IACP on Leadership August 2015

Top Stories

How Certainty Transforms Persuasion

There is a voluminous body of research on the topic of certainty, but organizations poorly understand it, rarely measure it or put it to use. One of the most potent tools of persuasion that organizations have at their disposal, certainty is the confidence that people have in their beliefs. The more certain people are of their opinions, the more likely they are to act, according to Zakary L. Tormala, a professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, and Derek D. Rucker, a professor from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management. Drawing on more than 20 years of research in the field of consumer and behavioral psychology, Tormala and Rucker have identified four levers for increasing certainty: consensus (perceiving that others share your opinion); repetition (expressing a position many times); ease (how readily an idea comes to mind); and defense (standing up for your beliefs). The levers can be applied to reinforce the persuasiveness of an argument in a conscious or strategic way at all levels, including leadership initiatives. At the managerial level, Tormala and Rucker recommend deliberate and structured use in interpersonal and team settings. Leaders also might think about the role certainty can play more broadly, including in negotiations with partners and stakeholders, the researchers conclude.
Harvard Business Review (09/01/15) Vol. 93, No. 9, P. 96 Tormala, Zakary L.; Rucker, Derek D.

Habits of Tough-Minded Leaders

All big thinkers have a high degree of mental toughness in common. An important characteristic of being mentally tough is the ability to manage emotions, which includes learning when and with whom it is safe to share their feelings. These leaders are also self-confident, which is exhibited by pushing their own boundaries and moving beyond their fears.  Mentally tough people also tend to associate with other positive thinkers and trailblazers, support one another, and celebrate each other's achievements.  When confronted with the need to take a calculated risk, these leaders overcome their fears and go for it, knowing that any worthwhile achievement involves the risk of failure.  Many people say yes even when they do not want to do something, but tough-minded people have learned not to do that and can say no without feeling guilty, hedging their answers, or making excuses. Ample self-discipline and commitment to health and wellness are also characteristic of these leaders, which includes well-rounded exercise, eating, and sleeping routines. Finally, leaders who  have developed mental toughness do not pay much attention to what others think of them, but rather concentrate more on well-defined goals that motivate and drive them.
Fast Company (08/19/15) Deutschendorf, Harvey

New Police Chief Emphasizes Citizen Involvement

New Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney says he will work to make sure his officers are prepared for any contingency and will continue their commitment to serving the citizenry. He stresses the importance of community engagement and partnerships, citing his department's Cops and Barbers program as an example of an initiative that offers residents opportunities to understand what officers do. Putney notes Charlotte is setting the standards in citizen engagement best practices through the program. He also points out the department deployed a leadership development program targeting lieutenants' graduation to leaders, which also concentrates on training those working to become a sergeant. Putney says he aims to effectively train the department's future leaders and to have well-qualified people in the pipeline to fill vacancies.
Charlotte Observer (NC) (07/01/15) Harris, Amanda

Great Leaders: Bought, Made or Neither?

One aspect of a learning professional's role is making decisions about human capability. This can include whether to develop existing talent to meet organizational needs, or to obtain it externally. This calls for examining how leaders are selected and what outcomes define a good leader. Success may look different in different organizations or departments within the same organization. Many organizations are in industries that change rapidly. Before applying broad skill definitions to either selection or development, it is important to step back and define success. Learning professionals strive to maximize workforce capability with fiscal responsibility. Their investments may be spent on selection, development, or reconsidering how to define a great leader. Existing leadership skill definitions can be used as guiderails and language aids to align the understanding of environments with definitions of leadership success. Great leadership is not just about selection and development — it is about how organizations measure and define great leaders in any given department, organization, and industry.
Chief Learning Officer (07/20/15) Pintar, Kristi

Leaders Need Mentors Too

Increasingly, leaders of large organizations are seeking access to counsel and feedback from mentors outside their enterprises. A study by Harvard researchers found that mentors serve as role models who have "been there and done that," and can offer timely, context-specific counsel drawn from experience. Some leaders opt to have two mentors to increase the likelihood of hearing from someone who has dealt with similar complex and unique challenges. Prior to establishing a match, potential participants may first take part in a meeting, followed by a series of conversations, to enable both parties to assess the potential for good outcomes from the relationship. Setting clear rules of engagement ensure that both parties commit to total confidentiality and make mentees confident enough to disclose information without fear of repercussions. Having sessions regularly is essential. Putting dates on the calendar allows leaders to set aside certain challenging issues that might otherwise become a distraction because they know the issue will be eventually addressed. The preferred method of knowledge sharing is generally storytelling, where mentors share specific and relevant examples from their own careers--both good and bad. In many cases, an external mentor receives a contractual fee for the engagement, but it typically represents a small fraction of his or her income.
Harvard Business Review (06/15) Vol. 93, No. 4, P. 100 de Janasz, Suzanne; Peiperl, Maury

Traits Of Creative Leaders (and How to Become One)

Becoming a leader can be mastered by anyone who is committed to the task, but it requires both courage and creativity. A key trait of creative and driven leaders is they first provoke themselves into action, then the people around them, constantly imagining new possibilities. They spur change that they foresee even when others do not share the same vision. These leaders also listen to intuition and balance it with logic and know it is important to move fast. Rather than pursue perfection, leaders focus on making consistent strides in the quickest manner possible. Having convictions and sticking to them is also crucial, which is rare due to people's preference for stability and security. People can ask, "What makes me come alive?" to identify gaps between who they are and who they can become. Leaders also have the ability to come up with new ideas, but the most essential quality of a creative leader is action--all people have the innate capacity to develop these qualities, but need to start immediately.
FastCompany (08/15) Wahl, Erik

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