3 reasons why likability in leadership can backfire, according to science





It is unwise to select leaders on the basis of their likability, especially if it means neglecting other more important predictors of leadership effectiveness.

As the millions (or is it billions?) of people around the world who dislike their bosses will surely know, it is generally preferable to work for someone you like. If this statement isn’t obvious or intuitive enough, then consider some basic research:

  1. People rarely get promoted into management or leadership roles unless they are deemed at least somewhat likable by others.
  2. Effective leaders are generally more likable, at least from a personality perspective. More often than not, they are emotionally stable, agreeable, sociable, curious, and conscientious, all of which are desirable traits in most cultures.
  3. Emotional intelligence, which predicts high levels of likability, is linked to a range of positive performance outcomes in leaders, from higher levels of team engagementperformance, and productivity to lower levels of problematic team behaviors, turnover, and toxicity.

And yet it is unwise to select leaders on the basis of their likability, especially if it means neglecting other more important predictors of leadership effectiveness, such as expertise, intelligence, and, indeed, integrity. Consider the following problems: Continue reading

Ten Steps to Take Towards a More Fulfilling Life


by Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries

The journey towards a more fulfilling existence starts within you.

On the surface, Philip seemed to have a successful life and career as the CEO of a large, profitable firm. But Philip’s inner world was in complete disarray. He felt like a hamster in a wheel, running aimlessly at an ever-increasing pace.

He described his life as a series of never-ending assignments, or when things got really bad, a straitjacket. It often felt like other people’s needs were drowning out his own. His wife left him because he was never present – physically or emotionally. His children no longer lived at home and wanted little to do with him.

Philip was also in bad shape and suffered from insomnia, worrying about all the things that needed to be done. Sleep deprivation affected his decision-making capabilities. It felt like he was sleepwalking through a meaningless life.

He believed he had no hope left and longed for a new life.

The journey to a life well lived

Many of us can relate to Philip. At some point, we all feel tired or dissatisfied with our lives and yearn for change. In many of my conversations with senior leaders, there is a common desire to become the best version of ourselves. We seek to learn, grow and enjoy our life to the fullest.

The only way to achieve this is to push ourselves beyond our current capabilities, beliefs and boundaries. We need to be proactive and take control of our lives by focusing on the things we can act on.

Without completely overhauling our lives, we can start with subtle changes to nudge us in the direction of the life we want. While there is no such thing as having a perfect life, we can begin to lead a more fulfilling one.

With this in mind, here are ten steps you can take towards a more fulfilling life. Continue reading

Hybrid work isn’t working: Here’s a better approach









Management professors share a detailed example of adopting ‘both/and thinking’ to move beyond a simple yet often destructive formula and develop more creative and productive solutions. 

While we want the best of home and work, too often we end up with the worst of both. Employees show up at the office for a scheduled number of days only to find a ghost town. They commute long distances to spend their time alone and on Zoom calls. Likewise, work-from-home days can feel robotic and blur the lines between work and life. Without clear boundaries, work takes over home, and high-performing employees can burn out.

Having studied what we call “both/and thinking” for the last 25 years, we know there’s a better approach. Rather than bland compromises that become worse for everyone, both/and thinking enables creative integrations in which each option benefits the other.

Joe Lemay (CEO) and Jacob Epstein (CIO) knew that they wanted this kind of integration when they launched Rocketbook (now a subsidiary of BIC). The Rocketbook team is on a mission to transition the world to reusable paper. They know that serving their customers and the world best means having exceptionally talented, high-performing, energized, and committed people. They also know that the where as well as the how and why of work matters. In fact, their hybrid approaches started well before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lemay and Epstein value working from home. They love the flexibility. They prize WFH as space for deep, “put your head down” work. They also treasure its opportunities for more time with kids and life partners while minimizing commuting and providing autonomy over schedules.

They offer employees ample time to work from home because they recognize the value in that approach. Yet they also ensure that home time is truly flexible. Continue reading

10 in-demand soft skills to supercharge your career



Your résumé and experience may get you through the door, but these soft skills could help you clinch the job.

When it comes to experience and skill, you may be exactly what a potential employer is looking for. But, if the person interviewing you senses you lack the passion and roll-your-sleeves-up mentality their team thrives on, you’ll likely not get the job offer. That’s because soft skills like grit, excitement, and respect are what make a stellar employee. The skills outlined on a résumé only tell a fraction of the story, while understanding an individual’s work ethic, how they overcome adversity, and how they interact with their peers is much more indicative of success.

A LinkedIn Global Talent Trends report shows that 92% of talent professionals reported that soft skills are equally or more important to hire for than hard skills. The same study reveals that 89% surveyed said that when a new hire doesn’t work out, it’s because they lack much-needed soft skills.

The hard truth about hard skills is that they can have a short half-life. Constant innovation, technology updates, and new feature releases render many of these skills obsolete quickly. Meanwhile, soft skills never expire—they are relevant, transferable, and keep a person highly employable.

I have seen firsthand the value of soft skills in my career path—I became a C-suite executive in my twenties and am now chief creative officer at ClickUp, a fast-growing, four-billion-dollar productivity company. Here are the 10 soft skills that helped me get ahead—and can do the same for you and your career.

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How to engage your employees who chose not to quit




Now is not the time to scrimp on investing in your remaining teammates.

The media narrative of the Great Resignation often centers around two parties: the 47.4 million employees who gave notice in 2021 and the employers who are scrambling to stem the outflow and backfill open positions. Those employees who remained are now working longer hours with fewer resources and less team support. Unsurprisingly, they’re tired.

An October 2021 analysis of 15 million survey respondents found that one-third of employees were hopeless, aimless, and dispirited. Yikes. When asked whether their employers were meeting their people management, employee development, and workplace climate needs, 13% gave a resounding “no.” And even the 34% who said they’d had one of those needs met were quick to clarify that it was due to a bare-minimum effort from their organizations.

It’s never good when a large percentage of employees say they’re disconnected, unmotivated, and unhappy at work, but work-related exhaustion isn’t new. Some workers were disengaged long before COVID-19 held any real meaning. The difference is that employees now have the added stress of a deadly virus, historic inflation rates, and employers who seem more interested in blocking the exit doors than improving the working conditions for people who stayed.

So, what can you do? More than ever, employees are seeking employers who share their values and treat them as individuals. They want to feel seen and heard, and they want to believe that you’re investing in them as much as they’re investing in you. To that end, consider hosting internal events, which help foster a true sense of community. Here’s how to get started.


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