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Captivating Leadership Links to Read Right Now

by | Jun 30, 2021


Today we dispatched the June edition of our Leadership That Works Newslettera curated digest of the most captivating leadership links to read right now from around the web, sent at the end of each monthTopics covered in this month’s captivating leadership links to read right now: Build your resilience, reskill the workforce, be an ‘upstander,’ 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 here.

Don’t Follow Your Passion

New research from Harvard shows that the popular wisdom to “pursue your passion” might need a gentle reframe, says this coverage in Inc. Instead of focusing on what can bring you the most joy—i.e. passion—try chasing your “purpose,” which allows you to “align your work with your deepest values.” This purpose-centric approach builds resilience for the long haul, because it releases the expectation that your career will be all “happiness and sunshine,” and builds the fortitude necessary to push through challenges. When you are working in harmony with what matters to you most, it’s more likely you’ll persevere through the inevitable roadblocks on your career path.  Read the full post here.

**For more on this, explore our 6-step Blueprint process which helps you discover your purpose through patented self-discovery exercises and prompts for reflection.

Be an ‘Upstander’

How to support your colleagues when you witness them experiencing bias and/or prejudice? In this Fast Company excerpt from the new book, “Just Work,” the author advises you can stand up for your co-workers in a productive way by being an “upstander.” An “upstander” is someone in the workplace who “holds up a mirror,” inviting others to notice when bias rears its head. There are tools to make upstanding more effective—like using “I” statements to avoid putting people on the defensive—and you can explore the recommended tactics in the full post here.


Understanding ‘The Great Resignation’

In April 2021 alone, a record 4 million people quit their jobs, reports this NPR post about a continuing post-pandemic trend that many analysts have dubbed, “The Great Resignation.” This unprecedented mass exodus from the workforce shows a clear response to the pandemic that upended daily life worldwide: With more time to think about what matters most, to spend with family, and to pursue new skills, people decided it was now or never to take a leap towards a different career or life path. What are the insights for leaders? “People are leaving their jobs in search of more money, more flexibility, and more happiness,” so companies looking to attract the best talent can meet employee needs by highlighting their ability to offer those three attributes in particular. Learn more in the full post here.

**Follow this up with Boston Globe’s reporting on the COVID-19 ‘she-cession,’ and the imperative to make sure women are not left behind as the job market rebounds.

The ongoing shift to hybrid worka model that allows for a mix of remote and in-office work—requires that managers approach employees even more deftly than before, explains this INSEAD primer on psychological safety. Now, as leaders are asked to “trust employees to make the right choices for themselves and their families, while taking into account business imperatives,” leaders are tasked with broaching topics and initiating discussions that may have felt foreign before. To foster the necessary candor and inclusiveness to co-create the best path forward for everyone, there are five steps to nurture the necessary culture of psychological safety, and you can explore each practical to-do in the full post here.


The move to remote work over the past year and a half illustrates an interesting “paradox of time management,” according to this Harvard Business Review piece: Removing the daily commute demonstrably frees up time, and employees report feeling more productive—yet data shows that “the average workday has expanded by a full 30 minutes globally, the opposite of what we would expect with people using their time more productively.” The trap of time management is that it promises more space for efficiency, but that space gets filled up quickly; “Time management is like digging a hole at the beach: the bigger the hole, the more water that rushes in to fill it.” The key to retaining your capacity, your output, and your sanity is to find “strategies for eliminating volume instead of simply accommodating it.” The major imperative is to “simplify,” and there are three actionable suggestions for doing so in the full post here.

**For more on simplifying your time, explore our “CEO Manifesto for Better Meetings.

Serendipity Doesn’t Need to Happen Face-to-Face

The idea that serendipitous interactions in an office environment are the leading contributor to collaboration and innovation has long taken hold in corporate lore, but may now be finally debunked, suggests this fascinating coverage in The New York Times. Researchers studying the issue have found “no evidence that working in person is essential for creativity and collaboration,” and mandatory in-office attendance may even impede innovation because unplanned interactions in that context tend to favor an “insider group.” The good news is that digital tools can foster more inclusive virtual teamwork—even facilitating impromptu gatherings. And offices are being re-imagined as places “people go to every so often,” designed to facilitate better meetings and increased socializing—intermittently—without requiring people to convene together every day. Explore the full analysis in the complete article here.


Reskill the Workforce for the Future

Retired CEO of Guardian Insurance, Deanna Mulligan, makes the business case for reskilling workers in this insightful Deloitte + Wall Street Journal interview. As digital disruption reshapes business, Mulligan says the C-Suite should champion initiatives that prepare employees for the demands of the future—creating opportunities for learning and growth that keep people competitive and make them feel valued. One study shows that “companies that invested more than their competitors in employee learning and development generated three times higher profit growth over several years.” And helping existing employees “learn new skills and grow in their careers” creates a virtuous circle that can lead to “better employee engagement, higher productivity, and more innovation.” Learn more in the full post here.

**For more on this, read our post from the archives on creating a learning culture in your organization.

Gratitude Builds Resilience

“While the pandemic has been a time marked by stress, grief and hardship for many Americans, some have also experienced a surprising outcome: a sense of resilience,” reports this Washington Post piece. For some, the unforeseen challenges of navigating a “disorienting new world,” caused a helpful shift in perspective that catalyzed new decisions and “healthy habits that could shape their lives for the better.” One expert refers to this as “post-traumatic growth,” which can lead to deeper appreciation for life and a “greater sense of personal strength.” If you didn’t personally feel a COVID-inspired surge in resilience, never fear, one way to develop hardiness on your own is to reflect through an appreciative frame: “practicing gratitude—pausing to think about or write about what you’re thankful for—is one of the simplest and most effective skills that contribute to an overall sense of well-being and can help build resilience.” For more tips, read the full post here.

**To further develop your gratitude muscle, download your free excerpt of The Blueprint, a book which contains countless prompts for thoughtful reflection including a values exercise, envisioning exercise, and more.

Insights & Resources from ConantLeadership


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Brené Brown with Doug Conant on Finding & Telling Your Leadership Story


Last month on her Dare to Lead podcast, Brené Brown talked with ConantLeadership Founder Doug Conant about the principles and practices in his new book co-authored with Amy Federman, The Blueprint.

Listen: https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-with-doug-conant-on-finding-telling-your-leadership-story/


Leadership Assessment


Take our FREE leadership competence quiz and learn how you stack up on the ‘3Qs’—Leadership FQ (Functional Intelligence); Leadership IQ (Intellectual Intelligence); and Leadership EQ (Emotional Intelligence).

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‘Leadership That Works’ Requires ‘Higher Ambition’

ConantLeadership Founder, Doug Conant, writes in this new ConantLeadership post that leaders must help create high-performing, human-centered workplaces that contribute to a more equitable society. This is a requirement of practicing “leadership that works” today—and meeting this urgent need requires a “higher ambition.”


The Only Way Out Is in: Bill George & Doug Conant on Leading Authentically

In this new ConantLeadership post, two revered leadership luminaries and former Fortune 500 CEOs offer expert tips for leading more authentically and finding ‘true north’ in times of tumult and crisis.


How to Build Trust Post-Pandemic

This recent 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.


May’s Leadership That Works Newsletter

In last month’s newsletter: Forecasting the future, cutting out ‘noise,’ going deeper with D&I, and more.



Level Up Your Leadership at the BLUEPRINT Boot Camp


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This engaging and immersive leadership development experience is centered around a structured 6-step process for reflection and learning that empowers you to lead like only you can.

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