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Work of Leaders supplemental readings

Work of Leaders supplemental readings

Before assigning the Everything DiSC Work of Leaders you might want to try this assignment. Have participants read through this collection of leadership quotes. Ask them to pick one or two that reflect their own leadership strengths. After they’ve reviewed their profiles, ask participants to choose another quote that reflects what they want to work on in the next year.

Use the readings below to provide additional resources for some of the areas your leaders want to work on. Do they agree with the articles? Can they come up with examples from their own lives to support or contradict the position the authors take? Are these articles really about leadership or are they about management?

Editor’s note: This post is periodically updated. Leave your suggestions for updates in the comments.

Introduction to Work of Leaders Concepts

4 Traits of Great Leaders, Inc., January 2012
“To achieve your greatness, you must aspire, plan, inspire, and execute.”

10 Things Extraordinary Bosses Give Employees, Inc. August 2013
“Employees will only care about your business after you first show you care about them. One of the best ways is to show that while you certainly have hopes for your company’s future, you also have hopes for your employees’ futures.”

Rometty on Vision


Introduction to Vision

9 Companies With Truly Inspiring Mission Statements, Hubspot, August 2014
“Often, the reason we stay loyal to brand

s is because of their set of values. The best ones strive to combine physical, emotional, and logical elements into one exceptional customer — and employee — experience.”

The Flip Manifesto, Daniel Pink, February 2012
“Establish a Department of Why.”

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action, TED Talks VIDEO, posted May 2010
“Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers …”

Exploration: Remaining open, prioritizing the big picture

Learn to Walk With Beggars and Kings, New York Times, March 12, 2011
“Romil Bahl is president and chief executive of PRGX, a data mining and recovery audit firm in Atlanta. He says his father helped to teach him to keep an open mind — and to remember that the best ideas can come from anyone, anytime.”

Boldness: Being adventurous, speaking out

Is Your Boss a Bold Leader or a Flaky Bureaucrat? Psychology Today, Feb. 2013
“A new study led by Kevin Wilde, Chief Learning Officer at global food-maker, General Mills and author of Dancing with the Talent Stars, found that managers who excel at a) providing clear strategic direction and b) taking bold, decisive action are eight times more likely to be excellent leaders.”

Innovative executives deliberately put themselves into situtations where they may be unexpectedly wrong...Testing assumptions: Seeking counsel, exploring implications

Clear Goals Matter More Than Mission, New York Times, September 1, 2012
“Tracy Streckenbach said she might spend months to define the right goals for a company and set the benchmarks for performance.”

Bursting the CEO Bubble, Harvard Business Revie, March/April 2017
“If you’re a leader, you can put yourself in a good-news cocoon.”



Before You Make a Tough Decision, Imagine How You’ll Have to Sell It, Harvard Business Review, August 29, 2016
“Testing for resonance can help you make a good decision and also raise the chances it will be implemented effectively.”

Make Your Innovative Idea Seem Less Terrifying, Harvard Business Review, October 2013
“New ideas tend to evoke fear and anger – we are programmed to prefer the comfort and safety of established norms. Much as I want to believe that a glaringly good idea will stand on its merits, I have come to realize that just like any product or service, ideas require good marketing if they’re going to reach their intended customers.”

Transparency is the New Leadership Imperative, Harvard Business Review, April 11, 2012
“You could try to model others — emulating Jobs’ cool reserve, exacting standards, and mercurial temper, for instance. But the nuances are subtle; you’re just as likely to come off as aloof or entitled, rather than intriguing. The harder, but more rewarding, path as a leader is to make yourself known — to your employees, your customers, and the public. Here are three reasons the new leadership imperative is all about transparency.”

9 Things Great Leaders Say Every Day, Inc. February 2014
“Your words are among your greatest tools. They’re a window into your vision, your values and your abilities.”

A leader needs a message that can be identified, understood, and incorporated by the constituency you're trying to lead.


Don’t Make Decisions, Orchestrate Them, Harvard Business Review, August 2013
“The reality, however, is that decision-making often is not a solo activity, but rather an orchestrated process by which the manager engages other people in reaching a conclusion. Doing this effectively not only improves the quality of the decision, but also ensures that everyone is more committed to its implementation.”

