Early in the pandemic, Josh Bersin called it the Big Reset: “The Coronavirus is accelerating one of the biggest business transformations in decades.”

As the business landscape evolves and employees reassess their priorities, leadership is changing as well. To reset thinking on what it means to be a leader today, we asked Josh Bersin and other thought and business leaders for their perspective.


  • “I firmly believe that leaders today need to be agile and driven by curiosity and the art of continuous learning, in order to thrive and build resilience for the future. It’s also important for leaders to demonstrate empathy and focus on embedding diversity into the fabric of their organizations to catalyze innovation and positive impact in the world we live and operate in.

– Tiger Tyagarajan, Chief Executive Officer, Genpact


  • Even with a softening economy, we continue to be in an environment where employee wants often trump the wishes of employers.  So my advice to leaders.
  • You must have conviction – Be clear on where you are going and why?  Regularly and continually communicate your mission and vision to your team. We review this at every monthly all-hands
  • Drive for clarity in what is important. We use the OKR framework to share what is essential for the year. It also tells you what is not essential.
  • Create a focus on execution – Execution does eat ‘strategy’ for lunch. We work so so hard to keep the focus on execution that creates demonstrable business outcomes.

-Jay Ackerman, President & Chief Executive Officer at Reveleer


  • Competence – you can’t fake it, know the details of what is going on around you.  If you don’t know something, ask the questions and do the research to learn it.
  • Calmness – when the chips are down, and they will be at some point, leaders need to maintain calmness, showing empathy for people who are trying to do the right thing, clinically remove the people who aren’t, and set an example for a culture of respect, integrity all while not compromising on the vision and objectives of the business. 
  • Creating the conditions for success – if your organization is succeeding in spite of itself (which with enough brute force can happen), then that is a leadership issue.  Focus on eliminating roadblocks, complexity and any other impediments for your organization to succeed.

– Mark Trepanier, Managing Principal, Bluebird Groomer Consulting LLC


If you’re inspired by these perspectives on leadership today, stay tuned…there’s more to come!  And if you are interested in crafting your own contribution, please email me at janis@issg.net


From the Great Resignation to the Great Refusal—here’s what the 5 ‘Great Rs’ mean for the future of work





We are no longer centered on where we work, but rather where work fits in our lives.




As we weigh yet another strong jobs report against persistent inflation and the looming threat of a recession, we have to acknowledge that the workforce has transformed and now plays by a different set of rules and is motivated by a different set of factors. Leaders take note.

The Great Reset is a convergence of trends some decades in the making that culminate in a changed relationship between individuals and organizations. Let’s break down the five “Great Rs” that collectively give us the empowered workforce. 


Posited first by Professor Anthony Klotz in a May 2021 interview in Bloomberg, it was originally thought to be a short-term phenomenon triggered in the pandemic when the nation’s quit rate hit a 20-year high. In reality, churn has been building since 2009, and Gartner predicts churn will increase 20% over pre-pandemic levels.


The Great Retirement has been long in coming as the baby boomer generation moves into retirement. Although we knew this was coming, we were still caught flat-footed as the pandemic created the conditions for droves of boomers to leave the workforce sooner than even they may have expected. Economists believe the resulting labor shortages will continue for at least a decade.

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How leaders can get the feedback they need to grow




by Kim Scott, Liz Fosslien, and Mollie West Duffy

When uncertainty is high, knowing where you stand — and learning about your mistakes while there’s still time to fix them — is more important than ever. To be able to adapt to changing conditions and ensure that your team continues to feel supported and motivated, you need to understand what you’re doing well — and where you’re falling short. Soliciting clear, actionable feedback allows you to make better, more informed decisions and pivot when necessary.

Asking for feedback also creates a culture of trust and transparency. With concerns about an economic downturn rising, already overwhelmed teams are being asked to do more with less. When employees feel like their input matters, they’re more likely to remain loyal, engaged, and productive. They’re also much more willing to surface valuable concerns and suggestions.

But uncertainty also makes it much, much harder to get honest feedback. When people feel anxious or like their jobs might be in jeopardy, they’re more reticent to speak up, especially to management. Add to that the fact that when people move up the ranks in an organization, they tend to get less corrective feedback, even though a 2014 study by Zenger Folkman showed that by a three-to-one margin, people believe corrective feedback does more to improve their performance than positive feedback.

