/Ed Batista

Questions For A New Leader tl;dr: A set of questions to guide these initial conversations, relevant for a new leader in any situation: (1) What are the things you are hoping I don't change? (2) What are the things you secretly hope I do change? (3) What are the good things about this organization we should build on? (4) If you were me, what would you do first? (5) Why isn't the organization doing better? And more.

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Group Dynamics: Very Loud (and Very Quiet) People tl;dr: "If you're a leader with an unusually loud or unusually quiet team member, what can you do? First, assess your tolerance and that of the other group members for communication styles that differ from your own. Bear in mind that the goal is a more effective group, not simply one that's more comfortable for the majority. Having done that that, what further steps can you take?" Ed outlines the various tools at your disposal.

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Why Some Feedback Hurts (and What To Do About It) tl;dr: Ed highlights the physiological impact of negative feedback and social threat it creates. "Research shows that reframing can reduce stress levels and increase our abilities to manage negative emotions." When receiving feedback, remind yourself that your perception that feedback is threatening is rooted in well-understood neurological dynamics. Ed also shows us how to respond to such feedback.

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How to Deliver Bad News tl;dr: 3 steps: (1) State what happened. The most important step is initiating the conversation. It's common to downplay bad news or share the bare minimum. (2) Provide an explanation for the cause. This may be embarrassing, particularly if your action or inaction was a contributing factor but trying to avoid acknowledging your embarrassment often makes it worse. (3) Here's what you're planning to do: this gives the other parties the benefit of your thinking while signaling your openness to theirs.

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The Problem With Fighting Fires tl;dr: "The problem isn't that you're too busy. If you view being busy as the problem, there's no solution. You will always be too busy, and that'll never change." The problem is that "you're acting like a firefighter instead of a fire marshal. You're rushing from one fire to the next, never slowing down to install smoke detectors" and, likely, "you're really good at fighting fires."

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The Value Of Embarrassment tl;dr: The impulse to pretend that nothing has happened is understandable, it carries a cost: You may actually heighten your embarrassment and distress. Instead, by acknowledging and addressing your embarrassment, you: (1) Diminish your embarrassment and the resulting distress. (2) Clarify the situation, restore consistency to your self-presentation, and reduce others' anxiety. (3) Role model a productive response to unwelcome events.

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The Warrior And The Sage tl;dr: A set of attitudes leaders display while enacting these two roles. A warrior's "purpose is overcoming resistance, where life is a series of battles," where a Sage's purpose is "learning and helping others learn, where, life is a series of mysteries to be studied." Ed notes that the Warrior's mindset becomes less useful as leaders grow more senior, and the Sage mindset increasingly important.

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Flawless Teamwork tl;dr: Questions worth asking when considering if a team is achieving full potential: What kind of team we are? Are the right people here? Does everyone know their role? How do we make decisions? Have we built a sense of cohesiveness? Do we know what effectiveness looks like? What happens when we disagree?

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Compasses and Weathervanes (30 Questions for Leaders) tl;dr: "The compass is a popular metaphor for leadership - we value its steadfastness and reliability. The weathervane symbolizes bad leadership - we're skeptical of leaders too easily swayed." The most effective leaders integrate aspects of both so the question isn't "what kind of leader should I be?" but "what kind of leadership is called for at this moment - and am I capable of summoning it?" Ed provides us with 30 questions to navigate this.

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Power Struggles Among Nice People tl;dr: People are driven by 3 distinct needs: a need for achievement, need for power and need for affiliation, and Ed discusses how that plays into power dynamics at companies. "Effective leaders consistently get out of their comfort zone to experiment with new behaviors, especially when such efforts feel awkward or inauthentic." Something Ed encourages us to try.

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