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Executive Management and Leadership

You’ve seen these types in the workplace, right? Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey) from the movie Horrible Bosses. Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver) in the film Working Girl. Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) from the movie Wall Street. Some executives make Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole) from Office Space and Michael Scott (Steve Carell) from The Office look like a blessing. Examples from movie and television aside, we have all witnessed some form of destructive leadership. How do you identify early warning signs? And is there a remedy?

The demands of the quarterly cycle of business push leaders to operate in the here and now of the short term. However, innovation demands being able to take a long-term view. Innovators have to be able to see beyond the current horizon to innovate. We need to have the resilience to act beyond immediate gratification to create new products, services and markets.

Although I research and teach about emotions, I also have clients, colleagues, and a family (including two cats, two dogs a husband, and an almost four-year-old), so I can very well understand why we all struggle sometimes. This afternoon, my son has been in the house for 15 minutes, has spilled water all over the kitchen floor and then walked in it with his dirty feet from outside, screamed (happily) about 100 times (or so it seems) while playing with one of the dogs, whined about having his nails cut and has been singing in between it all. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful to be able to work from home some of the time and have him come by for a hug once in a while and to just be here in the midst of the craziness of life.

What are the core leadership behaviors that help you become a more effective leader? Which engine drives these behaviors? And, what are effective leadership development practices? To answer these questions, we explore a progressive approach to leadership development, where people and organizational development are seen as two sides of the same coin, offering a solid framework for flexible development programs and improved leadership effectiveness.
 

The Essence of Leadership

Walmart may not have been the first company whose pricing policies forced suppliers to send jobs overseas, but it was, for years, the one with the highest public profile. Yet, like so many things involving marketplace dynamics, the issues that attracted the most attention had to do with the wages and benefits that Walmart offered employees. It’s a subject that makes good press but, ultimately, bad economics. By contrast, with the impact of offshoring, though, it’s almost insignificant.
 

The Good

The manner in which you join the management team of a new organization results in you being branded. How you’re initially perceived at your organization can have material implications to your short and long term success. A mind set-based metaphoric example could be the first time you taste a new fruit: aroma, texture, size, shape, flavour, and overall desire for further purchase represents the subjectivity of being branded. One either likes or dislikes the fruit based upon these subjective measurements.

Succession planning. We think about it all the time, right? No? Never? Unfortunately, that’s the reality in many businesses – particularly smaller or family-owned companies.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), “Succession planning is a means for an organization to ensure its continued effective performance through leadership continuity. For an organization to plan for the replacement of key leaders, potential leaders must first be identified and prepared to take on those roles.”

BlueSteps recently hosted an #ExecCareer Chat on the topic of executive-level productivity, featuring Andrew Kris, from Borderless, and Chris Swan, from TRANSEARCH.

Some of the questions asked included:

Meetings - ah, that bête noire of the corporate world! How many of us fret when called for meetings? Along with email, most executives view meetings as one of the most unproductive aspects of day-to-day life of the corporate world. Based on several years of reading on the topic and empirical experience of figuring out the best way of conducting meetings, here are a few tips to make them productive:

I’ve been lucky enough in my career to have had the opportunity to interact with Fortune 100 CEOs like Steve Ballmer, Sam Palmisano, Hank Greenberg, “Sy” Sternberg and others. I cannot offer a clear declarative as to how they became some of the top CEOs in the world. However, I do believe that I can offer some observed, shared traits of these top executives and others like them.