Today we dispatched the April edition of our Leadership That Works Newsletter, a curated digest of the most fascinating leadership links to read right now, sent at the end of each month. In this month’s edition: how to leave a mark, 5 essential leadership questions, a primer for transitioning to a CEO job, and more. As always, we’re sharing the articles from our newsletter here in case you’re not subscribed to our mailing list. (If you like what you see, you can sign up to receive our newsletter here).
“A thick institution becomes part of a person’s identity and engages the whole person: head, hands, heart and soul.” writes David Brooks in this thoughtful New York Times post on how to build an organization, and a culture, that leaves a meaningful mark.
**Interested in making a bigger, more memorable impact with your leadership? Learn how, with Doug Conant as your personal guide, at our upcoming Boot Camp.
A 10-year study covered by The Washington Post reveals some interesting data about what traits are exhibited by CEOs who exceed stakeholder expectations. Often, the top performers aren’t bombastic extroverts, but rather thoughtful introverts, and they also distinguish themselves in key management areas such as adaptability, reliability, courage of their convictions, and more. Read the whole story here.
Competence, while essential, isn’t enough to guarantee leadership success. The differentiating factor in leadership, according to this Kellogg Insight post, is actually, “interpersonal warmth.” In fact, the best leaders always simultaneously exhibit the virtues of,”high competence and high warmth.” Find data and tips for cultivating warmth in the full story here.
**Want to learn more about balancing competence and warmth? Follow this post up with our post on why great leaders are tough-minded on standards and tender-hearted with people here.
As a business leader, you may mistakenly feel that it’s your job to have the best answers in every situation. But a crucial part of your role is inspiring, “curiosity, creativity, and deeper thinking” according to this Harvard Business Review post which argues that asking the right questions is a must-have leadership competency. Helpfully, they provide the five essential questions leaders can ask in a wide variety of circumstances to get better results. Our favorite, “How can I help?” is actually an explicit part of our own prescription for leadership that works.
When Googler Amber Yust became a manager for the first time, she had to unlearn a lot of counter-productive behaviors and learn new ones that were conducive to influencing others effectively. In this smart, practical Fast Company post she shares insights that can help new leaders pave their way. One key takeaway? “It’s OK to not know everything.”
Can functional leaders become CEOs? Even though less than 15% of CEOs in a data set analyzed by McKinsey were previously serving in a functional leadership role (like CFO, CTO, or Chief Counsel) — it is possible to make the jump. This McKinsey Quarterly post tells you how. One place to start? A candidate’s case is strongest when, “his or her expertise is core to a company’s critical business challenges.”
**Looking to hone your leadership skills to prepare for a big career move? Test your leadership competence with our checklist here.
Bill George has worked with, and studied, over 200 CEOs over the past decade and has found that those who succeed in achieving great feats of transformation and performance all have one indispensable trait: courage. In this post he profiles contemporary leaders who have exhibited great courage in their leadership, shares some stories of leaders who have fallen short — and extracts actionable insights leaders can apply as they work to build up their own fearlessness.
**Interested in reading more about courage? Follow this post up with our post on leading with courage.