Leadership Skills

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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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Finding the Middle Ground in a Politically Polarized World

Consumers and employees increasingly expect companies to engage with social, environmental, and economic issues. But business leaders can find themselves between a rock and a hard place, especially when corporate political activism is framed as “take a stand or be silent.” The reality is that companies need a more nuanced set of options.

Bringing Lessons From #MeToo to the Boardroom

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  • Read Time: 7 min 

In the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp social movements — not to mention the continuing wave of resignations amid misconduct allegations — sexual harassment policies must be on your board’s agenda. This is true regardless of whether the organization is public, private, or nonprofit. For the sake of all its stakeholders, employees, and customers, directors need to do the right thing — and do it now.

With Goals, FAST Beats SMART

The conventional wisdom of goal setting is so deeply ingrained that managers rarely stop to ask if it works. The traditional approach to goals — the annual cycle, privately set and reviewed goals, and a strong linkage to incentives — can actually undermine the alignment, coordination, and agility that’s needed for a company to execute its strategy.

The Ability to Navigate the In-Between Spaces

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Efforts to effectively connect decision-makers in large organizations across functions, divisions, and business units — not to mention with other companies, governments, and other external stakeholders — usually require organizational innovations. Several key leadership attributes are necessary for this to work. They include the ability to navigate the gaps not covered by specialists, a record of following through and getting things done, and knowledge of other cultures, including the ability to speak multiple languages.

The Mindsets of a Leader

Researchers have identified six distinct mindsets that contribute to leaders’ portfolio of leadership styles by asking one simple question: Whom do the leaders serve? Identifying these mindsets can help companies recognize how the leader’s styles are helping — or hurting — their performance.

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MIT SMR Unlocked for All Visitors

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On March 20 and 21, MIT Sloan Management Review is unlocking its site, allowing visitors to freely explore all of our articles, reports, posts, videos, webinars, tools, and case studies. Why? We’re celebrating our ongoing growth and invite new and long-term customers to celebrate with us. We work to collect here the best new ideas, research, and tools, and we want to give visitors the chance to experience all of it.

What Sets ‘Superbosses’ Apart From Other Leaders?

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In a Q&A, Sydney Finkelstein, the author of Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent, notes that employees entering the workforce today have technological capabilities unmatched by any workforce before them. That’s changing the way leaders must operate. Today’s best leaders embrace technology as a management tool but retain a human touch, creating opportunities for the employees they manage and enabling flexible work practices.

Tangled Webs and Executive Naïveté

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Leaders in a digital world have to navigate more complexity than ever before, where a problem that arises in one node of such network work can spread easily, with widespread adverse impact. But complexity-induced problems often have similar fundamental causes — and similar solutions. Leaders can ameliorate the effects of complexity by developing broader, not just deeper, perspectives; learning to think in terms of scenarios; and being clear about strategic intent.

The 20 Most Popular MIT Sloan Management Review Articles of 2017

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  • Read Time: 4 min 

The impact of artificial intelligence on the future of work and organizations was an especially popular topic on MIT Sloan Management Review’s website in 2017. But AI wasn’t the only subject on readers’ minds. Other widely read pieces of new content addressed timely issues like digital transformation and design thinking — as well as perennially important topics such as innovation, strategy execution, problem formulation, and negative emotions in the workplace.

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