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Harvard Business Review: Today’s Leaders Need Vulnerability, Not Bravado

Harvard Business Review: Today’s Leaders Need Vulnerability, Not Bravado

Part of WiFi (What I Find Interesting) Wednesday.


Harvard Business Review: Today’s Leaders Need Vulnerability, Not Bravado

Read Today’s Leaders Need Vulnerability, Not Bravado by Amy C. Edmondson and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, from Harvard Business Review, October 19, 2020.

I have written about the need to lean into vulnerability and face the real fears that impact us. Authors Amy Edmonson and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic share more insights into how this behavior impacts leaders around us. In order to be agile, we need to know how to address where we are failing and resist the urge to hide these truths from those we work with.

In a complex and uncertain world that demands constant learning and agility, the most apt and adaptable leaders are those who are aware of their limitations, have the necessary humility to grow their own and others’ potential, and are courageous and curious enough to create sincere and open connections with others. They build inclusive team climates with psychological safety that foster constructive criticism and dissent.

Above all, they embrace truth: They are more interested in understanding reality than in being right and are not afraid to accept that they were wrong. This allows them to welcome criticism — not because they like it any more than the rest of us, but because they know it’s necessary in order to make progress. Altogether, this is a very different type than the macho-style leader who is rarely right yet seldom in doubt.

by Amy C. Edmondson and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, from Harvard Business Review, October 19, 2020.

The authors Edmonson and Chamorro-Premuzic give five tips on how to lead with more vulnerability.

  • Start by telling the truth. Share your candid perspective with others, what you know, and what you don’t know.
  • Ask for help. Leadership is not heroic. It is not about the actual person in charge; rather, it is unlocking the forces that bring people together as a team.
  • Go outside your comfort zone. One of the reasons so many people fail to develop into highly effective leaders is that they stagnate, operating on autopilot, self-perpetuating their habits, and repeating what has worked in the past. This is why playing to your own strengths can be a recipe for disaster: Unless you work on your defects, you won’t develop new skills.
  • When you make a mistake, admit it and apologize. When you do so, no matter how disappointed people are, they will appreciate your honesty and trust you more than if you lie to them.
  • Engage others in your journey of self-improvement. Over our coaching and consulting careers, we have seen a few leaders who were so serious about their personal development plan that they openly shared their feedback (360s, performance reviews, upward feedback, etc.) with their teams. “Look, I am not very good at giving feedback and developing others’ performance,” one of them said to their team. “So from now on I am committing to communicating more, mentoring others, and helping my team members advance their careers, in the hope that this will improve my leadership skills.”

Continue reading Today’s Leaders Need Vulnerability, Not Bravado by Amy C. Edmondson and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, from Harvard Business Review, October 19, 2020.


Inside Higher Ed: The Black Experience in Higher Education

Follow The Black Experience in Higher Education series on Inside Higher Ed

I believe that in order to create real change for our Black faculty, staff, and students, we need to listen to their stories and take them more seriously. Rather than listen with an anticipated response, we should listen and move in the ways that are recommended. Inside Higher Ed has a seven-part series that chronicles the Black experience in higher education, with the first two entries below:

Below, Colleen Flaherty in The Souls of Black Professors describes the feelings that many Black scholars shared in response to the racial wakenings happening across the country and their institution’s response:

In interviews with Inside Higher Ed over the past several months, Black scholars, including some who study race, expressed dissatisfaction with diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that Black people often are expected to lead — without compensation, on top of their already disproportionate duties mentoring students of color — and often without their recommendations being adopted.

Scholars said they are sick of institutions hiring Black faculty members to reach diversity goals and then ignoring issues of racial climate and social isolation when these professors arrive. And they’re more than tired of the casual and structural anti-Blackness reflected in everyday conversations, resource and funding allocations, personnel decisions, and more.

From The Souls of Black Professors, by Colleen Flaherty, October 21, 2020

I plan to follow the series in its entirety and will share excerpts throughout the next few weeks.

Follow The Black Experience in Higher Education series on Inside Higher Ed


HigherEdJobs.com: Chief Diversity Officers: Strategies for Success in the Current Moment

Read Chief Diversity Officers: Strategies for Success in the Current Moment by Charlene Aguilar, from HigherEdJobs.com, October 15, 2020.

In response to the series from Inside Higher Ed, I wanted to see what chief diversity officers offered as ways to address change within higher education from senior leadership. The author Charlene Aguilar, a consultant in the Education Practice and Not-for-Profit Practice at WittKieffer, addressed four topics that chief diversity officers believe any campus can integrate real change around diversity and inclusion on their campuses.

  • A seat at the leadership table and a voice that is valued and respected are essential, as is knowing what inclusion initiatives the president and provost will support.
  • Diversity and inclusion strategy needs to be integrated into the university’s stated goals, with clear objectives, metrics, and accountability.
  • It is important to balance real-time responses to crises as they emerge while also being strategic and visionary for the long term.
  • A lack of resources can be the greatest challenge.

As your campuses addresses its diversity and inclusion efforts, with or without a chief diversity officer, it should consider these four points. Ask yourself, “Who is at the table and what power and authority do they have? If diversity and inclusion is not a stated goal, how do we influence the board to adopt it? In what ways is the campus poised to address the next or new issue around diversity or inclusion? And finally, if diversity is a stated goal, how much of our the budget goes toward achieving this goal?”

We have so much work to do around this area, I hope these reflections from chief diversity officers give guidance and necessary feedback to keep moving forward toward justice.

Continue reading Chief Diversity Officers: Strategies for Success in the Current Moment by Charlene Aguilar, from HigherEdJobs.com, October 15, 2020.


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