Weekly Business Insights from Top Ten Business Magazines | Week 300 | Leading & Managing Section | 1

Extractive summaries and key takeaways from the articles curated from TOP TEN BUSINESS MAGAZINES to promote informed business decision-making | Week 300 | June 9-15, 2023.

The  Leap to Leader

By Adam Bryant | Harvard Business Review Magazine | July–August 2023 Issue

Listen to the Extractive Summary of the Article

Succeeding as a top leader has little to do with your title and everything to do with your mindset. Based on his journal experience of interviews more than 500 CEOs and other executives for “Corner Office,” a feature he created at the New York Times, and his experience he wrote the book The Leap to Leader, from which this article is adapted, to share what he has learned.  The following guidelines can help ensure that you’re ready for the top slot.

  1. Be Clear About What You Stand For.  As you move into a top position, you’ll need a pitch that tackles the questions “Who are you as a leader?” and “What do you care most about?” You want to be predictable in the best sense of the word: someone whose values are unwavering and clear.  And be consistent: Show up in the same way in every interaction.
  2. Hone Your Decision-Making.  As you move up, the problems you encounter will become harder and more complicated, and you’ll be more accountable for your decisions. You’ll have to make more gut calls, because tougher problems often provide less data to draw on. The following guidelines can help: get all the input you can from your team, be brutally honest about the difficulties the organizations could face, beware of faulty “logic box” based on wrong assumptions (Ask yourself, “What would have to be true for you to be wrong?”), listen carefully—but take charge, and explain your thinking.
  3. Set the Bar for Your Team’s Performance.  This is one of the trickiest balancing acts of leadership between too high vs too low.   Leading means continually fine-tuning expectations.
  4. Master the Art of Compartmentalization.  Just as it’s your job to set the pace for your team, you need to set the pace for yourself. That’s hard when you’re faced with tight deadlines, people problems, crises, and the pressure to do more with less. Time to think can become a rarity unless you compartmentalize to some extent. The following tactics will help:  stay focused on what matters most, don’t get pulled down into others’ problems, delegate and ask for help, give yourself a break, and always ask what’s best for the organization.
  5. Build Self-Awareness.  Everything you say and do has an outsize impact. People are studying you closely and will project meaning onto every gesture and offhand comment. When Reuben Mark was the CEO of Colgate-Palmolive, he had his assistant keep track of which floors he visited so that no department would feel slighted. “The little things matter,” he says.  The following can help: keep your emotions in check, know your triggers, and uncover your blind spots.
  6. Craft Your Personal Narrative.  All of us, not just leaders, sometimes trip ourselves up through the stories we tell ourselves about our lives. People fall into several common traps in this regard. If you’re aware of them, you’ll be better equipped to mentor others—and you’ll become a better leader yourself. Consider the following: don’t let fear of failure stop you, choose the stories you tell yourself, and don’t be a victim

3 key takeaways from the article

  1. Most of the leaders, when selected for the top slot, realized “I had no clue how to be a CEO.” 
  2. Succeeding as a top leader has little to do with your title and everything to do with your mindset.  
  3. The following guidelines can help ensure that you’re ready:  Be Clear About What You Stand For, Hone Your Decision-Making, Continually Fine-tuning Expectations from Your Team, Master the Art of Compartmentalization,  Build Self-Awareness, and Craft Your Personal Narrative.

Full Article


Topics:  Leadership, Decision-Making, Team Management

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