What is leadership, free HR eBook



Exclusive HR eBook: What is Leadership? Download free

HR Editorial, 21 Sep 2011


Read the latest thinking from Dave Ulrich HR’s Most Influential 2011, top-ranked international thinker.

What is Leadership? A seemingly simple question, to whose answer Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood bring many years of experience. In this exclusive eBook for HR magazine they discuss their unique solution –  follow four principles and great results will emerge from great leaders.

Dave Ulrich is a professor of business at the University of Michigan and a co-founder of the RBL Group, an education and consulting firm. He has published 12 books and more than 100 articles, and has consulted and carried out research with over half of the Fortune 200. He was voted HR Most Influential International Thinker 2011.

This is the second eBook Ulrich has produced for HR magazine.

Norm Smallwood is co-founder of RBL Group. He is co-author of six books and more than 100 articles.

Download  what is leadership?

Work-Life balance

On leading blog we read an interesting review of Matthew Kelly’s book Off Balance in his book he makes the point that people want to “live deeply satisfying lives both personally and professionally.” He then goes on to point out that before you can get there you need to know what you want. In his words:

So we need to begin with self-knowledge. “Satisfaction does not arise from simply having experiences and things, but rather from having the experiences and things that you deem important.” Kelly has developed a system to increase the level of personal and professional satisfaction in your life that involves five steps, beginning of course with assessment:

Assessment. What brings you satisfaction? (There is an Off-Balance Assessment in the book and online at FloydConsulting.com) This process says Kelly, allows us to pinpoint an element of our dissatisfaction and create a prescription to overcome it. 

Priorities. What matters most to you? (Priority Exercise Worksheet PDF) While these may change over time, it is essential that we clearly define them or we become victims of the tyranny of the urgent. 

Core Habits. What are the daily habits that keep you healthy, focused and energized? For example, workout, meditation, proper diet, maintaining relationships. “What one thing, if done every day, would change your life markedly?” 

Weekly Strategy Session. What is the key project that should have your attention and be your starting point for each day of the week? Our lives are destined for underachievement and dissatisfaction if we don’t learn to plan and strategize personally. 

Quarterly Review. Every three months review what is working will in your life, review what you said you would do in the last ninety days; outline the key objectives in your life at this time; share your plan to accomplish these objectives.

Our management point about Motivation is in line with this thinking. You need to “get a life” before you can be successful in management, you also need to get  to know yourself, not only to figure out what the right balance is between work and life and what your form of satisfying life would look like, but you need to also get to know yourself to be able to understand how you evaluate situations and other people. Once you understand where you come from, what triggers you, what makes you happy or sad, you will be able to better understand the world around you and anticipate things that will impact you. There is lots more to this as we go deeper into how things that happen make you react. Remember, a temperature is a fact, you finding it hot or cold is a reaction that only you control. Similar in management, things happen, people react, but how you react is depending on your ability to control the space between your two ears.

Andrew Thompson of Proteus

Here is a piece of an interview that Adam Bryant did with Andrew Thompson of Proteus. In the full interview that you can find HERE they make some very good points but I want to highlight these points below specifically:


Q. How do you hire?

A. I always say to everyone at Proteus that we don’t hire pegs, we hire people. We have job descriptions, but we’re looking for very capable authentic personalities. We hire in teams, so that’s really important.  So there’s no individual hiring.  And we hire across functions, so you don’t just get to hire within your area.

The single most important aspect of the hiring process is the human interaction — the cultural fit and the person’s raw talent.  So we’re very biased toward talent over experience.

Q. Break that down for me.

A. So cultural fit is very clear. It’s about people who talk about impact, and who are authentic about it and can be specific about places or spaces they’ve been where they’ve made an impact.  That matters because we’re a very impact-driven and purpose-driven company. We want people who come to work with their head, their heart and their hands. All of it.  You want the whole person walking through the door.

If somebody doesn’t have passions, that’s a problem. People who like risk and who are biased to action have some passions.  They have things that they’re excited about.  It could be their kids.  It could be their sports.  It could be their sewing machine.  It could be all kinds of things.  But they have it.  If they don’t, and if all they want is a paycheck and they don’t really care where they get a job, that will come through, too. And frankly, some people are like that, and some people want to go to work with their hands, and they want to leave their head and their heart somewhere else.

The points raised here are well taken, they seem to make the best use of their resources, and it starts right with hiring. He says:”we don’t hire pegs” referring to trying to put a round peg in a square hole. This is a very good point. Obviously folks need to be able to have the skills and capabilities to work on your product but beyond that the resources need to be approached flexible so that you can get most benefit of the wide variety of options people bring to their jobs. The clarification about passion comes back in our article about motivation, one of our 10 points of management, and is key to driving a successful team.