team of three men on top of a mountain with a red silhouette circle around the leader

In our “Webinars for the Workplace” series, I will be sharing three helpful webinars on a specific topic related to career and the workplace. I encourage you to watch the webinars by clicking on the links I attached to the webinar titles in each section. However, if you can’t find the time to watch, but still want to gain valuable information, read an overview of the webinars below!

Today, I’ll be sharing three webinars on leadership and approaches you can take to be a respected, effective leader. Be sure to take a look at the Bonus Content to find an inspirational TED Talk titled “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe.”

TABLE OF CONTENTS:


Webinar Title: “The Leader You Want to Be”

Channel: Harvard Business Review

Speaker: Amy Jen Su, co-founder and managing partner of Paravis Partners, an executive coaching and leadership development firm, and successful author and co-author

Released on: February 4, 2020

Length: 59:14

Summary: Amy shares a holistic, yet hands-on approach to increasing a leader’s time, capacity, energy, and impact with less stress. She talks about how we are all Leader A and Leader B at different times. Leader A has a broader perspective (as in, they consider their strengths and weaknesses on a broader scale, they are teachable despite their position, etc.) and meets with their best self. Leader B, however, wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, has a narrow perspective, and their best self isn’t present. Amy says there are five essential principles (like power and presence) that can be used to optimize the ratio of Leader A to B; she shares tips for what we can do, regarding the principles, to get back on track when the ratio is off. Amy gives a toolbox for how to be an effective Leader A, with tools like the purpose equation, the 2×2 matrix, and reflection questions. She also says there are voices all Leader A’s need, such as character, connection, and clarity.

What I Enjoyed About the Webinar: It’s one thing to tell people they need to be a healthy leader, but it’s another thing to share with people how they can apply those principles in their lives continuously. Amy shares practical tactics that viewers can implement as they work toward becoming Leader A, like filling out a personalized purpose equation. I also enjoyed how she shared relatable client stories. Even though the clients were in different stages of their careers than I am, I can empathize with how they felt and implement methods they tried in my life. Amy gives lots of practical wisdom, like when she talks about how we can find more peace by loosening the grip of the voice saying what we should do vs. doing what we know to be right. The Q&A was also lengthier than expected but full of great questions.

Biggest Takeaways:

  • No one can have a Leader A:B ratio of 100:0 all the time. It’s unrealistic and a surefire way to put yourself in the Leader B category because you expect yourself to be a superhero. 60:40 is a better ratio to aspire to.
  • When you feel like Leader B, complete the purpose equation exercise and think about your contribution, energy, and how they add up to create purpose. Consider not only what you think you contribute, but what your boss, colleagues, and clients would say you contribute. Reflect on what motivates and inspires you.
  • Raising your game means that you are more likely to raise the game of those around you. It’s the “ripple effect.” When you’re more Leader A, others around you are more likely to be Leader A, as well.
  • Because we live in a culture that values self-reliance and independence, self-reliance is often the biggest pitfall that causes someone to fall into the Leader B trap. If you’re a quarterback all the time, you may be going faster, but that doesn’t mean you’re going further.
  • There is a difference between leadership and management. You can be a good manager but a bad leader. Everyone is a leader as they lead their workstreams, family, teams, community, etc. Management denotes executive function skills such as planning and preparing, while leadership focuses on human-to-human interaction. If you are a manager, you need both to be effective.

 

woman leader standing in front of her team in the office

 


Webinar Title: “How to Be an Inspiring Leader”

Channel: Executive Education Webinars by Columbia Business School

Speaker: Columbia Business School Professor Adam Galinsky

Released on: N/A

Length: 30:34

Summary: The question “What does it mean to be an inspiring leader?” can be reduced to a three-dimensional answer: Inspiring leaders are visionaries, exemplars of desired behavior, and great mentors. Admirable visionaries are optimistic and can paint a meaningful, “big picture” vision of the future in a simple way. Exemplar leaders are courageous and calm protectors who are authentically passionate, creative, and consistent. And, great mentors empower others, are generous, and are self-aware in knowing how their power affects others.

What I Enjoyed About the Webinar: I liked how Adam uses real-life examples to back up what he says. For example, when talking about shared vision, he uses the example of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. He says that MLK shared his vision by repeating a phrase that personified his vision (aka, “I Have a Dream”). He also uses many quotes and visuals to help concepts stick. The Q&A section was beneficial; I particularly enjoyed the questions about encouraging others without making them uncomfortable and the misconceptions of extroverted vs. introverted leaders.

Biggest Takeaways:

  • Great leaders aren’t focused on the power they hold, but the people they lead. From encouraging others to seeing perspective from others’ vantage points, Adam emphasizes that great leaders are caring and thoughtful.
  • Sharing a meaningful vision is important for giving those you lead a sense of their work and purpose. I love the Nietzsche quote he shared that says, “People who have a why to live can bear almost any how.”
  • To inspire others, you yourself must be inspired. Find your own style and then resonate it. Don’t be a copycat of anyone.
  • The power amplification effect is important. Our criticism, praise, and gratitude are all louder when we are in positions of power. Know how your behavior affects others as your gestures and behaviors are amplified.
  • Ask yourself every few weeks, or once a month, “Am I a visionary? Am I an exemplar of desired behaviors? Am I a great mentor?” as well as specific questions, like “Am I micromanaging? Am I aware of how my behavior reflects others?” Reflection will cause, as Adam puts it, “your days, and the days of others, to be mostly joyful.”

