Leadership Mistakes

Do staffers welcome your questions?

September 20, 2014

When a technology manager at Goldman Sachs moved to HR, questioning her staff was suddenly labeled as “interrogating.” Why?

Don’t fall for your own story

August 15, 2014
Learn from BP’s mistakes not to fall for your own advertising.

Too much hype doomed Wyeth CEO

July 31, 2014

In 2007, Bob Essner felt justifiably triumphant. He had engineered a successful turnaround of Wyeth, the pharmaceutical giant, after six years of reinventing the company. But even after in­­creas­­ing revenue by 30%—to $20.4 billion—Essner suddenly lost his job. What went wrong?

Combine hard and soft data

July 24, 2014
We tend to admire leaders who proclaim, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” But what if that’s not necessarily true?

Bad bosses leave mark on billionaire

June 26, 2014
After graduating college, Mark Cuban got a job at Mellon Bank. His youthful energy led him to think like an entrepreneur—and that landed him in trouble with higher-ups …

A bully boss bitten by a runaway ego

June 24, 2014
After co-founding an investment firm in 1971 and growing it into a $2 trillion giant, Bill Gross gained immense pride in his ability. But the co-chief investment officer of Pimco let his head get too big.

How Avon’s CEO got ding-donged

June 6, 2014
Avon executive Deborrah Himsel did not anticipate the flameout of her CEO, corporate superstar Andrea Jung. “If anyone seemed immune to failure, it was she,” Himsel says. Yet, multiple challenges at Avon—new business models, global strategies and technology—took Jung down.

A lesson in how power can corrupt

May 29, 2014
Frank Lloyd Wright did not endear himself to his team. In the half-century since his death, many experts have reflected on his inability to lead. The lesson? As you gain authority, work harder than ever to support others’ success.

Craig Newmark’s best mistake

May 21, 2014
Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, calls impatience his “greatest fault,” and it posed particular problems for him early in his career. As an employee of IBM, he learned a lesson in tact that he would never forget.

CEO’s lashing out at critics a no-go

May 19, 2014
If you’re going to defend yourself and your organization against carping ­­critics, build a strong case. Don’t just whine and complain.