Making a Big Decision? Don’t Wait for Everyone to Agree, Inc., July 2013
“When I’m working with executive teams suffering from consensus-gridlock, I encourage them to make an overt, agreed, formal shift to defining consensus as a 100 percent acceptance of the majority decision. It works like this:…”

Why Leaders Don’t Listen, Human Resource Executive, November 2011
“A recent study, ‘The Detrimental Effects of Power on Confidence, Advice Taking, and Accuracy,’ reveals that people in power are less likely to heed the advice of others. The researchers say this tendency frequently leads to poor decision-making.”


Use Storytelling to Explain Your Company’s Purpose, Harvard Business Review, November 24, 2015
“But activating purpose is impossible without storytelling, at both the corporate and individual levels.”

How to Bring People to the Common Good: What Authentic Leaders Learn about Higher Purpose,  Creating and Sustaining Positive Organizations, May 2013
“A major determinant of total commitment among the troops is their perception of their leader’s commitment to the group. No matter what the leader says or does, the troops can tell if the leader is authentic, and if the leader is willing to do what the leader is asking them to do. If the leader is willing to die for the group, the troops are more likely to make the same commitment.”

Learn to be Charismatic, Harvard Business Review, November 13, 2012
“The advice, “Go be charismatic” is about as useful as “Go be inspiring.” So what does it actually mean to be charismatic as a leader? From my experience observing and coaching hundreds of leaders, and analyzing data on thousands more, here is what I’d suggest is the constellation of qualities that constitutes charismatic leadership.”

Good Leaders Get Emotional, Harvard Business Review, August 2013
“Emotions are critical to everything a leader must do: build trust, strengthen relationships, set a vision, focus energy, get people moving, make tradeoffs, make tough decisions, and learn from failure.”



The Art of Momentum: Why Your Ideas Need Speed, 99U
“When we lose momentum, we become vulnerable to distraction, self-doubt, and apathy. A look at how constant motion is crucial to idea execution.”

Dysfunctional Momentum Can Undermine Company Values, S+B Blogs, February 17, 2016
“Every company has the potential to get caught up in a whirlwind of activity — short-sighted compromises or conflicts of interest that temporarily raise profits, but in the long run damage customer relationships, employee engagement, stakeholder trust, and the value of the business.”


Why CEOs Should Commit to Many Small Battles Instead of a Single Big One, Harvard Business Review, Dec. 2016
“Ultimately, micro battles restore your company’s ability to learn and then actually get stuff done. Growth comes not from targets set on high, but from lessons learned directly from customers and the front line.”

A Fighter Pilot’s Guide to Effective Communication, Harvard Business Review, October 26, 2010
“As a business leader, do you have a “comm plan” with your employees and colleagues? Are you taking the time to brief your missions to ensure all your wingmen are on the same wave length and understand their roles, responsibilities, and objectives? Finally, are you aware of those who might be on the wrong frequency or off course? What’s your plan to get them back on target?”

Executing Your Strategic Plan, Hospitals and Health Network, June 2005
“Executives and senior managers seem to know more about planning than doing, so it’s not surprising that organizations excel at planning and struggle with execution. But probably a greater problem is that leaders often fail to appreciate the difficulty of implementation and the executive oversight it demands. ”


Giving Constructive Feedback: Eight Leadership Essentials, C-Level Strategies, June 27, 2011
“As with praise, giving constructive feedback effectively requires that no critical ingredient be left out: …”

That Was Horrible! What Makes Feedback Work… or Not? Psychology Today, March. 2013
“When giving feedback, use behaviorally specific language.  We have a tendency to be vague with our language when giving feedback.”

9 Ways To Get Over Your Feedback Fears, Fast Company, August 14, 2012
“Why is feedback so powerful and essential to our success? We often fail to see in ourselves what is perfectly obvious to others. The following is a set of 9 steps that any individual can take to learn how to accept and effectively implement feedback.”


Please share additional readings you use in your leadership training.

by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the team








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