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How More Customer Contact Creates a More Energetic, Motivated and United Workforce

Idea posted: October 2019
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Inspiring the human desire to help others, customer contact sparks the collective energy of employees, leading to better company performance. Transformational leadership is vital, however, to capture the benefits of customer contact.

Idea #751
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Management Matters Most for Corporate Performance

Idea posted: July 2019
  • Leadership & Change

The largest survey ever conducted of management practices in U.S. firms confirms that structured performance-oriented management practices and techniques are vital to corporate performance — and that the extent to which firms integrate these management practices and techniques varies widely.

Idea #744
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Authentic Leaders Inspire Creativity, Organizational Citizenship and Performance

Idea posted: April 2019
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

A new study confirms that authentic leadership inspires creativity, organizational citizenship and individual performance. The study also explores how creativity and organizational citizenship explains the impact of authentic leadership on individual performance.

Idea #737
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Why Are Disagreeable Men Being Rewarded for Being Disagreeable?

Idea posted: March 2019
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Nice guys do finish last, according to a series of studies that show agreeable men earn significantly less and have less opportunity for advancement than disagreeable men. Agreeable women aren’t faced with the same backlash, supporting the assumption that agreeable men are being punished for not living up to their stereotypical gender roles. 

Idea #733
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Oliver Asking for More (Charles Dickens ‘Oliver Twist’), George Cruikshank, 1837 (Courtesy: . British Library)

Speaking Truth to Power Is More Complex Than You Think

Idea posted: June 2018
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

A two-year research study reveals — for both those in power and their subordinates — the personal, political and social complexities involved in speaking truth to power.

Idea #712
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Monty Python's Silly Walk. Graffitti, Porto, Portugal (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Middle Managers’ Walking the Talk Needs Top Management Support

Idea posted: May 2018
  • Leadership & Change

For middle managers, behavioural integrity — the perception by subordinates that management behaviour matches their words — is a key factor for success. Unfortunately, organizations often undermine their middle managers’ behavioural integrity with contradictory policies and decisions — or policies, directives or decisions for which they never acquired middle management buy-in.

Idea #705
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Source: Pixabay

The Unintended Consequences of Risk Averse Managers

Idea posted: October 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change

Risk aversion and career concerns are pushing managers to play it safe, reducing the shareholder value of their companies — and the incentive compensation structures meant to motivate managers often have the opposite effect. 

Idea #676
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Frank Jordan meets with Doug Cuthbertson and other union leaders at City Hall, New York, during the 1994 newspaper strike

Why You Need to Mend Any Poor Relationships With Your Employees

Idea posted: September 2017
  • Leadership & Change

A leading researcher on the issue of management-subordinate conflicts explains why it is important for leaders to mend any poor or strained relationships with their subordinates — and what steps to take. 

 

Idea #674
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Corporate Psychopaths: A Menace to Your Organization

Corporate Psychopaths: A Menace to Your Organization

Idea posted: February 2017
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Corporate psychopaths destroy morale, cause the best employees to flee and even commit whole-scale fraud, yet often use blatant lies and cheating to fool their bosses into believing they are valuable assets.

 

Idea #644
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Corporate Culture: A Key Drivers of a Firm’s Value

Idea posted: January 2017
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

A survey of more than 1300 executives confirms that for most leaders, corporate culture is one of the top five contributors to a firm’s value — and that current CEOs are most responsible for establishing an effective culture.

Idea #641
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Media Multitasking: Unproductive but Gratifying

Media Multitasking: Unproductive but Gratifying

Idea posted: December 2016
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Media multitasking hurts productivity, but it is also a self-reinforcing habit that makes people feel better: students find studying with the TV on more fun and emotionally satisfying, for example. These habitual and emotional gratifications explain why media multitasking is an ongoing problem making its way into the workplace.

Idea #638
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Source: Unsplash

How The Right Mindset Turns Stress Into a Positive Force

Idea posted: October 2016
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

A stress-is-debilitating mindset is a self-fulfilling prophecy: stress reduces performance and adversely impacts health. However, individuals who have a different mindset and view stress as enhancing rather than debilitating find that stress increases their performance and even health.

