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Newsletter Issue 40

Every few weeks, I ask one question to a founder, CEO, manager, or business owner I respect…

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The Heartbeat Podcast: A chat with Camille Fournier

Camille Fournier is the Managing Director of Two Sigma, and the author of The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change. Her book, in fact, is one of the most highly recommended book by our members in The Watercooler community! In our conversation, we chat about the less control you have the more senior you become, how outcomes are often overlooked as a leader, and the importance of getting the right person in the door. Watch or listen to our conversation below.


Listen to the podcast and read the transcript of the interview here.


What I’ve been writing lately

The hardest leadership advice to follow
“Yes, conventional wisdom says to “sleep on it”, to step away from the work to get a fresh perspective on it. […] But, if I’m being honest with myself, how often do I personally act on that recommendation?”

A different kind of new manager checklist
“I think any attempt at an “answer” to becoming a better leader lies in the questions we can ask ourselves along the way.”

What great managers do: Prune
“Pruning [is] done periodically, only when the season is fitting. If you prune all the time and you can accidentally over prune a plant and deprive it of nutrients. Leadership is similar.”

Am I micromanaging my team?
“Wouldn’t your team want to know your opinion? They might. But when you assert your opinion before they ask for it, you can obligate a team member to do something your way.”

What I’ve been reading lately

Unleashing the power of small, independent teams
“The challenge for senior executives in an agile organization is clear but difficult: empower small teams with great independence and resources while retaining accountability.” Written by Oliver Bossert, Alena Kretzberg, and Jürgen Laartz, McKinsey Quarterly

Older and Wiser? How Management Style Varies With Age
“While younger managers prefer narrower, more technical approaches, older ones tend to work through others and focus on the big picture.” Written by Julian Birkinshaw, James Manktelow, Vittorio D’Amato, Elena Tosca, and Francesca Macchi, MIT Sloan Management Review

How intermittent breaks in interaction improve collective intelligence
“Instead of supporting more transparency, the results imply that technologies and organizations should be redesigned to intermittently isolate people from each other’s work for best collective performance in solving complex problems.” Written by Ethan Bernstein, Jesse Shore, and David Lazer

3 Daily Actions That Set the Tone for Workplace Culture
“Some leaders mistakenly assume that organizational culture is simply a social phenomenon. But culture is more about employees’ shared values, thoughts, rituals and behaviors.” Written by Craig Kamins, Gallup

The Little Things That Affect Our Work Relationships
“…because relationships are all different, not everyone’s reaction to a micromove will be the same. For instance, when Kerry, Dana Harari, and Jennifer Carson Marr examined the effect of sharing a weakness with a coworker, they found that it damaged relationships if the person divulging a vulnerability was of higher status — but not when that person was the coworker’s peer.” Written by Kerry Roberts GibsonBeth Schinoff, Harvard Business Review

A handy leadership tip

From our online leadership community of 1,000+ managers in The Watercooler in Know Your Team

Vicious circle of clashing personalities – what to do?

Advice on how to handle two team members with a sour relationship:

  • One approach – Do something . Ignoring this situation and hoping it resolves itself makes things worse. Run 1:1s with each and then facilitate a dialogue between them. Coach folks to make sure what’s being discussed is tangible, actionable, and precise.
  • Another approach – Do nothing (or close to nothing). Make them have a direct dialogue to resolve it. Too much mediation in the middle can be counterproductive, as you can end up with a lot of “she says, he says.” Without direct confrontation of the issue with the other party, people maintain their preconceived (and often wrong) diagnosis of what the other person thinks and what their motivations are. Our role as leaders can be to encourage (even force) those conversations and also coach them on how to have those conversations productively.

Just for fun

The Glorious, Almost-Disconnected Boredom of My Walk in Japan
Beautifully written piece by Craig Mod: “I wanted to experience time.”

Written by Claire Lew

CEO of Know Your Team. My mission in life is to help people become happier at work. Say hi to me on Twitter at @clairejlew.

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