Leadership Skills

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Self-Reports Spur Self-Reflection

The disadvantages of asking people to rate themselves are obvious. For instance: You could fake your way to a higher score, or you might lack self-awareness. But self-report surveys have advantages, too. They make data collection efficient, and nobody but you has 24-7 access to your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. And here’s another benefit many people don’t consider: The act of answering the questions can promote greater self-awareness, which opens the door to self-development.

Ethics as Conversation: A Process for Progress

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Most organizations can agree on what questions to consider before making a decision about marketing, finance, or operations. But many stumble when the issue has ethical consequences. Leaders need to define what set of questions they want to consider when confronted with an issue that has ethical implications. Seven basic questions can get them started.

Leadership Lessons From Your Inner Child

Examining childhood traits such as boldness, experimentation, and resilience may help leaders access these qualities in service of their leadership roles. Rather than trying to learn how to be more creative or innovative, learning how not to lose the innate creativity and curiosity within us is more effective.

The Top MIT SMR Articles of 2018

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In 2018, MIT Sloan Management Review readers gravitated toward new articles that will help them prepare for the future of work, including topics as varied as skills needed in the age of AI and digital communication tools for virtual teams. The most popular article of the year focused on an area high on the list of most CEOs’ agendas: how to transform your organization successfully.

How to Get Others to Adopt Your Recommendation

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When a business is growing fast, decisions can get lost in the fray — especially if it’s unclear that a decision even needs to be made. People in the workplace bring recommendations to four audiences: a manager or top executive (those who approve a recommendation), and peers or a broader set of stakeholders (those who execute a recommendation). To sell an idea and get others to take action, you have to understand what your particular audience needs to hear.

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Every Leader’s Guide to the Ethics of AI

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As artificial intelligence-enabled products and services enter our everyday lives, there’s a big gap between how AI can be used and how it should be used. A 2018 Deloitte survey of AI-aware executives found that 32% ranked ethical issues as one of the top three risks of AI, but most companies don’t yet have specific approaches to grapple with the challenges. Here, we list the seven actions that leaders of AI-oriented companies — regardless of their industry — should consider taking.

The Enabling Power of Trust

Examining skill sets and mind-sets will help leaders understand what it means to be a leader in the digital economy. This will include requirements such as changing mastery, executing excellence, nurturing relationships, and, notably, building a culture of radical trust.

Why Teams Should Record Individual Expectations

To improve decision quality, risk management, and leadership development, organizations and teams should record individual expectations when making big group decisions. That may sound like a tall order, especially for a large organization. But interactive dashboards can make the process of gathering and analyzing everyone’s input much less cumbersome, and the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs.

Using Artificial Intelligence to Promote Diversity

What if, instead of perpetuating harmful biases, AI helped us overcome them? What if our systems were taught to ignore data about race, gender, sexual orientation, and other characteristics that aren’t relevant to the decisions at hand? They can do all that — with guidance from the human experts who create, train, and refine them.

Critical Questions Live: Is It up to Business to Save the Planet?

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Climate change is the existential threat of our time, but the U.S. government is abdicating its responsibility to address it. So, should business be taking the lead? Andrew Winston, author of The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World, and Yossi Sheffi, Elisha Gray II Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT and Director of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, take on the question.

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The Trouble With Cybersecurity Management

To better prepare for growing cyber threats, organizations and managers must build awareness about the complexity of cybersecurity and adopt training programs that mimic real-world scenarios. One option is “management flight simulators” that let experienced and novice managers run simulations to learn how to respond to cyberattacks.

Let’s Dig In

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On Oct. 2 and 3, MIT SMR is dropping its paywall — all of the content is freely available to visitors. Readers will have immediate access to ideas, research, benchmarks and tools, all grounded in the reality of our technologically driven economy and society. We’re offering some recommendations, based on what readers tell us are some of the most pressing problems they’re facing right now.

There’s Always a Time Lag (With a Price Tag)

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Technology changes faster than society can keep up, a pattern now playing out with artificial intelligence. Many CEOs are taking a wait-and-see approach to AI, while others are anxious to barrel forward. In both cases, there’s little conversation about AI’s human costs. Incremental adaption makes it more likely that AI algorithms shared across organizations and geography are spreading their shortcomings. Leaders must act to mitigate these challenges if AI is to benefit society.

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Need Motivation at Work? Try Giving Advice

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Research shows that giving advice is key to restoring confidence and motivation, which are two important factors for achieving long-term goals. So, instead of having struggling employees seek advice, it’s helpful to have them give it to others.

AI-Driven Leadership

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Not many companies are there yet, but there’s a developing framework for what it takes to lead an AI-driven company. Leaders at the forefront of AI have seven key attributes: They learn the technologies; establish clear business objectives; set an appropriate level of ambition; look beyond pilots and proofs of concept; prepare people for the journey; get the necessary data; and orchestrate collaborative organizations.

Building an Ethically Strong Organization

Unethical behavior and misconduct has been a persistent problem in the business world. A company’s ethical norms are a cumulative outcome of how daily ethical dilemmas are addressed in the workplace. Over time, these micro-level issues can evolve into a corporate ethics scandal — unless organizations work to help employees make ethical choices day to day.

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