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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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Using Values-Based Leadership to Drive Performance

Idea posted: January 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Values-based leadership can drive the performance of organizations, and managing those values is the key to unlocking increased performance. Richard Barrett’s model maps values for individuals, groups, organizations and nations. It can identify the gaps between observed and desired values and the negative values that create dysfunction, and can be used to show where change needs to occur to create higher performance.

Idea #472
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Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, enthroned over his defeated enemies, Giulio Clovio, mid 16th century

What Boards Think of CEOs

Idea posted: September 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

The greatest weakness of CEOs is their lack of people management and talent management skills, according to a Stanford Graduate School of Business survey of Boards of Directors. However, the directors themselves must shoulder part of the blame: the survey also shows that when evaluating their CEOs, boards place significantly more value on financial metrics than any other factor. 

Idea #439
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Women Workers in Estonia, unknown artist from the soviet period (Courtesy: ussrpainting.blogspot.com)

Back to Leadership Basics: Make Time for Your Team

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: London Business School

Leaders can make a much greater impact on their businesses if they spend more of their time ‘at the sharp end’, working directly with their people. To do it, they need ruthlessly to delegate, or desist from, time-consuming but relatively unproductive tasks, freeing up several more hours a week to coach and motivate employees to achieve higher performance. 

Idea #393
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Kenya's Faith Chemaoi crosses the finishing line of the 2014 Paris Marathon (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Reference Points Motivate Us

Idea posted: June 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Reference-dependent theories state that individuals evaluate outcomes as gains or losses, depending on a neutral reference point. Making 19 sales in a month is a loss when the goal — the reference point — was 20 sales a month. Data from 10 million marathon finishes provides a field test that confirms the behavioural expectations and implications of these theories, shedding a light on how milestone goals can push individuals to higher performance.

Idea #394
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Detail from a poster by Eric Frazer, for the Post Office Savings Bank, 1942 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How a Culture of Integrity Boosts the Bottom Line

Idea posted: May 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

A culture of integrity adds value to the firm. Research shows that the more employees perceive top managers as trustworthy and ethical, the better the financial performance of the firm and the more attractive the firm to potential employees. 

Idea #379
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Columbia Man. A 1902 poster for Columbia University, by John E. Sheridan (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Do Ivy League or Elite Educated CEOs Outperform Others?

Idea posted: April 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

When selecting a potential CEO for your organization, will having studied at an Ivy League school make a difference to the performance they bring? According to this Idea, yes but only under certain conditions. Read on to find out more about whether it is worth the effort to specifically seek out elite or Ivy League-educated individuals for CEO positions.

Idea #370
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Black Eyed Peas during Walmart Shareholders' Meeting 2011 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Diversity in Teams: Tasks, Not Relationships Drive Performance

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Leadership & Change

Diversity is a catalyst to creativity and better decision-making, but is considered to have a downside in terms of relationships: there is less of a ‘bond’ or a connection among members of a diverse team. Researchers now claim that this supposed downside is actually the central mechanism that improves the performance of diverse teams; focusing less time on the relationship, team members — especially in pre-meeting preparation — focus more on the task at hand. 

Idea #322
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Martin Luther King, Jr. gives a speech during his MSU visit, 1965 (Source: Michigan State University archives)

Leaders' Charisma, Team Performance and Organizational Change

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

If a leader has charisma, he/she is said to be more likely to achieve better team performance. But what exactly is it that makes a leader seem charismatic, and why does this have an effect on performance outcomes? In this Idea, these questions are explored, and the behaviours that enhance the perception of charisma are outlined.

Idea #303
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World War II poster (detail) J. Howard Miller, 1918–2004

The Value of Front Line Managers

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Leadership & Change

Front-line bosses may be far more valuable for an organization than has been previously thought. According to research from Stanford Graduate School of Business, good as opposed to poor line-managers and supervisors can increase organizational productivity by as much as 11% — or the same amount as adding an additional worker to a nine-member team!

Idea #133
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Harnessing Individual and Organization Networks

Idea posted: February 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Leveraging employee networks can optimize individual and organizational performance and unearth hidden talent. Organizations teem with informal employee networks. Awareness of these living networks, and an understanding of how collaborations take place between top performers, can be a great, effective tool for overall success. To do so, managers must understand both the structure of talent networks within their company, and the categories their employees fall into. 

Idea #017
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Andy Murray, 2012 Olympics Gold Medalist (Source: Wikimedia)

Understanding High-Stakes High-Performers

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

How leaders perform when the stakes are very high or when they confront unusually high pressure depends on similar ‘critical abilities’ to the tennis players. Using data from the US Open professional tennis tournament, ‘critical abilities under pressure’ are examined to demonstrate that - what we might also refer to as ‘courage under fire’ - has a major impact on a player’s career success. Applied to the world of business this research helps us understand how leaders are likely to perform when the stakes are very high.

Idea #033
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