7 Views on Leadership to Guide You in the New Year

December 10, 2018

Business leadership

AMA’s discussions with thought leaders underscore the responsibilities of business leadership, which demands both strategic thinking capabilities and strong people skills. Here’s a sampling of advice from AMA’s 2018 Edgewise podcasts to provide momentum for leaders in the coming year:

Ash Seddeek on scheduling strategic thinking time
Co-founder of the Executive Greatness Institute

“We talk [to new leaders] about the idea of having a ‘meeting with myself.’… Have it on the calendar on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis, on a quarterly basis, because that’s when that time for reflection is going to pay a lot of dividends. So that meeting with yourself is really about you being strategic every single week, every single day, and then throughout the year as well by making sure you take the time to think about ‘What are we working on, and how does what we’re working on really align with what we are trying to achieve as an organization and where we need to go?’”

Cal Turner Jr. on the importance of a mission statement
Former CEO of Dollar General

“Without a mission statement, there is no soul. There is no purpose that unites everyone. A mission is something that inspires you every day you get up, and gives you that sense of purpose. And in the corporate world today, I consider it to be even more important than back in the day when Dollar General was pursuing one.”

Lior Arussy on leading a transformation
CEO and president of Strativity

“The biggest transformations that are taking place today, you’re starting with a passion. You’re starting with a core cause. You know directionally speaking where you want to go, but you’re going to have to pivot and change a lot of times, and get used to it. If you’re going to wait until your plan is going to be fully documented and validated by three different organizations, it’s too late.

“Learn to have the courage to go and start. You’re going to make mistakes in the process, but that’s how big transformation is taking place. People who leave legacies, people who leave an impact on their organizations, are those who are having the courage to work with uncertainty, to work without having all the answers, because that’s what transformation is all about.”

Jacqueline Carter on mindfulness, selflessness, and compassion
Partner and North American director of Potential Project

“I think that human beings do want to be led by people that are present with them, that care about them, and that have their interests at heart. But I do think that we are seeing a moment in time where these qualities are becoming more important, and I think one of the reasons is that this idea of the ‘heroic leader’—it’s just impossible right now. There’s too much change. There’s too much disruption for any one individual to be able to know all, see all, have all the answers.”

Fred Kofman on inspiring and engaging people
Advisor, leadership development at Google

“I think you cannot be a good manager if you are not also a good leader. I don’t think those are two separate things….

“So as a manager, you want to get what cannot be bought. You want the effort that you cannot coerce, you cannot extract, you cannot control. You want people’s best judgment. You want their creativity. You want their commitment. You want them to engage because they want to, not because you are paying them. That doesn’t mean you don’t pay them, but it’s just not enough. I think to be a good manager, you have to include this leadership component where you inspire people and you engage their internal commitment, not just the external controls.”

Donna Hicks on modeling behaviors of dignity
Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University

“Leaders are scrutinized every single step of the way…. We’re always taking our cues from the behavior of our leaders. And those implicit norms, especially if they’re dignity violating, get absorbed by people. They think it’s OK. These trickle-down indignities really do create the toxicity and the culture…. One of the things that has to happen is that you have to embody these dignity skills…. The tone gets set by people watching what you’re doing. If you are honoring people’s dignity, if you’re making yourself vulnerable and taking responsibility for the mistakes you’ve made, then people are freed up to do exactly the same thing.”

Drew Dudley on the accessibility of leadership
Founder of Day One Leadership

“There’s a wedge that gets built very early on between the concept of ‘leader’ and who we are. And so, we start to devalue the leadership that we do demonstrate every day because we don’t see it as leadership. Moments of impact, of class, of empowerment, of kindness and generosity—we see them as little things, and we dismiss them. When we ignore the fact that what those are, are actions of leadership, actions of leadership we’re all capable of…what we’re effectively doing is we’re ignoring the vast majority of the leadership on the planet. We create a situation where most of the people who are leaders don’t see themselves as such.”


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