Sunday, December 30, 2012

Leadership discoveries in 2012

During the years I've worked in international schools I have worked with some amazing school leaders. I am extremely grateful to those people who saw the potential in me and who encouraged me to move forward. At the same time I've also worked with some people who have clearly had the opposite effect on teachers, where school life was characterized by a heads down approach by teachers who put a lot of effort into flying under the radar and not doing anything to draw attention to themselves. Today I was reading an article in Psychology Today about your brain at work  which discussed some new discoveries in 2012 about leadership.  I found this fascinating and so decided to summarize the results below.
  • The reason that incompetent leaders keep moving on and getting rehired is because they are narcissistic and extroverted and therefore tend to do better in interviews.  However these leaders end up having a detrimental effect on the motivation of their employees which leads to a negative atmosphere in the workplace. 
  • Effective teams are characterized by "smart collective intelligence", and teams with more women on them have been found to be more intelligent as women are better at reading the social cues necessary for collaboration and effective decision making.
  • Transparency and "open book management" alleviates distractions, fears, threats and negativity.
  • Not feeling connected at work leads to feelings of insecurity at work.  We only thrive when we feel accepted at work.  It's more important for leaders to lead with their hearts than their heads. 
  • Contrary to popular belief, leaders often suffer less stress than those in lower positions as they have more autonomy and status. 
The article concludes in the following way:
In summary, we’ve learned a lot about leadership this year – with many findings being surprisingly counter-intuitive. Let’s stop hiring the most confident, start to share more information, increase the percentage of woman at the top, and remember that leadership really is personal. 

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