Articles for Managers and Professionals

  • Next Big Idea Club |
    Choosing Courage: The Everyday Guide to Being Brave at Work

    Below, Jim shares 5 key insights from his new book, Choosing Courage: The Everyday Guide to Being Brave at Work

  • Harvard Business Review |
    The Problem with Saying "It's No Big Deal"

    When someone bothers or offends you, it’s natural to say, it’s no big deal and assume the other person had positive intent. But, often, that phrase is used to avoid conflict and is a sign that you should take action. Though speaking up can be difficult, it’s the only way the issue will really get resolved. The best course of action is to schedule a time to talk to the offending party or pull them aside in private. Let time pass, so you’re not emotionally charged. And treat it as an opportunity to gain more information. True inquiry is a respectful way of testing whether something actually is a big deal and is entirely consistent with the notion of assuming positive intent.

  • Management Today |
    Why You Shouldn't Stay Silent at Work

    Speaking up about wrongdoing or incompetence can be scary, but you'll regret it if you don't, says this business school professor.

  • Harvard Business Review |
    Words and Phrases to Avoid in a Difficult Conversation

    When you’re in the middle of a difficult conversation, it’s common to focus solely on yourself: your ideas, your viewpoint, your feelings. But a “me-centric” approach can backfire. To achieve your goal, you need to think beyond yourself. While crafting your message, you must keep the other person’s feelings and opinions in mind, too. To do so, avoid these common mistakes: don’t assume your viewpoint is obvious; don’t exaggerate; don’t challenge someone’s character or integrity; don’t blame others for your feelings; don’t tell others what they should do; and don’t say “It’s not personal.”

  • Training Industry |
    To Be More Inclusive, Stop Encouraging Courage

    Having just published a book called “Choosing Courage” (HBR Press, 2021), you’d think I’d be in favor of encouraging courage within an organization. Certainly, I’m all for more courageous action when it’s ourselves we’re talking about. We all have just one shot at being our best selves and making our greatest possible mark on the world through our work.

  • MIT Sloan Management Review |
    The Courage to be Candid

    It takes a surprising amount of bravery for employees to point out ways organizations can learn and improve. Leaders can make it easier for people to speak up.

    How to Call Out Racial Injustice at Work

    Raising issues about racial injustice at work takes courage and brings risk for anyone — but especially for Black employees. Jim and co-author Laura Morgan Roberts show that you can speak up more effectively, and offer five strategies to mitigate those risks.

    The High Stakes of Hiring and Promoting: What You Should Be Considering

    If an organization wants to attract new business and promote revenue growth, whom should it promote? These decisions are pivotal to the success of a company but are prone to implicit bias as illustrated in the real example Jim shares.

    A Love for Leadership, a 'Meh' for Management: Fair?

    The word "leader" implies inspiring and motivating types of behavior, whereas "manager" evokes attending to budgets, hiring, and supervising. In this brief description of a multi-study research stream, Jim and fellow researchers Kevin Kniffin and Hannes Leroy explain how our love of leadership can come at the cost of neglecting important management behaviors and skilled managers, and what might be done to enhance consciousness about the decision-making biases these words can lead to.0

    What Leaders Need Now More Than Ever: A 'Team of Rivals'

    Leaders know that they’re supposed to say they value input from anyone, anywhere in the organization. Often, though, their behavior suggests differently. Jim asks a provocative question for leaders: in the last week has someone challenged you? If not, he suggests, perhaps you've built a team of team of fearful sycophants not a constructive "team of rivals."

Choosing courage in key moments can protect others, help solve problems and avert disasters, lead to opportunities seized, and to various forms of innovation and growth.

It can inspire commitment, bolster trust, and lead others to act more courageously. Choosing courage helps you build the legacy you want and avoid regrets you don’t want.

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