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Phil’s Picks for January: Growth Mindset resolves a leadership paradox

1. We are not alone!

I have been a bit worried, I have to admit. I mean, 10 years after setting up the world’s first online global community of practice for leaders, and eight years of running one inside a FTSE 100 company, winning awards and all that good stuff, a big bit of me was thinking … If this is indeed the future of leadership development, why are we the only ones doing it?

Growth Mindset

And now we’re not. Phew. I’ve been talking at length with Jen Alexander at Specsavers and they have created a very clever global leadership community of practice. Which has re-convinced me (if that’s even a word) that we are right to have started this.

And the rest of the leadership development world is just taking its time to catch up.

I’m writing an article about Specsavers’ community and the transferable lessons. Watch this space.

2. Authentic means ugly

Wonderful talk on ‘The Ugly Room’ and how authentic leadership means embracing the ugly, and how to do that, spotted by my colleague, Danny.

'The Ugly Room' - Authentic Leadership

3. Nice reminder of the work of Carol Dweck

in this article spotted by another colleague of mine, Clement, ‘The Impact of a Growth Mindset on Employee Engagement’.

The ‘Ugly Room’ and ‘Growth Mindset’ need to be taken together, if possible, as they help resolve a leadership paradox.

I’ve stuck 2. and 3. together here, as they help resolve the apparent paradox between positive psychology (where you can end up ignoring the blemishes in the drive to keep everyone motivated and upbeat) and negativism or over-criticality of individuals, team or organization, which can go under cover as a ‘sub-culture’ for lack of any other outlet, and/or can undermine the team or organisation

Jim Collins’s Stockdale Paradox and Gramsci’s ‘Pessimism of the Intellect and Optimism of the Will’ are, neither of them, a solution to the tension between optimism and pessimism or positivism and negativism. Confront reality, as Larry Bossidy said. Warts and all. But remain inspiring and keep people inspired.

Hey, no-one said this leadership stuff was easy: it involves taking apparent opposites and reconciling them in many cases.

Phil Dourado


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