is actively involved. Reporting, on the contrary, is passive. For control to be effective, therefore, data must be timely and provided at intervals that are effective for intervention.” (Derek Abell, Managing with Dual Strategies, pg. 275). At the very least, this means the IT companies participating in the roundtables are not controlling their IT environments the way they should. And apparently this is true across industries as participants came from commercial banking, healthcare insurance, entertainment, property and casualty insurance, and local government and public sector.

The Hard Science of Teamwork 

Like many people, I've encountered teams that are "clicking." I've experienced the "buzz" of a group that's blazing away with new ideas in a way that makes it seem they can read each others' minds. We think of building teams that operate on this plane as an art, or even magic. It's not something you can plan; it's lightning-in-a-bottle stuff that you just embrace when you're lucky enough to come across it.

My feature article in HBR's April Spotlight on teams describes in detail the new science of building great teams. We can summarize those points here. Our data show that great teams:
Communicate frequently. In a typical project team a dozen or so communication exchanges per working hour may turn out to be optimum; but more or less than that and team performance can decline.  
Talk and listen in equal measure, equally among members. Lower performing teams have dominant members, teams within teams, and members who talk or listen but don't do both.  
Engage in frequent informal communication. The best teams spend about half their time communicating outside of formal meetings or as "asides" during team meetings, and increasing opportunities for informal communication tends to increase team performance. 
Explore for ideas and information outside the group. The best teams periodically connect with many different outside sources and bring what they learn back to the team. 

6 Warning Signs That You Are Not Ready to Lead 

Harvest Performance
Here are some warning signs that you are just not ready (though you will be on the right path once you read this post!):

  1. You have never heard of Servant Leadership 
  2. Focusing on people seems too soft for your work environment 
  3. The thought of providing authentic feedback makes you hide in fear 
  4. Empowerment is an individual sport 
  5. You don’t have time to reflect and work on yourself 
  6. Your “Trust Dial” is set to mistrust 

Listening to Shame 

Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.

How Convergent and Divergent Thinking Foster Creativity

Psychology Today
The relationship between intelligence and creativity has long been debated and studied.

One of the hallmark tests of "general intelligence" is the Raven's Progressive Matrices Test. This test gives you a matrix of figures and you have to figure out the missing piece that completes the pattern.

Here's an example...

6 ways to get shy employees to speak up 

Some people are born introverts and some, extroverts. Neither personality type makes someone inherently good or bad at their job, but shy employees may have trouble expressing their ideas in a group setting. Younger worker may be particularly reticent.

A good manager knows how to draw these employees out, making them feel comfortable enough to contribute. Here are 6 tips if you suspect someone on your team has something to say, but is hesitant to say it: