Leadership Skills

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Tell Your Colleagues: MIT SMR Is Unlocked Today Through Thursday

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On Oct. 8-10, 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.

Choose Charts Everyone Understands

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Complex charts are good for aggregating data and then digging into it, especially if users can click on sections to find additional material or generate custom data sets. But interactive data visualizations aren’t always necessary — and sometimes, they’re just too complicated. While complex charts are good for exploring data, a classic bar chart, line chart, or pie chart is often best for communicating information.

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The Downstream Damage of the Leadership Skills Gap

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Despite companies’ efforts to invest in leadership development, studies show that managerial skills gaps are increasingly common. The downstream effects of these gaps negatively affect not only businesses but extend to the global economy as well. To address this critical problem, leaders must place increased focus on their own development as managers in order to facilitate an increase in productivity across the board.

Closing the Gender Gap Is Good for Business

While the corporate world has made progress in advancing women’s careers in leadership roles, there is a long way to go to achieve workplace gender equality. By supporting women’s career development and advancing them into managerial positions, a company’s customers, teams, and bottom line will benefit.

How Previous Generations Influence Our Decisions

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Folktales and stories from our ancestors were designed to keep new listeners from repeating the mistakes of the past. But in an era when employees move between companies at a faster pace than decades ago, leaving little time to transmit organizational mythology, are companies at risk of losing touch with the lessons of the past? In a time of great technological change, which demands reflection and clear corporate culture, this is a vital question.

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What Does an AI Ethicist Do?

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Microsoft has been active in advocating for an ethical perspective on artificial intelligence, and in 2018 it appointed its first general manager for AI policy and ethics. Tim O’Brien, who had been with the company for 15 years, says his activities as “AI ethics advocate” include extending the community of people who are focused on the ethics topic, meeting with Microsoft customers, and leading a research effort to develop a global perspective on tech ethics.

Older and Wiser? How Management Style Varies With Age

The starting point for managing age diversity is to develop a basic understanding of cross-age differences in working style. The authors found that management style varied more with age than with any other characteristic in their survey. Younger managers prefer narrower approaches to management, while older ones tend to work through others and focus on the big picture. Being attuned to style differences can make it easier for individuals to navigate their working relationships effectively.

How to Become a Strategic Leader

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For managers, it can be easy to fall into the trap of assuming that simply engaging in high-level product and business discussion is “being strategic.” But with this approach, leaders may be neglecting the core problems their organizations need to address most. By investing more time in three key activities, new and experienced managers alike can become better strategic leaders.

The False Choice Between Business and Ethics

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Should there be an imperative — moral or otherwise — to consider what’s fair when making a business transaction? Many say that it’s perfectly ethical to profit from an asymmetry of information, where, for instance, one party is paying much more for an item or service than others would say it’s worth. But other people are working to integrate the business case with the ethics case. They reject a narrow, transactional view of business in favor of a more relationship-oriented approach.

Five Strategies for Investing in Your Career

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Whether you are a long-tenured leader in your organization, a new manager, or an individual contributor with rising responsibilities, it’s always valuable to take stock of your career path and make investments for the future. These five strategies offer practical steps for motivated employees looking to stay ahead of the pack.

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Four Profiles of Successful Digital Executives

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Hoping a jack-of-all-trades can lead your organization’s digital transition is unrealistic. We found four distinct types of successful digital executives who can best provide vision and purpose for digital. Crucially, each type has unique strengths and performs best in different contexts.

A Shared Passion for Place Can Make a Business More Resilient

Leaders are increasingly strangers in the places where their organizations reside. With greater mobility and a disconnect from a physical office space, many leaders have identities that are not tied to one location. Yet leaders who lack a clear “passion for place” and well-established stakeholder connections might be putting their companies at a disadvantage during times of hardship.

How Digital Leadership Is(n’t) Different

Many of us assume that the leadership handbook must be completely rewritten for the digital age. Is this true? Or are we overly focused on what’s changing and thus neglecting the fundamentals? There is something to be said for both arguments. While many core leadership skills remain the same, the demands of digital disruption call for certain new ones, as well. This article explores which are which and what we can learn from organizations that are digitally maturing.

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