Managerial Perspectives

Additional Thoughts and Takeaways

Applying (and resisting) Peer Influence: 

  • People are often poor at recognizing why they behave as they do 
  • When it comes to estimating the causes of their own conduct, people seem especially blind to the large role of peer influence 

Power Plays into Decision Making: 

  • Feeling powerful actually increased people’s willingness to wait for larger rewards 
  • Power also leads to greater risk-taking, illusory control and heightened reward sensitivity, all tendencies that can lead to disinhibition and poor decision making (on the flip side) 
    • Yet power holders do often make good decision, and they may be particularly good at considering future consequences 

Does Power Cloud One’s Ability to Make Good Decisions? 

  • The overall sense of control that comes with power tends to make people feel overconfident in their ability to make good decisions 
  • The most effective leaders bring people around them who critique them. As a power holder, the smartest thing you might ever do is bring people together who will inspect your thinking and who aren’t afraid to challenge your ideas 
    • However… the more powerful leaders become, the less of this help they will think they need 

Video on Teams: 

  • The characteristics of effective teams 
    • Even participation 
    • Psychological safety established amongst team members (=empathy) 
  • To foster phycological safety in teams 
    • Frame work as a learning problem 
    • Acknowledge own fallibility 
    • Model curiosity and ask questions 
  • Proximity: forming relationships with people in close proximity to us who are more likely to have similarities. They are more likely to have similar knowledge and experience (=a problem) 
  • The common knowledge problem leads to a failure of collective intelligence 
    • To solve: focus on inquiry and not on advocacy 
  • Key takeaways on teams: 
    • Psychological safety 
    • Even group participation 
    • Avoid common knowledge 
    • Need diversity in voice 
    • Emphasize inquiry over dogmatic advocacy 

Aiming for an Evolutionary Advantage: Google: Management Innovation in Action 

  • 70-20-10 formula for innovation: 70% of engineering resources to enhancements of base business, 20% focused on services that significantly extend the core, 10% for fringe ideas 

Leveraging Culture for Innovation and Competitive Advantage: 

  • A shared vision helps infuse the organization with meaning and purpose beyond institutional ends 
  • To manage organizational culture effectively, managers must be clear in their own minds about the type of culture and the specific norms and values that will help the organization reach its strategic goals 
  • In order to have a strong culture, the norm must also be characterized by intensity; that is, people who share the norm must feel strongly enough about it that they are willing to tell others when the normal is violated 

Developing the Expert Leader: 

  • An expert is defined as a person who generates “superior reproducible performance of representative tasks” relevant to the domain of activity, and ‘expertise’ refers to ‘the characteristics, skills, and knowledge that distinguish experts from novices and less experienced people” 
  • Things that have the most immediate implications on leadership: 
    • Expertise is learned 
    • Expertise is domain specific 
    • Expertise is based on knowledge and how it is organized 
    • Expertise requires more than just knowledge 
    • Other people matter in becoming an expert 
    • Expertise is intentional 
    • Expertise is personal 
  • having a big experience (say, a challenging turnaround assignment) before having learned the basic lessons taught in earlier, smaller assignments (like the first supervisory job), results in learning the basic lessons rather than the more sophisticated lessons offered by the big experience (or at least learning the basic lessons first, therefore losing time in grasping the more sophisticated ones). This suggests that sequential steps are sometimes necessary for development, both in terms of the learning ability of the candidate and in the nature of the experiences themselves. We need to be mindful of how sequencing is important when we try to accelerate development by moving people quickly through challenging assignments 

The Essence of Leadership (video): 

  • Leadership is about trust. The leader must create the environment of trust in an organization 
    • “you know you’re a good leader when people follow you if only out of curiusity”  
  • Clear mission statements, selfless service, prepare your ‘followers’ – train them, give them what they need to get the job done, you’re prepared to take the risks with them 

Primal Leadership

What most influences your company's 
bottom-line performance? The answer will 
surprise you—and make perfect sense: It's 
a leader's own mood. 
Executives' emotional intelligence— 
their self-awareness, empathy, rapport 
with others—has clear links to their own 
performance. But new research shows that 
a leader's emotional style also drives ev- 
eryone else's moods and behaviors— 
through a neurological process called 
mood contagion. It's akin to "Smile and 
the whole world smiles with you." 
Emotional intelligence travels through an 
organization like electricity over telephone 
wires. Depressed, ruthless bosses create 
toxic organizations filled with negative 
underachievers. But if you're an upbeat, in- 
spirational leader, you cultivate positive 
employees who embrace and surmount 
even the toughest challenges. 
Emotional leadership isn't just putting on a 
game face every day. It means understand- 
ing your impact on others—then adjusting 
your style accordingly. A difficult process of 
self-discovery—but essential before you 
can tackle your leadership responsibilities. 
Since few people have the guts to tell you the truth about your emotional impact, you must 
discover it on your own. The following process can help. It's based on brain science, as well 
as years of field research with executives. use these steps to rewire your brain for greater 
emotional intelligence. 
1. Who do you want to be? Imagine yourself 
as a highly effective leader. What do you see? 
Sofia, a senior manager, often microman- 
aged others to ensure work was done 
"right." So she imagined herself in the future 
as an effective leader of her own company, 
enjoying trusting relationships with co- 
workers. She saw herself as relaxed, happy, 
and empowering. The exercise revealed 
gaps in her current emotional style. 
2. Who are you now? To see your leadership 
style as others do, gather 360-degree feed- 
back, especially from peers and subordinates. 
Identify your weaknesses and strengths. 
3. How do you get from here to there? De- 
vise a plan for closing the gap between who 
you are and who you want to be. 
Juan, a marketing executive, was intimidat- 
ing, impossible to please—a grouch. 
Charged with growing his company, he 
needed to be encouraging, optimistic—a 
coach with a vision. Setting out to under- 
stand others, he coached soccer, volun- 
teered at a crisis center, and got to know 
subordinates by meeting outside of work. 
These new situations stimulated him to 
break old habits and try new responses. 
4. How do you make change stick? Repeat- 
edly rehearse new behaviors—physically and 
mentally—until they're automatic. 
Tom, an executive, wanted to learn how to 
coach rather than castigate struggling 
employees. Using his commuting time to 
visualize a difficult meeting with one em- 
ployee, he envisioned asking questions 
and listening, and mentally rehearsed how 
he'd handle feeling impatient. This exercise 
prepared him to adopt new behaviors at 
the actual meeting. 
5. Who can help you? Don't try to build your 
emotional skills alone—identify others who 
can help you navigate this difficult process. 
Managers at Unilever formed learning groups 
that helped them strengthen their leadership 
abilities by exchanging frank feedback and 
developing strong mutual trust.

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