When cataloging leaders who live in my head, who accompany my thoughts, who taught me lessons as a child and guide my actions today, I realize there is something missing. (Click through to read more)


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Tell me if this sounds like a meeting you’ve attended:

Sally, the group’s leader, has a problem for the group to solve. She opens the floor for discussion and Bob and Jane immediately start talking. Each talks over the other for a few seconds until Jane relents. Bob then restarts his sentence, fully aware no one could hear what either was saying before. Bob starts to wind down which cues Jane and Barbara to start speaking over his final few words, to let it be known they are next to speak. Jane, having been thwarted by Bob already, will not be stopped again; this time she raises her voice letting Barbara know it’s not her turn. Jane’s point turns out to be completely unrelated to Bob’s. Once Jane finishes, Sally decides to step in to reiterate the problem, hoping people will see they are talking past each other. George takes the opportunity to thank Sally for refocusing the group as it was clear they were “having trouble communicating.” George proceeds to lay out his position, failing to respond to anything either Bob or Jane said. Everyone in the meeting wishes they had called in sick. (Click through to read more.) Read more >
We are all familiar with the dark side of working in groups. We may acknowledge the benefits of having a team, but the mental stamina it takes and the helpless feeling of losing time to never-ending aimless discussions (passive-aggressive arguments) really test our patience and ability to persevere. Often, if not most of the time, these problems are the result of poor group process (that is, how things get done, as opposed to what gets done), so if you hope to be a leader (or rather, an effective leader) it is your job to attend to the group’s process and spare your team the painful tedium of unproductive group meetings. In my last post, I introduced group process by telling the story of how I accidentally set up a group for failure. This post tells the story of how I began to set things right. (Click through to read more.) Read more >
Have you ever been in a meeting where no one seems to be listening to or understanding one another? What about a meeting where people interrupt one another and conflicts bubble up? How about a meeting where the discussion keeps going, endlessly, with no decisions in sight? Those meetings are the reasons people deride meetings in the first place – a meeting to set up another meeting, right? Well, these were the sorts of interactions my students were having regularly. These problems were the result of poor group process (that is, how things get done, as opposed to what gets done, which is called content). (Click through to read more.) Read more >
As I have said before, stories are an important leadership tool. In the world of management and leadership education, several stories are consistently used for teaching purposes. These stories help learners remember important points and, at times, seem like fables. Often the finer points are left out and the takeaways appear to be more moralistic than scientific. One story that is told over and again is that of the experiments at the Western Electric Company. While the moral that is usually taught through this fable is important, the conclusions that often fall by the wayside are even more interesting. (Click through to read more) Read more >
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