The December HBR Was Written for Me

The December issue of Harvard Business Review must have been written personally for me. Some great articles (subscribers only):

Incompetent and they don’t even know it:

Incompetence, the study demonstrated, represents a dismaying troika of cluelessness: Incompetent people don’t perform up to speed, don’t recognize their lack of competence, and don’t recognize the competence of others. “The skills that engender competence in a particular domain are often the very same skills necessary to evaluate competence in that domain,” the researchers conclude. In other words, if incompetents have people reporting to them, their poor judgment may damage careers besides their own. “Unskilled and Unaware of It” is online at

Managing Authenticity:

This is something I take very seriously. The book Authentic Leadership sucked, but this article is plainly awesome! Leadership demands authenticity:

To attract followers, a leader has to be many things to many people. The trick is to pull that off while remaining true to yourself….Let us be absolutely clear: Authenticity is not the product of pure manipulation. It accurately reflects aspects of the leader’s inner self, so it can’t be an act. But great leaders seem to know which personality traits they should reveal to whom and when….Using your complex self (or, rather, selves) requires a degree of self-knowledge and the willingness and ability to share that self-knowledge with others, what we call self-disclosure….This does not necessarily mean helping these leaders develop more of what psychologist Dan Goleman calls emotional intelligence; rather, it means helping them to sharpen their skills in disclosing the emotional intelligence they already have so they can give better performances for their followers….Besides possessing self-knowledge and skills in self-disclosure, great leaders have to be able to recognize which aspects of their authentic selves particular groups of followers are looking for. Most great leaders have highly developed social antennae: They use a complex mix of cognitive and observational skills to recognize what followers are consciously—and unconsciously—signaling to them.

How to utilize good writers:

What’s more, good writers who are consulted early enough can improve the product development process and, potentially, products themselves….In addition, the writer’s act of mastering a product’s or a process’s complexities and then distilling those into simple, clear language for a lay (or expert) reader sometimes reveals flaws, contradictions, or unfulfilled product promises that developers are too close to the project to see. Questions from smart and skillful writers can cause engineers to reconsider a product design element after it has been finalized. When writers are brought in late, the result can be slipped manufacturing and shipping dates, cost overruns, and delayed or lost revenue.

Emotional Intelligence More Important Than IQ:

Considering the mountains of literature about emotional intelligence, you’d think corporate executives would be pretty smart about it. But our research shows that the message still isn’t getting through. During the past five years, we have measured emotional intelligence in more than 100,000 senior executives (including 1,000 CEOs), managers, and line employees across industries on six continents. For each respondent, we measured self-awareness, social-awareness, self-management, and relationship-management skills to yield a cumulative EQ (or “emotional intelligence quotient”) score on a 100-point scale…
Yet, for every job we’ve studied, emotional intelligence is a better predictor of performance than technical skill, experience, or intellect—confirming what psychologist Dan Goleman and others in the field of emotional intelligence have been saying for years.


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