Toxic people share three distinct traits: narcissism, a thirst for power and the inability to deal with negative emotions, says MIT Leadership Center founder Deborah Ancona. What to do with such people depends on how much authority you have and whether indirect approaches have been tried.
You can judge the quality of your leadership by considering how your mood or communication style affects others and whether people seek your advice, writes John Stoker. "If people know they can come to you with questions and concerns and are responded to in a positive way, they won't hesitate to communicate with you," he writes.
Decisively putting out fires becomes less effective for executives as they move up the ranks, writes executive coach Ed Batista. He offers six questions to assess the problem, the options available and who will make the final decision.
Meetings should not be held unless leaders can affirm that they are necessary, define their purpose and ascertain the role of all participants, write Aaron De Smet, Gregor Jost and Leigh Weiss. "Your goal should be to treat your leadership capacity -- a finite resource -- as seriously as your company treats financial capital (an equally finite one)," they write.
Sears might have peaked as far back as 1969, when two-thirds of Americans shopped there, but a succession of bad CEO choices and a decision to focus on financial and insurance services ultimately set the retail giant on a long path of decline. Jim Collins' book "How the Mighty Fall" describes how arrogant companies fail, and his framework describes Sears' journey eerily well, write Geoff Colvin and Phil Wahba.
Good decision-making requires understanding the desired outcome, the choices available and the timeline, writes Mike Figliuolo. Even after a decision is made, communicated and carried out, a re-evaluation process will be needed to adjust to current conditions.
Using words and phrases such as "a little," "sort of" or "maybe" can undercut your power, writes Christine Comaford. "Verbal qualifiers, or splitters, are phrases that make leaders look weak as they enable us to avoid taking a verbal stand," she writes.
Phrases such as "I'm the boss" or "You're doing it wrong," deflate people's motivation, writes Lolly Daskal. "When you're in a leadership position, it's especially important to think before you speak," she argues.
Choosing to ignore hard conversations or conflict wastes time and resources for your company, writes Marlene Chism, who advises looking at the advice of Carol Dweck. Altering your mindset before going into these types of conversations can help make you "conflict competent," Chism writes.
A year off from work showed former Content Marketing Institute owner Joe Pulizzi how extensively he had focused on his job at the expense of others around him. He also describes the preparation that went into his sabbatical and why staying off the internet for the first 30 days was critical.
Brene Brown says she tries daily to push herself out of her comfort zone because the "idea that we can be brave and comfortable" is false. "You gotta embrace the suck of vulnerability and you have to remember that as long as your intentions are in the right place for what you shared and how you're sharing, it's not supposed to be comfortable," she asserts.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' annual shareholder letter documents the company's reliance on third-party sellers and argues that large companies need to go big on everything, including risk. "Amazon will be experimenting at the right scale for a company of our size if we occasionally have multibillion-dollar failures," Bezos writes.