In other words, right when you need it most, getting an accurate pulse on your performance as a leader becomes really, really hard. So how do you get feedback when people are least likely to offer it? How can you solicit actionable, useful advice from your reports? Neither one of you wants to have a hard conversation, but when you’re the leader, it’s your job to overcome that reluctance for yourself and help the other person overcome it, too.

Knowing how and when to ask for feedback is a learned skill — as is checking your (normal) defensive reaction in the face of helpful criticism. Based on our books and research, we put our heads together to outline the specific steps leaders should take to ask for feedback. The first thing to do is to ask for criticism, especially if you’re the boss. This is awkward at best and can be a difficult emotional journey, so here are six tips for how to successfully solicit Radical Candor from your employees.

Difficult Emotional Journeys. On the lefthand side, a list of the stages of grief in descending order: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. On the righthand side, the stages of receiving criticism in descending order: horror, then shame, which can lead to denial, anger, self-loathing, despair, and bargaining. Then, acceptance, improvement, and excitement. Illustration by Liz Fosslien.

1. Embrace feeling “negative” emotions — often.

Hearing what you need to improve rarely feels good. Ask yourself: How many times each week do the people you work with tell you things that make you anxious, upset, or even defensive? How often do they tell you things that make you feel wonderful? If it’s all feel-good praise and no hard-to-hear criticism, beware! You’re not getting the real story. You need to work harder to get them to criticize you. Continue reading

Coaching a Direct Report Who Asks for Your Help







by Deborah Grayson Riegel



Evolution has made humans helpful. We have evolved as a species to be “prosocial,” behaving in ways that are positive, helpful, and intended to promote social acceptance, connection, and friendship. Asking for, offering, and receiving help have aided our long-term survival.

That being said, there is a difference between being inclined to help someone and knowing what kind of help that person wants or needs. As a leader, you play an important role in helping others in a way that doesn’t rob them of their autonomy and ownership (micromanaging) or leave them wondering what they’re supposed to do next (under-leading).

One area where this tension often shows up is when a direct report asks for help. What’s the most effective way to offer your support? How can you help them cross the bridge between goal setting and goal attainment?

Telling someone exactly what steps they need to take to cross that bridge may make sense when they’re just starting in a new role, with a new project, or if there’s only one right way to get it done correctly. However, when someone has a small measure of experience under their belt, your role is to help them consider and design those next steps for themselves. As a result, they’re much more likely to commit to the plan they’ve created.

Here’s what micromanaging a plan might sound like: Continue reading

Why being a highly sensitive person could be your greatest professional asset





Meet Darren, a senior director at a large education company. Warm and kindhearted, Darren is the type of leader who takes you out to lunch when you have a bad day and listens to clients and their needs. This is different from other leaders at his organization who lead in a highly critical style and are always out for the sale. 

What differentiates Darren from his peers is that he is a highly sensitive person (HSP). This term has recently become more common and refers to about 20% of the population who process the world more deeply. In fact, research points to over 10 gene variants connected with the trait. This means that the brains of highly sensitive people process neurochemicals like serotonin and dopamine differently, leading to benefits such as increased perceptiveness, creativity, and careful decision-making. 

High sensitivity goes beyond empathy alone. Psychologist Dr. Elaine Aron, who first discovered the trait, has suggested that it evolved as an “innate survival strategy,” to stay free from harm in prehistoric times. Pausing and observing––a hallmark of high sensitivity––helped these individuals make wiser decisions by picking up on environmental cues and recognizing things that less-sensitive people didn’t.

While we may no longer need to avoid dangers in the wild, high sensitivity is still an invaluable trait: Managers consistently rate people with higher sensitivity as their top contributors. Yet it’s common for highly sensitive people to struggle with confidence, assuming their qualities make them weird, weak, or fragile. In my own 10 years of coaching sensitive leaders, I can tell you firsthand that it is possible to transform your ability to think and feel deeply into an advantage in the workplace. Here are five ways HSPs can leverage their strengths at work.

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