Best of CTOdaily 2018 — Leadership

What you'll find below are some of the best articles on leadership that were shared in the CTOdaily newsletter in 2018. 

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Self-awareness can help leaders more than an MBA can - Harvard Business Review

Know thyself. This age-old maxim is increasingly being touted as a necessary condition for sustainable success by entrepreneurs and leaders alike, and research is starting to back this up. Bill George, a professor of leadership at Harvard Business School says that "Self-awareness is the skill of being aware of our thoughts, emotions, and values from moment to moment. Through self-awareness, we can lead ourselves with authenticity and integrity — and in turn, better lead others and our organizations." A survey of 1,000 leaders in more than 800 companies in over 100 countries, found that leaders at the highest levels tend to have better self-awareness than leaders lower in the hierarchy. Here are 3 ways you can improve your self-awareness:

1. Adopt a daily mindfulness practice "10 minutes of daily mindfulness training enhanced the participating leaders’ self-awareness up to 35%."

2. Take regular breaks

3. Pay real attention to what others say

Why people really quit their jobs - Harvard Business Review

Understanding the factors that drive people away from their jobs and what keeps them around is incredibly important, especially when you consider how expensive the hiring process can be. The authors of this piece found that people tend to quit because: their job isn't enjoyable, their strengths aren't being used, and they don't feel like they're growing in their careers. Here's a great quote from the article: "If you want to keep your people — especially your stars — it’s time to pay more attention to how you design their work. Most companies design jobs and then slot people into them. Our best managers sometimes do the opposite: When they find talented people, they’re open to creating jobs around them."

Learning how to Learn - Coursera 

The most popular online course of all time, 'Learning how to Learn' gives you the understanding of how the learning process works and how you can improve the rate at which you learn things. Given we live in a world that's rapidly changing, the ability for you to learn and adapt could arguable be your most important asset.

Why People Lose Motivation — and What Managers Can Do to Help- Harvard Business Review

We are wired to explore, experiment and learn. These needs have to translate into the way we work, or we risk losing motivation and stagnating. The problem is, many organisations are set up in ways that prevent employees from engaging in these sorts of activities. This is detrimental to not only morale, but to the bottom line as well. "Employees want to be valued for the unique skills and perspectives they bring to the table, and the more you can re-enforce this, and remind them of their role in the company at large, the better." Check out ways to improve motivation in the article linked above.

Why you need an untouchable day every week - Harvard Business Review

Many professionals create most of their value when engaged in "deep work," which is "focusing without distraction on a cognitively demanding task." The constant connectivity that our devices provide, while it is without a doubt a boon, can also lead to unending distractions making you feel as though you're constantly on the defensive. One solution outlined in the piece linked above is creating "Untouchable days" — days where "you're literally 100% unreachable in any way…by anyone." This might sound a tad extreme, but scheduling "untouchable time" in your calendar is a sure-fire way of getting what you really need to do, done. If you'd like more justification for why you should do this, check out Cal Newport's book Deep Work — it's a must read.

Research Shows a Simple Way to Increase Your Engagement at Work - Harvard Business Review

The authors of this piece are researchers who investigated how employees can take back more control over their work engagement through better self-management. They investigated "two types of daily planning and how they influence employee engagement in dynamic work environments. The first type is commonly known as time-management planning, which involves making to-do lists, prioritizing and scheduling tasks, and ultimately managing one’s time. The second type of planning is referred to as 'contingent planning,' in which people consider the possible disruptions or interruptions they may face in their work day and devise a plan to address them if they occur." They found that employees’ use of time-management planning had strong positive effects on the employees' daily engagement and daily productivity.

To Retain New Hires, Make Sure You Meet with Them in Their First Week - Harvard Business Review

Hiring and retaining employees means big $$. As it turns out, first impressions are really quite important when it comes to retaining new hires. The authors of this piece found that "it’s critical for a new employee to have a one-on-one meeting with their manager during their first week. Those who did saw early growth in three key areas:" They had a "12% larger internal network and double network centrality (the influence that people in an employee’s network have) within 90 days. This is important because employees who grow their internal network feel that they belong and may stay at the company longer. " They had higher quality meetings They spend nearly three times as much time collaborating with their team as those who did not have a one-on-one. So if you've got someone new starting, one of the best things you could do is just spend some time with them. Who would have thought...

How CEOs manage time - Harvard Business Review

Running an organisation is tough. Managing dozens, hundreds or thousands of people is no small task. The scope of necessary managerial work is vast -- spanning multiple organisational levels, business units and stakeholders. While CEOs have plenty of resources at their disposal to manage the complexities organisational management, it's how they choose to spend their time that largely dictates success. Time is a CEO's most valuable resource. A "CEO’s schedule (indeed, any leader’s schedule) is a manifestation of how the leader leads and sends powerful messages to the rest of the organization." Up until recently, data on how CEOs actually spend their time has been hard to come by. The authors of this piece tracked the time allocation of 27 CEOs — two women and 25 men — for 3 months. Here's some of what they found:

  • They make time for themselves (exercise, downtime, family time)
  • They work face to face
  • They are agenda driven
  • They rely heavily on direct reports
  • They're always in meetings

The list goes on. Highly recommend checking out this data-filled piece!

Boost Your Emotional Intelligence with These 3 Questions - Harvard Business Review 

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. It's also a very good predictor of success. In the time they've spent consulting on emotional intelligence, the authors of this piece (one of whom is a world-leader in EI) recommend considering "areas for improvement others have identified along with the goals you want to achieve — and then to actively build habits in those areas rather than simply relying on understanding them conceptually." They've recommended asking these three questions to help orient your emotional intelligence building efforts:

1. What are the differences between how you see yourself and how others see you? - Try and get a feel for how your self-perception (how you see yourself) differs from your reputation (how others see you).

2. What matters to you? - Consider what your goals are. How do you want to get better at what you do now or where you want to get to in the future?

3. What changes do you need to make to achieve these goals? - "Once you’ve determined which EI skills you want to focus on, identify specific actions that you’ll take."


Tags: CTOdaily, Leadership


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