10 New Truths Great Leaders Know That Most People Don’t

Lolly Daskal founder of Leader from Within gives her take on what ‘new leadership’ looks like, originally published in Inc.

managers meeting

Like any other field, leadership goes through trends and changes–and if you want to be successful, you need to stay on top of them. Old-school leadership is just that, and what we do today is very different. To understand leadership, you need to be able to separate historic thought from current practice.

Help your thinking develop with these concepts from contemporary leadership:

1. Authenticity and transparency rule. In the age of social media, there’s no getting away with dishonesty or cover-ups. If you or your company lies, cheats, or fudges numbers, the odds that you will be exposed are higher than ever.

2. Your brand is your reputation. It used to be that when people talked about reputation they focused on your public character and your past. Today your personal brand is your reputation–and it’s what you say and do today that defines how people perceive you. Make sure your brand represents you well.

3. If you’re not social you’re missing the boat. As a leader you need to be able to communicate and be visible, and in today’s world that means not just being present on social media, but being savvy and having something to say. Hiding behind a closed boardroom door is no longer an option.

4. Collaboration is the new currency. If you’re not sharing, partnering, or collaborating, you’re failing to engage in the new currency of business. The price–and it’s a significant one–will be paid by your leadership and your organization.

5. New choices abound. Around 35 percent of the current workforce is self-employed, and the numbers are just getting larger. People are switching careers in midlife and thinking entrepreneurially. There are still a few people who take a nine-to-five job in the field they majored in, but the age of knowing you have to please a boss to get ahead is over.

6. Interconnection means freedom. It used to be that leadership controlled the conversation. Now, with email, the Internet, and social media close at hand for so many people, the leadership of power has been replaced by a leadership of connectedness.

7. People want a say in their future. If you try to lead with hierarchy, you will be challenged–and it’s not likely you’ll fare well. Those who seek power and love bureaucracy will find it harder to survive as organizations become flatter, which puts more accountability in the hands of each employee and even clients.

8. Community is critical. Organizations don’t exist in a vacuum, and there is no room for dictatorship in contemporary leadership. Cultivating a community requires the kind of leadership that encourages people to work for a shared vision and a shared goal.

9. If you don’t lean in, you’re heading out. We’re listening more to those who have learned how to lean in, to take a more active role in leadership where they did not have a voice before. to be more assertive at work and not let biases keep them from pushing forward.

read the rest and more at inc.com

Company Runs Without Managers

Fascinating article by Inc’s David Burkus. Holocracy, Does it work in practice? (read more at inc.com)

managers meeting

To most business professionals, the idea of  firing your managers sounds insane. However some of the most successful companies do in fact run manager-less, while others have found ways to push some of the management function down to the level of those who are being managed. In either case, more and more leaders are discovering that employees are most productive and engaged when they control their own destiny.

Employees at Valve Software don’t have to take orders from ‘the boss.’ That’s because, at the Bellevue, Washington-based company, there are no bosses to give orders.

As I write about in Under New Management, Valve is a company with no managers. They don’t believe in managers, or job descriptions. When new people join the company, they rotate around on various projects, talk to lots of people, and then decide which project (or projects) to jump into full-time.

Valve isn’t just a small handful of programmers working in a garage either. The company was founded in 1996 by Mike Harrington and Gabe Newell. The company grew organically and quickly based on the success of its critically acclaimed game series Half-Life. The company has grown dramatically from the original partnership to more than 400 people.

Ordinarily, that type of growth would require a fairly rigid hierarchy to manage everyone and keep them working in the right direction. But Harrington and Newell chose to ignore the traditional structure and to build something that would allow innovative and talented people to thrive.

In fact, what Valve employees work on changes so much each day that every employee’s desk is equipped with wheels and organized such that only two cords need to be unplugged before it can be rolled to wherever it’s needed in the shop.

There are lots of people, however, to tell them what they could do. Since Valve has no managers, all projects are started by an individual employee or a group pitching an idea and then recruiting a team. If enough people join the group, the project starts. Sometimes an individual employee is referred to as the ‘leader’ for a project, but everyone knows that this simply means that this person is keeping track of all of the information and organizing what’s being done — not giving orders.

There are also lots of people to tell employees how they’re doing. Valve may not have managers, but it does have a performance management system in place. A designated set of employees interview everyone in the company and ask who they’ve worked with since the last peer review session. They ask about their experiences working with each person. That feedback is collected and anonymized, and then every employee is given a report on their peers’ experiences working with them.

Valve also empowers all of its employees to make hiring decisions, which it describes as “the most important thing in the universe.” Valve attributes the success of its organizational design to hiring the smartest, most innovative, and most talented people it can find. The company’s handbook reminds employees, “Any time you interview a potential hire, you need to ask yourself not only if they’re talented or collaborative but also if they’re capable of literally running this company, because they will be.”

The leaders of companies like Valve have discovered something that researchers have known for decades: when individuals feel free to determine what they’re working on or how they work, they’re more motivated, more loyal and more productive. While Valve’s almost free-form structure may not be ideal for every company, the lessons learned here about improved productivity and engagement are of use to all.

read more at inc.com


Free markets are a thing of the past. We can now see the economic consequences of governments controlling markets, education, health and welfare and it is frightening. The debt levels of nations around the world is beyond recovery. Collapse and anarchy are imminent. The video below reveals the details you need to know so you can plan accordingly. The series by R.C.Sproul Jnr is excellent.