 

man leader standing up talking to his team members who are sitting down in a conference room

 


Webinar Title: “How to Lead Courageously During a Crisis”

Channel: Harvard Business Publishing, an affiliate of Harvard Business School

Speaker: Nancy Koehn, the James E. Robison Chair of Business Administration, Harvard Business School and Author of Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times

Released on: April 14, 2020

Length: 59:55

Summary: Nancy talks about how crises are the defining series of events in our lives, and leaders are made more powerfully in times of crisis than in times of stability or triumph. She gives “rules of the road” on how to be an effective leader during a crisis. The rules include:

  • Being comfortable with ambiguity
  • The ability to pivot and learn while navigating through a crisis
  • Communicating regularly
  • Framing the stakes of a crisis with both honesty and hope
  • Addressing fears with realistic empathy
  • Not focusing on worst-case scenarios
  • Painting the future

Nancy then talks about the importance of leaders taking care of themselves and their people, why it is vital for leaders to show up during a crisis, and how leaders can help people make sense of the crisis.

What I Enjoyed About the Webinar: Nancy gives practical advice about how to put into practice the points she makes in the webinar. For example, when talking about taking care of yourself so you can take care of others, she shares examples of ways other leaders took care of themselves (like Nelson Mandela playing tennis). She uses her historian background to paint pictures of how other leaders dealt with crises to show how we can handle them in the present day. While Nancy referenced COVID-19 frequently and that was the central crisis in her presentation, I feel as though all her points could be applied to other organizational crises, both big or small. Like the other webinars, the Q&A section had great input and, in response, Nancy had great insight. One discussion point that provided me with new insight was how leaders balance courage and resilience with authenticity and vulnerability. In addition, I enjoyed learning about how leaders can effectively build two-way communication with those whom they are leading.

Biggest Takeaways:

  • Communicating on a routine basis with those you are leading gives them cadence because the communication grounds them, empowers them, and frames the crisis for them by virtue of your leadership. Whether through a webinar or fireside chat, stick to regularity in your communication.
  • When communicating with those we lead, it’s important to frame the stakes of a crisis. Look at that framework as a balance sheet of liabilities and assets. The liabilities are the uncertainties and challenges we face, but there are assets that can be used to deal with those challenges. Those assets are both tangible, like finances and systems, and intangible, like dedication and unity.
  • Worst-case scenarios are, most of the time, not the most likely scenario. Therefore, if we examine the worst-case scenario of a crisis frequently, we are giving a disservice to our people. Instead of spending a long time on the worst-case scenario, put a probability estimate on it and then turn to what is more likely.
  • Your first, most important job is to take care of yourself daily. Your organization and family can’t afford for you to fail or falter, and you can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Make sure to take a few minutes to “escape” every day. Also, if you take good care of yourself and talk about it, your team members and other team leaders will look to your example and take care of themselves too; your words and actions trickle down.
  • Crisis leaders must find the negative people in their organizations and figure out how to mitigate dissension because unity is essential in the workplace.

 

female leading in white shirt leading an office meeting with team members all wearing black

 


BONUS CONTENT:

If you haven’t heard of a Ted Talk, TED’s “Our organization” section says that “TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).” I enjoyed this TED Talk on how one mark of a great leader is how they care for their people.

Ted Talk Title: “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe”

Channel: TED

Speaker: Simon Sinek, a British-born American author and motivational speaker

Released on: May 19, 2014

Length: 11:59

Summary: When a leader has fostered a sense of trust and cooperation in their organization, those they are leading will want to give their blood, sweat, and tears to make sure the leader’s vision comes to life. Organizations see remarkable results when a leader makes the choice to put the safety and lives of the people in their organization first, as they sacrifice comfort and tangible results, so people feel safe and as though they belong.

What I Enjoyed About the Ted Talk: Simon uses several real-life examples and analogies to back up his points and put them in relatable, simpler terms. For example, he compares being a great leader to being a great parent. Even though I am not a parent myself, I can see his example in the lives of my parents. I also enjoyed how he shares “tweetables” of wisdom that are easy to remember. (I refer to bits of wisdom that are easy to recollect and often have alliteration as a “tweetable” because they would be easy to tweet). For example, Simon mentions that great leaders don’t have head counts, but heart counts. The simplicity makes it easier to carry the lesson with me moving forward.

Biggest Takeaways:

  • Trust and cooperation are not instructions. They are feelings that come from knowing we are safe and taken care of.
  • Most dangers we face, like the ups and downs of an economy, an uncertain stock market, etc. are forces we have no control over. The only variable is the conditions inside the organization, and that’s where leadership sets the tone.
  • As a leader, you can look at those you lead as “head counts,” treating everyone as a number, or you can care about the heart counts, treating everyone as a real-life human being. The latter leads to more trust, cooperation, and better morale in your organization. Great leaders don’t sacrifice people to save numbers; they do the opposite.
  • Being a great leader is like being a great parent. You want to give those you lead opportunities to try and fail, to grow, and to be educated. You discipline them when necessary and want to instill confidence in them. Much like a parent, you want those you’re leading to achieve more for themselves than you could on your own.
  • Leadership is a choice, not a rank. You can have authority but be a leader no one wants to follow. Or, you can have no authority, but be a leader because you look after the people to your left and right. That’s what a leader is.

Marah Whitaker headshot

Hi! My name is Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M). I am the Marketing Assistant for UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, I spend time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with our customer base. During my free time, you can find me getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, I aspire to live by the Mr. Feeny quote, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” I strive to use my passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around me. 

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