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The Best Leadership Links to Read Right Now

by | Apr 30, 2021

Today we dispatched the April 2021 edition of our Leadership That Works Newslettera curated digest of the best leadership links to read right now from around the web, sent at the end of each monthTopics covered in this month’s best leadership links to read right now: The agony of email, beg to differ, the open office is dead, and more.  As alwayswe’re sharing the articles from our newsletter here in case you’re not subscribed to our mailing list. If you find these links enriching, you can sign up to receive our newsletter right at the bottom of this page.

The Power of Small Steps

“Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action,” writes habits expert James Clear in this smart post on the aggregation of marginal gains. But, he continues, “the difference a tiny improvement can make over time is astounding”; for example, “if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.” Read the full post here.


**For more on small steps, explore our 6-step BLUEPRINT process, an iterative and incremental roadmap for transforming your leadership and your life.


No Purpose? Prepare to Lose Talent

“Employees expect their jobs to bring a significant sense of purpose to their lives,” explains this comprehensive McKinsey article on helping employees fulfill their purpose at work. Due to the upheaval of COVID-19, people in the workforce everywhere are reevaluating their careers and what matters most to them—and will now, more than ever, expect their organization to help them meet their need for purpose. Employers need to adapt quickly—or lose the best talent to the companies that are successfully fulfilling this mandate—and the full post has helpful tips for taking action.

Beg to Differ

Leaders are tasked with making decisions that hinge on uncertainties daily; they might not always make a judgment that is precisely correct, but ideally they can get as close as possible to the smartest path forward. The best way to sharpen and improve everyday decision-making? According to this interesting article in The Atlantic, the key is in listening to and/or considering opposing views: “The more diverse and multi-voiced we can make our inner dialogue, the better our thinking will be. The route to wisdom is to internalize and integrate a rich variety of contrasting viewpoints.” Learn more about harnessing the power of differing ideas in the full post here.

**For more on leading with listening, explore our post on the topic.


The Open Office Is Dead

The architects who first championed and engineered the (nearly ubiquitous in recent years) open office floor plan are now dramatically rethinking what offices should look like for optimal well-being and productivity in the wake of COVID-19and on the heels of a backlash against the downsides to open offices like noise and lack of privacy. “A homogenous solution doesn’t address the variety, the wide range of needs that each employee has,” says one architect in this fascinating Fast Company coverage of the coming changes to workplaces. If and when employees do return to the office, expect to see a world of work re-made in the image of a post-pandemic realityreplete with plazas, libraries, and “avenues” designed to facilitate “serendipitous interactions.” Learn more in the full post here.


The secret to getting more women in leadership roles? “Men” is the (perhaps surprising) answer according to this sharp book excerpt in Newsweek which explains that men’s voices are critical in the fight for equality “because of, not in spite of, their gender.” Men’s participation is so important because, “when men speak up against gender disparities or gender discrimination, they not only become visible as allies who can be counted on to support industry or company initiatives to advance parity, they also foster awareness and acceptance about gender inequity as a shared problem, not a special interest.” Learn more in the full post here.

**For more on this, read the authors’ longform piece on closing the gender gap in Harvard Business Review.


That Malaise You’re Feeling Is Called ‘Languishing’

As the pandemic has dragged on, in many cases depleting our energy and dampening our joy—even with the bright light of the world re-opening and people getting vaccinated in our midst—many have sought to find shared language for our collective experience as Adam Grant has done in this validating New York Times piece about the phenomenon called “languishing.” The word describes feeling a bit “joyless and aimless,” capturing “a sense of stagnation and emptiness,” and exists in the middle of the spectrum between the peak of well-being, which is “flourishing,” and the valley of ill-being, which is “depression.” Learn more about this very 2021 state of being and learn strategies for coping with and curing it in the full post.

The Agony of E-Mail

“Email is making us miserable,” is the blunt declaration in this engaging book excerpt published in The New Yorker, which continues: “In an attempt to work more effectively, we’ve accidentally deployed an inhumane way to collaborate.” The problem lies in a communication tool that facilitates “constant, improvised messaging,” that keeps the human brain in a prolonged state of “low-grade anxiety,” and creates a “tortuous cycle that increases the amount of work on our plate while simultaneously thwarting, through constant distraction, our ability to accomplish it effectively.” Learn more and read tips for improving a work culture built on email in the full post here.

Insights & Resources from ConantLeadership

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How to Build Trust Post-Pandemic

This new ConantLeadership post compiles advice from three top leadership experts for building and strengthening trust with your stakeholders in a post-pandemic world—including telling your people how much you care, and then showing it tangibly and repeatedly.


CEOs Must Find Their Courage

“True leadership competence is contingent upon your ability to develop courage,” writes Doug Conant in this Chief Executive excerpt from The Blueprint that challenges leaders to find their strength and bravely answer the unique call of leadership in 2021 and beyond.


March’s Leadership That Works Newsletter

In last month’s newsletter: The workplace of the future, beat burnout, make better decisions, and more.  

Level Up Your Leadership at the BLUEPRINT Boot Camp

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(Cover photo by Diego PH on Unsplash)

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