The Library

We’ve pulled together a collection of reading materials you need on your path to becoming a truly great leader. Learn and get inspired.

Insights

Get practical insights that you can apply today, based on our 20+ years of experience consulting with top leaders, along with the best thought leadership from others. It’s all here for the taking.

Insight

Make gratitude a part of your day

It can be a heavy feeling: that crushing sensation of our project, our team, our families resting on our shoulders. In those moments, it’s easy to play victim to circumstances beyond our control. This mindset, however, darkens our outlook, and as a result our relationships and even our health can suffer. Here’s how to turn it around. According to famed researchers and psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, “People who consciously focus on gratitude experience greater emotional wellbeing and physical health than those who don’t.” Gratitude, it turns out, is not just for Thanksgiving dinners. It’s a powerful tool for bringing our attention into the present and deepening our relationship with the people, things and work we love. Deepak Chopra explains, “What we put our attention on expands in our life. By offering gratitude for all the goodness we experience, we’re inviting the universe to give us more and more of what we want.” And Emmons’ and McCullough’s research proves it. People who practice expressing appreciation: Experience greater levels of joy and happiness Feel optimistic about the future Exercise more regularly Have more energy, enthusiasm, determination and focus Make greater progress Sleep better and awake Feel stronger during trying times Enjoy

Insight

Push the limits of your empathy

Empathy may not be your natural forte. Or maybe as you’re looking for ways to practice it beyond your inner circle. Writer Jessica Stillman offers a handful of ideas to increase our empathy quotient by folding it into our daily routines. People who are highly empathic have a natural, childlike curiosity that extends to everyone, including strangers. It isn’t hard to empathize with the image of a malnourished child on TV or recently divorced friend, in fact it’s instinctive. “The trick when it comes to increasing your empathy is to challenge yourself to see the perspective of those with whom you have less natural sympathy.” So, what happens when we expand our empathy to those that evoke the least sympathy in us? Uncomfortable though it may seem, try stepping into their shoes. Inhabit their feelings on a subject about which you passionately disagree. Politics, the environment, gender issues…What can you learn — and how can you use that to build bridges for understanding? Could it make a difference in a debate or business negotiation? Observing things from an unfamiliar or unpopular point of view is a trait of HEP’s (highly empathic people). Issues including religion, race and war are often

Insight

Make the most of off hours

Sometimes you might feel like you spend all week wishing for the weekend to come. Sunday evening rolls around and chores are still piled up. You’ve had one eye on work all weekend, barely left the house and the anxiety of the looming workweek is creeping in. “Where did the the weekend go and why don’t I feel any better than I did Friday?” you wonder. Here are 10 healthy habits from award-winning and best-selling author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 Travis Bradberry on how to get the most out of your out-of-office time. Disconnect — It’s at the top of the list for a reason. If you don’t completely disengage — that’s emails, phone calls, texts, the lot of it — then you leave yourself open to all the stress and distraction they bring with it. You may as well still be sitting at your desk. If weekend work is truly unavoidable, schedule a block of time to get it done, when the house is quiet, maybe before everyone wakes up or after they’ve gone to bed. Minimize chores — They’re an unpleasant fact of life, and can easily swallow up an entire weekend. Instead, schedule your chores so that

Insight

Visualize it: The power of the doodle

In the world of work, we too often rely on words and conceptual thinking to make our point. When we visualize our thinking, we help others see what we mean — and invite them to push our thinking. Visualizing can be as simple a doodle. In her TED Talk “Doodlers Unite!” Sunni Brown shows how the word doodle is still defined as doing “something of little value, substance or import….nothing.” Ouch. Science to the rescue! Rather than something we do as a distraction, studies have found that sketching and doodling prevent us from being distracted. If you’ve ever found yourself mindlessly sketching during a meeting, you know this to be true. According to Brown, “People who doodle when they’re exposed to verbal information retain more of that information than their non-doodling counterparts.” Sketching and doodling deepen our comprehension of something and profoundly affect the way we process the information needed to problem-solve. There are four modes in which we take in information: visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic. Research shows that to deeply comprehend something, we need to engage at least two of these modalities, or one of them coupled with an emotional experience. Here’s where it gets interesting:

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Perspectives

Don’t just take our word on the skills necessary for 21st century leadership. Some leaders we admire share their perspectives.

