Articles for Managers and Professionals

  • MIT Sloan Management Review |
    Leadership Development Is Failing Us. Here’s How to Fix It

    Executive development programs are big business, but too many fail to yield meaningful results. Here’s how to be a savvy consumer.

  • MIT Sloan Management Review |
    Let’s Call Quiet Quitting What It Often Is: Calibrated Contributing

    For employees who are rationally matching their effort at work to what they get in return in an increasingly unbalanced system, quiet quitting is not the right term.

  • MIT Sloan Management Review |
    Saving Management From Our Obsession With Leadership

    Lofty notions of leadership have captivated our collective imagination — and we’ve underappreciated and underinvested in the everyday management skills that organizations desperately need.

  • Harvard Business Review |
    What Courageous Leaders Do Differently

    Most views of leadership are sub-optimal for the organizations where most types of work get done today. And so it’s time to re-think our view of courage for our modern context.

    Pretending to be fearless no matter how good the reasons to be afraid, or acting like a know-it-all no matter how obvious it is that neither you nor anyone else has all the answers, isn’t impressive. Instead, admit when you don’t know things and apologize if you do the wrong thing.

    Courageous leaders also know that their job is about doing important work on behalf of others. And because there are always going to be differences of opinion and limited resources, they’re willing to engage in difficult conversations and tactfully deliver bad news even if the news may hurt the other person.

    Finally, courageous leaders surround themselves with, and promote, people who help them learn by challenging rather than flattering them. They reward rather than punish those who try new things, even when they don’t go well. They change outdated systems that exclude diverse perspectives.

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

    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.

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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