Best stories on leadership, effectiveness, productivity, team culture, and personal development.

Our Top Pick: How To Increase Employee Engagement By 300%

It’s time to throw away the traditional performance management practices — tools and processes that companies use to manage people.

The annual performance review, for example, isn’t effective anymore, writes Forbes contributor Christine Comaford.

Instead, frequent informal feedback paired with performance motivation that leads to a more thorough self-evaluation is the key.

“It’s time for leaders to adapt and give feedback that is more humane, less awkward, more timely,” Comaford writes.

It’s an excellent, actionable article that shows you how to dramatically increase employee engagement. It’s no wonder why 70% of multinational companies are already using this new approach.

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Pick #2: Why Too Much Charisma is Bad for Leadership

Charisma is a trait that makes a person engaging and magnetic, thereby attracting other people’s attention. Leadership and charisma often go together.

Great leaders are usually endowed with charisma.

But a new paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reveals that too much (or too little) of charisma is actually bad for a leader.

The research shows that the most effective leaders are moderately charismatic — they can capture the attention of others, but they can also accomplish their goals.

The paper concludes that the best leaders have a good balance of strategic vs operational behaviors.

Some people have poor charisma, but have stellar operational skills. Other ineffective leaders have too much charisma (strategic) but couldn’t finish their projects (operational).

Charisma will only take you so far. You need leadership skills.

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Pick #3: The Akrasia Effect

Victor Hugo was not a stranger to procrastination.

In 1830, the French poet locked all his clothes away so he was no longer tempted to leave the house.

His productivity skyrocketed and the result was The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

James Clear explores why we don’t follow through on what we planned to do on Medium, using the poet’s life as a perfect example of the Akrasia effect — a state of going against your better judgement, preventing you from following through on what you planned to do.

Clear explores several reasons why akrasia plagues us all, but focuses on our brain’s tendency to value immediate rewards over future gains.

In addition to practicing delayed gratification, Clear recommends designing your future actions, reducing the friction of starting, and utilizing implementation intentions.

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Pick #4: Proactive or Reactive?

Stephen Covey popularized the concept of proactivity in his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989.

Fast-forward to today, proactivity has become a buzzword, almost like a cliche. Executive coach Patrick Ewers re-examines the real meaning of the word and offers actionable steps to become a more proactive entrepreneur.

Specifically, Ewers bares the difference between proactivity and reactivity, adding that reactivity is dangerous because it makes you feel productive.

“A proactive person is like a stallion and a reactive person like a rocking horse. Both are moving, but only one is moving forward,” he adds.

Ewers advises practicing self-discipline to stay proactive. You can back this up by writing your goals, saying no’s, and quickly doing the first steps of any task to get started.

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Pick #5: How to Arouse Customer Obsession, According to a Netflix Executive

The secret to Netflix’s massive success isn’t its product or team. Sure, Netflix has an awesome on-demand video service and lots of talented people.

But the key to its growth lies in the company’s obsession with consumer science.

Former Netflix CPO Gibson Biddle teaches you how to build a better product or service by putting your customers at the center of everything that your company does.

Customer focus is great, but customer obsession is even better.

Biddle insists on shifting from “what customers say” to “let’s conduct tests in the name of consumer science.”

Consumer science is a scientific method of forming hypotheses, then testing them. Biddle says it’s the best way to build a culture of customer obsession and to discover what delights customers.

This means analyzing existing quantitative data, doing focus groups and usability tests, launching surveys and A/B tests.

The article is a comprehensive guide to customer obsession.

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Extra Pick: Relational Leadership

Leadership is about building relationships.

Forbes writer John Coleman writes about the power of relational leadership, using President George H.W. Bush as the unsullied example of a leader who exuded the trait.

Coleman recalls the President’s first meeting with French President Francois Mitterrand and lauded how the American leader won over the veteran statesman by developing a genuine friendship and partnership that paid off later when America needed France’s help.

The author also shares a few tips on how to practice relational leadership.

It starts off by having a genuine interest in people followed by practicing empathy and authenticity in your relationships.

Overall, the article highlights the importance of relational leadership and shows you how it can help you become a better leader.

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