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Leading Off
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Leadership, the subject of this new McKinsey newsletter, is at once a research area, a practical skill, and a sprawling advice industry. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the qualities of the best leaders are on display: deftly managing existential shocks, demonstrating genuine human care, and envisioning new ways to direct and empower people for a different future.
Each week on Monday, we’ll curate and deliver the most useful coaching McKinsey can gather to guide your leadership in the coming week: great research to think about, inspiring interviews, and quotations to focus your energy.
Re-onboard yourself and others
In this crisis, Stanford professors Hayagreeva “Huggy” Rao and Bob Sutton see the opportunity for leaders to demonstrate personal responsibility, care, and a fresh start. “We are all new hires,” they write, because organizations are materially different than they were just a few months ago. As a result, unplanned experiments are everywhere. Take advantage of this rich learning lab and pick some employees to lead in new ways of working.
That’s the share of US adults who reported in a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll that worries and stress over the coronavirus have negatively affected their mental health.
The pandemic has plagued organizations with an undercurrent of emotional disturbance, characterized by rising levels of anxiety, depression, fear, and stress. Learn how you can better support bringing people together and reimagining normalcy from this conversation among experts Richard Boyatzis, Amy Edmondson, and McKinsey’s Aaron De Smet and Bill Schaninger.
Hubert Joly
Explored your purpose lately?
Play Button Explored your purpose lately? It wasn’t long ago that defining corporate purpose seemed a leisurely exercise in public relations. Now the COVID-19 crisis is forcing leaders to define their company’s reason for being—or risk being defined by an inadequate response. In this interview, Best Buy’s former CEO Hubert Joly describes how leading with purpose and humanity connects the dots among executives, customers, partners, and shareholders by putting people first.
“A leader’s job is to provide that recognition of roles and functions within the group that will permit each member to satisfy and fullfill some major motive or interest.”
So concludes W. C. H. Prentice’s 1961 classic “Understanding Leadership,” as published in the Harvard Business Review. The language is often dated, but the insight is foundational: in the end, leading is about enabling others to achieve goals.
Positively you
The mood you set—with individuals, teams, large organizations—can foster calm and optimistic energy or sow doubt and uncertainty.
Don’t pass up a chance to better understand the unspoken messages that you send and establish a positive leader’s stance to help your colleagues and company cope and rebound better.
Lead well.
— Edited by Bill Javetski
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