Leadership Mistakes

Hubris makes smart people look dumb

September 13, 2010

Hubris—that false sense of superiority—is a funny thing. It can afflict even highly intelligent leaders who never know they have it because they are afflicted. But there’s hope. If you attune yourself to hear warnings from below—that is, if you adopt a degree of humility, the opposite of hubris—you may absorb enough warnings to avert disaster.

Ed Asner’s rookie leader mistake

April 12, 2010
When actor Ed Asner was swept into office as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) on the promise of helping merge with two sister unions, he made a rookie leader’s mistake that opponents of the merger used to scuttle the alliance. He failed to realize that when he spoke in public, he was presumed to be speaking as president of the guild, not for himself.

Customer service when hell freezes over

March 12, 2010

During a lull between monster snowstorms on the East Coast in February, with snowplow operators already in their ninth shift of 12 hours on, 12 hours off, we witnessed a breathtaking performance of how not to lead. It came during a delivery of snow shovels and ice melt to a neighborhood hardware store in Virginia:

Tips for talking like a leader

February 12, 2010

Without knowing it, you may be saying things that make you sound less leader-like. Here, courtesy of the editors at Reader’s Digest and Business Management Daily, are some tips that can help you come across better:

6 risk management mistakes

January 11, 2010

Here are six ways to guard against “black swan events,” those rare but catastrophic disasters that can take everything down with them, adapted from “The Six Mistakes Executives Make in Risk Management.”

Leadership lesson: Why lead when you can slink away?

January 11, 2010

Nobody said managing poor performers would be easy. So don’t manage them. Try these stranger-than-fiction methods of the truly cowardly. Example: Try “team-building.” Instead of working one-on-one with the source of trouble, drag the whole group into “team-building” in hopes that your poor performer will improve.

Why it’s hard to admit you’re off track

April 1, 2007
Leadership consultant Antony Bell tells this story to show the stubbornness of our assumptions: what psychologists and scientists call our “paradigms.”

These 6 career missteps await

June 1, 2006
Executive coach Debra Benton, author of How to Think Like a CEO, identifies these six common behaviors as career-killers.