In a recent interview, Herminia Ibarra, a professor at the INSEAD School of Business and author of “Act Like a Leader, Think like a Leader,” touches upon a compelling issue. Have we as a society put the wrong leaders at the top of the business hierarchy?
Ibarra notes a key challenge for today’s business leaders is the task of defining an organization’s leadership roles, be it a professional practice or an enterprise.
Another challenge a manager faces is avoiding “do it yourself transitions” within a company.
This issue can arise when a job description evolves as the company expands operations. The pressing need for expediency now kicks in as a firm’s growth taxes the skills of the company’s existing talent and expertise. Unfortunately this “mini” transition to a new role typically arises when a manager least expects it. Even when the company’s leadership foresees a crisis in roles, the situation still exacts a stressful burden on staff members.
In today’s mercurial business environment the job of managing both a workforce and company expectations is changing all the time. So how does a manager know the right time to exercise what Ibarra calls ”outsight” (versus insight)? Therein is the challenge for business managers.
In a nutshell, here’s her take: You cannot reflect your way into taking the leadership reins. You have to live it out in the midst of your daily role as a manager. Self-reflection is not helpful. But the willingness to dive into the challenge begins to change one’s thinking and therein lies the key to effective leadership. Transformation of the business process is now within reach.
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