Every month, Leadership Issues reviews highlights/trends from features/articles on the subject of leadership appearing in major global newspapers. Today we are reviewing the month of July.
The top three themes for July (in order) appearing in the nationals included:
Leadership and workplace diversity
The practice and style of leadership
Leadership engagement topped the leadership board for the second consecutive month. This theme relates to the role of leadership in creating engaging environments. This can be achieved structurally through such things as open plan office environments and fair appraisal systems or through socialisation by practising or role modelling engaging behaviours. The category leadership and the workplace groups together gender, race, background, sexual orientation and generational difference (including the hot topic of ‘managing the millennials’). There were less articles published this month on women in the workplace which has been a leading issue in former months but the discussion of generational diversity continues to spark interest. The practice and style of leadership appears for the first time on the leadership board this month. This category details how we enact leadership. A category that didn’t make it to the leader board but performed well was leadership and innovation; two notable absentees were Leadership Development and succession (which has been in the top four since February 2015) and Leadership qualities, skills and competences (which has been in the top four since January 2015).
8 articles stood out this month that are worth profiling.
Half of the selected articles (four in total) dealt in different ways with how leaders can effectively engage their employees. The Washington Post ran a data-rich article, Research says your bad boss may be making you sad, lazy and fat by Ana Swanson, on the impact of dysfunctional leaders. Polls indicate that between 13 and 36 percent of U.S. workers report having had a dysfunctional manager, and 98 percent have reported experiencing uncivil behaviour at work. Such dysfunctional behaviour, however slight, can disengage employees showing that respect and civility are important characteristics for leaders to have. The three remaining articles on engagement promote ways leaders can engage more effectively. Jim Whitehurst, author and CEO of software firm Red Hat Inc., published a piece in the Boston Globe entitled Being a leader means admitting mistakes where he reveals from his own experience how demonstrating vulnerability and owning up to mistakes fosters greater engagement among associates by building accountability, credibility and trust. Arinya Talerngsri writing in The Bangkok Press reminds us in an article entitled The agile leader: leading through uncertainty that we live in uncertain times where change and innovation is commonplace and that the role of the leader is to communicate and engage with associates to address their fears. This article has strong ties with both the competences and the practice and style of leadership because it champions improvisation as a key tool in building leadership agility. Rica Bhattacharyya in a creatively entitled article New Kids on the Blog (Times of India) gives an account of how one business leader Vivek Gambhir, managing director, Godrej Consumer Products raised employee engagement through writing a weekly blog.
Lavanya Ramanathan writing in the Washington Post comes up with an intriguing title Facebook, a company dominated by white guys, wants to tell other companies how to diversify, where the issue of poor workplace diversity in Silicon Valley is profiled backed by strong statistical data. The article quotes from Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, who puts a strong case for workplace diversity: “To reflect the diversity of the 1.4 billion people using our products, we need to have people with different backgrounds, races, genders and points of view working at Facebook. Diverse teams have better results, so this is not only the right thing to do – it’s also good for our business.” The challenge for Facebook and any organisation is to convert this from words to acts, from aspiration to reality. A good article on innovation this month featured in Seattle PI. Jill Schiefelbein explores in 3 Phrases That Kill Intrapreneurship how innovation and entrepreneurial thinking among employees resonates with the new generations’ needs and mindset and gives competitive edge in today’s global economy but that leaders should watch their choice of words when engaging with employees avoiding the three phrases that kill intraoreneurship – “stick to your job”, “we don’t have the resources” and “that’s not the way we do things here.” Finally, a good article in July on leadership development and succession featured in The Washington Post by the celebrated author Noel Tichy. The problem with outsider CEOs focuses on the growing trend of recruiting senior leaders from outside and the sometimes devastating effect this has on the morale of homegrown leaders and the business performance of the organisation. Tichy emphasizes the importance of growing and developing internal talent and having a strong leadership bench.
Click here for a full list of titles and sources from the July archive and remember to check the leadership in the news section everyday where the latest articles on leadership are posted.