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How Competition Devolves Into Conflict Between Two People of Equal Status

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

While competition between individuals is a fact of life in the world of business — people vying for that newly opened promotion, for example — a recent study explores the conditions that can turn healthy competition into dangerous conflict.

Idea #736
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Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

Can Leaders Be Too Smart?

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

Can leaders be too smart? A recent study offers a surprising answer: up to a certain point, the smarter you are, the more effective you are as a leader. But being too smart can actually reduce how effective you are perceived— in large part because you lose touch with your subordinates. 

Idea #696
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Henry the Navigator leading Vasco da Gama, Magellan and others. Monument of the Discoveries, Lisbon, Portugal (Source: Wkimedia Commons)

What Does It Take to Develop Globally Competent Leaders?

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

Most companies recognize the importance of training top leaders in global competence skills, according to a new survey of more than 300 HR professionals. Many companies, however, are unsatisfied with their leaders’ and potential leaders’ skills in this area. A variety of methods can help build multicultural sensitivity and other global capabilities. 

Idea #541
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Shakespeare's Prince Hal (Henry iv part 2). The Gower Memorial, Stratford (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why First-Time Managers Need More Development Support

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

First-time managers, according to a recent survey, face a variety of leadership challenges, the most difficult being leading teams effectively, learning to be a better leader, and (mentioned by nearly 60% of respondents) being able to assert your authority over former peers while maintaining positive relationships. Organizations, focused on executive development, need to put more money into leadership development for first-time managers, especially in these three areas.

Idea #487
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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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Two short but sharp leaders: Bernie Ecclestone (1.59m) and Vladimir Putin (1.70m) (Courtesy: www.premier.gov.ru, Source:Wikimedia Commons)

Potential Leaders: Height Helps But So Does Being Smart

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

Studies show that leaders are more likely to be taller than average. Previous research revealed the perceptions of leadership qualities, such as persuasiveness, that are more easily assigned to taller men, which may explain their success. New research from the Stockholm School of Economics points to new reasons for the correlation. One revealing result: half of the tall leaders owe their managerial positions to their cognitive (intelligence) and non-cognitive (e.g. motivation or persistence) ability, indicating that a correlation between height and ability may explain the preponderance of

Idea #484
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Character Head N°9, by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, after 1770. Wien Museum Karlsplaz (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Facial Cues: Can We Judge Who Looks Like a Leader?

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

Previous studies have shown that facial characteristics can help elevate a person into leadership roles. New research shows that different facial characteristics fit different domains — for example, businesspeople are expected to look ‘competent,’ while sports leaders look more ‘masculine.’ The research also shows that most people don’t have much confidence in their leadership inferences based on facial cues. But those who are confident, including corporate board members, may unconsciously be placing too much weight on facial cues in selecting leaders.

Idea #479
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Tweedledee and Tweedledum, John Tenniel, an illustration for ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ by Lewis Carroll, 1871

Leadership: Is it in the Genes?

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: NUS Business School

Are leaders born or made? When looking at this question, some people believe that leadership can be taught and developed, while others believe it is essentially ‘hard wired’. This Idea, however, suggests that neither can be said to be accurate. Both genetics and the environment play an important role in leadership formation; the real question is, how much?

Idea #189
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