Idea #627
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Grand Parade (mosaic) Fernand Léger, 1958, National Gallery of Victoria

Meritocracy at Work: Well-Intention Systems Can Cause the Reverse

Idea posted: August 2016
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

If managers believe, because of formal performance evaluation and compensation systems, that their organization is meritocratic, they are ironically more likely to engage in less meritocratic behaviour. Researcher Emilio J. Castilla of MIT’s Sloan School of management calls this “the paradox of meritocracy.”

Idea #620
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The seven dwarfs, Snow White, 1937, produced by Walt Disney Productions (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Motivation Profiles: Pay and Reward Vs Fulfilling Work

Idea posted: June 2016
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Building on four types of motivation, a new survey helps identify different profiles of motivation for managers, offering a mix of extrinsic (e.g. salaries) or intrinsic (e.g. fulfilling work) rewards. The profiles reveal how the different motives of managers impact their job attitudes. 

Idea #609
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The Cheats, Valentin de Boulogne, c.1619 (Courtesy: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC)

Last Chance Cheating: A Gig Economy Challenge

Idea posted: May 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Because short-term or contract employees are hired for a specific period of time, they know when the end of their time with the employer is near. A new study shows that as they approach this final period, departing short-termers will often cheat the employer in some way. The reason: it’s their last chance to make a little gain at the employer’s expense. 

Idea #605
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A detail from 'Nighthawks', Edward Hopper, 1942, (Courtesy: The Art Institute of Chicago)

Sleep Deprivation Hurts Performance As Much As Too Much to Drink

Idea posted: November 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

How seriously does sleep deprivation impact the productivity and alertness of employees? A classic study compared the effects of sleep deprivation to the effects of alcohol consumption, and showed an identical pattern of impairment. 

Idea #569
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Illustration from Europa's fairy book, published by G. P. Putnam's & Sons, 1916 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Best-Self Activation Launches Sustained Performance Improvement

Idea posted: November 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

New research confirms that best-self activation — activating a mental representation of your best self — leads to short- and long-term improvement in performance. The research specifically highlights the positive emotional, physiological (e.g. resilience to stress), and cognitive impact of best-self activation.

Idea #565
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The Dutch East India Co. chartered in 1602, a steel engraving by Cool and Rennefeld, Leiden, c. 1880 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why Equity-Based Incentives Work Below the C-Suite

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Leadership & Change

Many companies fear offering equity-based incentives for business unit managers. They believe that compensating business-unit managers based on corporate-wide results will hurt local business unit results. New research shows these fears to be unfounded, and that the right balance of equity-based and profit-based incentives increase results at both the corporate level and the business unit level and increase cross-business-unit collaboration.

Idea #562
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Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich: the Sister, by Edward Ardizzone,1941 (Courtesy: The Imperial War Museum, London)

The Overlooked Productivity Costs of Collaboration

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

While management theorists and business leaders trumpet knowledge sharing and other advantages of collaboration, new research shows that workforce collaboration also comes with ‘spillover’ time-related costs that hurt productivity. These costs, however, can be managed.  

Idea #552
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When Non-Average Performers Are Targeted by Bullies

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

As workplace incivility, aggression and harassment continues to worry business leaders and managers, new research explores some of the ways both high performers and poor performers may be inadvertently inspiring their victimization. 

Idea #553
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Marble relief of the Roman Praetorian Guard c50AD (Courtesy: Louvre-Lens Museum, Lens, France)

Transformational Leadership Extra Effective When Employees Have High Self-Esteem

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Transformational leadership is key to helping employees reach their full potential. This is especially true, according to new research, for high core self-evaluation (CSE) employees, whose job satisfaction and organizational commitment is significantly strengthened under the influence of transformational leaders. 

