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Leading Off
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Crises crystallize a leader’s agenda. Today, you’re looking after your teams’ health, their livelihoods, and your company’s recovery strategy. Not much room for self-reflection, is there? But there should be. It’s healthy to reflect on your own purpose, and it’s smart to ask yourself how you’re learning, growing, and adapting the skills you need. Need role models? We’ve got ’em.
Ponder your purpose
In times of crisis, individual purpose can help people face up to uncertainties and navigate them better, mitigating the damaging effects of long-term stress. McKinsey research finds that people who say they are “living their purpose” at work report levels of well-being that are five times higher than those of people who aren’t. Purpose, it turns out, can even reduce the risk of dementia and stroke. Try our interactive tool to explore what drives your sense of purpose.
‘He says, “If you develop into a fully formed person ….” I was like, “If?”’
Mellody Hobson, co-CEO and president of Ariel Investments, reflects on a conversation she had with former basketball star and US senator Bill Bradley that left her “fundamentally changed.” In an interview with McKinsey’s James Manyika, Hobson explores mentoring, diversity, feedback, and the “tough medicine” that shapes our lives and the ways we empower others to lead.
That’s the number of ways that people think about their own abilities that can accelerate—or stifle—personal and career goals.
Do you believe that personality characteristics, talents, and abilities are finite, unchangeable resources? That fixed mindset stymies learning because it eliminates the permission not to know something, to struggle, and to fail. In contrast, a growth mindset suggests that you can grow, expand, evolve, and change. See what it means to be—or to become—an intentional learner. It isn’t that hard to do, both for yourself and for those you lead.
Richard Thaler
Write stuff down
Play Button We all have cognitive biases, and it’s good to check up on yours to make sure they aren’t skewing important decisions you’re making at work and in your personal life. Build a valuable skill by learning to “write stuff down” with Richard Thaler, 2017’s Nobel laureate in economics. He’s spent decades exploring how individuals and organizations sometimes act against their own best interests and how they can challenge assumptions and change behaviors.
Positively you
Warren Buffett
One for the ages
Warren Buffett turned 90 a few months ago, and he’s still providing investors and leaders alike with valuable lessons. His patience, caution, and consistency are the trademark qualities that explain his wealth-generating prowess, writes McKinsey’s Tim Koller, coauthor of Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies, which is in its seventh edition (John Wiley & Sons, June 2020). Volatile times like these call for fast responses and quick action. Buffett teaches us that enduring leaders draw significant advantages from keeping the long term in mind.
Lead well.
— Edited by Bill Javetski, an executive editor in the New Jersey office.
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