Maryana Iskander on refocusing on people - Leadfully
Perspective
On Humanity

Maryana Iskander

CEO, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator

Melvin Galloway on humanity
Perspective
On Humanity

Melvin Galloway

EVP and COO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Perspective
on Optimism

Virginia Rustique-Petteni

Senior Director of Relationships, Girl Effect

Colman Chamberlain
Perspective
on Optimism

Colman Chamberlain

Senior Director of Connectivity, Girl Effect

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Blog Posts

Get the latest news, quick tips, and more.

leading from behind
Blog Post
June 13, 2017
Start leading by leading from behind

Being a leader is a big, complicated job. Even with years of practice, there are new teams to figure out, new challenges to overcome, new techniques to apply. And yet a lot of people are still promoted to positions of leadership because they perform well as individual contributors. But should someone who is a great writer be promoted to manage a whole staff of writers because she is great at writing? Should someone who is good at financial analysis be expected to lead an entire team based on his skill as an analyst? Why would we assume that doing one job well predicts success in an entirely different capacity? Maybe we don’t. If we recognize that leadership can be practiced, with or without a formal position, then it actually becomes possible to prepare (both ourselves and others) to lead — before being called into leadership, with its title, its power, and its consequences. Leading from behind takes patience For starters, what does it mean to lead informally, or lead from behind? Titles do carry weight (and different responsibilities), so it’s necessarily going to be different from leading as a manager, a director, or a VP. If we compare their key

steal this decision log
Blog Post
May 23, 2017
Steal this: The 90/10 decision making model

As a leader, one of the most important things you can do is empower your team to be in control of delivering results with the ability to make their own decisions. You want to provide enough room for the team to act autonomously while still providing enough direction to make sure they’re driving towards the desired objectives. Yet even with the best intentions, it can be a hard balance to find, especially for new leaders. If you’re not sure why or how you should practice empowering your team, consider how it affects their performance and try the model we’ve used at Change.org as a way to get started. Why autonomy matters Recent research from Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman published in the Harvard Business Review suggests that giving more trust to your team can actually improve their performance. When they looked at teams of managers who gave higher and lower ratings on performance reviews, they found that managers who have more confidence in their teams tend to build higher performing teams. When you give your team the space they need, they find creative ways of reaching their goals. If your vision and objectives are clear to them, and there are

Leadfully platform
Blog Post
May 11, 2017
Announcing the new Leadfully

In November 2015, we launched Leadfully to help leaders develop new behaviors and ways of working that are essential to leadership today. We had learned a lot from our parent company, SYPartners, and its 20+ years of experience transforming leaders and their organizations. And we wanted to share it with leaders like you. Last fall, we launched an advisory service for the purpose of helping every leader transform into the type of leader who can navigate the unknown and build the skill set we consider essential to 21st-century leadership. Today, we’re proud to announce our first major update to Leadfully — a new online platform with several key features: Goal setting Action list Session reflections Together, the new features create greater personal accountability to support leadership development goals. Taken with the other improvements we’ve made to Leadfully Advising, the platform now offers a richer and more robust learning and development experience for leaders and their advisors alike. Goal setting: Start with clear vision of your leadership, your intention to grow, and the outcomes you hope to achieve. Action list: Commit to taking action to apply what you learn — and keep track of those action items between advising sessions. Session reflection: Reflect on what you’ve learned from session

Individual superpowers add up to team strengths
Blog Post
April 25, 2017
Play to your team strengths

At Leadfully, we believe in superpowers. Superpowers are the strengths that define us. Not skills or areas of expertise that we learn over time, like managing projects or creating presentations, but innate talents or capacities that are part of our identity — for instance, creative thinking, problem solving, or grit. When you’re channeling your superpower, you’re totally in your element. On a team, knowing what superpower each person brings lets you take advantage of the team’s full inherent potential. As leaders, our job is to discover those individual strengths and create opportunities for them to shine. Look for complementary strengths Create powerful duos by pairing up people with complementary superpowers — for instance, someone who’s strong in systems thinking with someone who’s strong in experimentation. Working with someone whose superpower complements your own helps fill in any gaps or weaknesses in how you might approach the work alone. Finding complements will also reveal which superpowers don’t mix so well. A peacemaker and a provocateur, for example, may not see eye to eye. Plan for potential conflicts by understanding where people’s strengths might work at cross purposes. Strive for balance A team is usually more effective when there’s both a diversity

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