Idea #547
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Better Error Management Can Foster Innovation and Learning

Idea posted: August 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Not only can people learn from errors, but errors are an important part of the innovation process. However errors can have significant costs and the fear of the negative aspects of error can lead to an exclusive focus on prevention policies. Recent research emphasises the need for companies to embed within their culture ways to reduce the negative consequences of errors and enhance the positive through effective error management.

Idea #545
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King Canute Reproving His Courtiers, 1848, engraving (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Leadership Humility Is Defined in the East and in the West

Idea posted: July 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Two studies in Singapore reveal differences in the definition of leadership humility between Eastern and Western cultures. Attributes such as self-awareness and recognizing the strengths and achievements of followers were common and important to both cultures, the Singapore studies showed, however, a number of unique dimensions that are viewed as significantly humble in a culture where one’s place on the hierarchy is important. These unique humility dimensions included leading by example, empathy and approachability.

Idea #530
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Napoleon at the Battle of Wagram 1809, Horace Vernet, 1836 (Courtesy: Palace of Versailles)

Ensure the CEO Gets the Right Information at the Right Time

Idea posted: July 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

CEOs must be informed at all times about all internal and external facets of the company relevant to his or her performance as leader of the company. A personal knowledge infrastructure, based on the right practices, relationships and tools and aligned with the needs and personality of the CEO, can make the difference between leadership success and failure. 

Idea #532
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The Keystone Cops, 'In the Clutches of the Gang, 1914, directed by George Nichols and Mack Sennett (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How to Avoid Task Conflicts Damaging Team Relationships

Idea posted: June 2015
  • Leadership & Change

The potential performance benefits of task-related conflicts can be jeopardized when those conflicts deteriorate into personal relationship conflicts. Strong team identification can prevent such deterioration — as long as the original conflict is of medium intensity.

Idea #523
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3D visualization of ecological networks on the Internet, IS&T/SPIE Symposium, 2004 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Informal and Formal Networks Hurt and Help Performance

Idea posted: June 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Individuals in organizations draw on formal and informal interactions for resources, knowledge and advice. New research shows that inconsistency between the formal and informal interactions can be beneficial, to a certain extent, because of the diversity of information and resources such inconsistency provides.

Idea #526
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Daniel's Answer to the King, Briton Rivière, Mezotint, 1892 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Overcoming Our Evolutionary Fears to Speak Up to Authority

Idea posted: March 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Employees are often afraid to speak up even though they may have something to say. New research points to the evolutionary origins of fear-based silence and highlights the productive steps (e.g. developing emotional intelligence and better communication skills) employees can take to overcome these fears.

Idea #498
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How Early Work Experience Shapes Later Leadership Outlook

Idea posted: February 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

The context of an employee’s first job — specifically, whether occurring in good or bad economic times for their companies — can have a surprising impact on subsequent performance. Employees who learn the skills and habits required to succeed during economic downturns are more likely succeed when the future matches their early work experiences. The reverse is also true: workers whose first jobs occurred during times of abundance encounter greater success in the future during economic upturns.

Idea #480
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Why Leaders Sabotage Their Own Teams

Idea posted: February 2015
  • Leadership & Change

Some leaders, afraid of losing their grip on power, will use whatever means they have to stay in their position. Their favourite strategy is to divide and conquer: they systematically prevent skilled subordinates — the greatest threats to their power — from forming alliances with other subordinates that would help push them to the top. Divide-and-conquer strategies undermine the positive, collaborative relationships that are key success factors for effective groups…but these leaders couldn't care less. 

Idea #482
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The Harvesters, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1565. Courtesy the Metrolopitan Museum, New York

Does Work/Life Balance Help or Hurt Productivity?

Idea posted: January 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Does paying attention to the work-life balance issues of employees increase productivity and the competitiveness of a business? Or, as pessimists might argue, is productivity and work-life balance (WLB) in direct conflict? New research shows that in fact WLB is more neutral than either proponents or pessimists believe — neither hurting nor particularly helping productivity. The decision on whether to implement WLB practices may rest on a completely different factor: the social norms of the countries in which the business activity takes place.

Idea #475
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