It's tempting to buy into the idea that leaders must be aggressive and confrontational, but the truth is quite different, writes Keith Danko. Most successful leaders actually take a more conciliatory approach behind the scenes. "Understanding the limits of confrontation and seeing the other side of any issue are key skills that leaders must master," Danko writes.
Insomnia results in an average of 11.3 days of lost productivity per worker per year, researchers say. "The conversation about sleep deprivation is dominated by sleep scientists and self help gurus. ... It needs desperately to have people in the organizational change, workplace advocacy and legal [fields] to help reframe the agenda," says sleep expert Russell Sanna.
WD-40 has grown into a global brand by doing what it does well instead of chasing "that shiny new penny," says CEO Garry Ridge. "We've doubled our business in the last 10 years and we know we can double it again in the next 10. All it takes is focus," he says.
Microsoft's $7.5 billion write-down on its Nokia phone-unit acquisition is a sign of the degree to which the industry as a whole has changed, says Horace Dediu. Few people could have predicted the swiftness of the decline of companies such as Nokia and BlackBerry, Dediu explains. "[W]hen it happens to everyone, it's an extinction event. A whole bunch of companies were disrupted. And it happened in the blink of an eye," he says.
Outgoing "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart has a knack for making people laugh as well as inspiring his team of writers and performers to strive for new heights, writes Sydney Finkelstein. "Many of us aim for financial or professional success. Stewart achieved both by helping others to build their careers and realize their full potential," Finkelstein writes.
Nelson Mandela's historic successes came about because he made a point of getting to know his enemies, say John Carlin and Paddy Miller. While in prison, Mandela learned to speak Afrikaans, the language of his jailers, and studied their culture and history. "The methods he deployed to obtain his objectives as leader are of enormous value to corporate leaders," Carlin says.
Fitbit CEO James Park released data from his company's devices to show how his body reacted leading up to Fitbit's initial public offering. His heart rate was generally steady, with occasional spikes due to things like tough analyst questions. "A lot of times you welcome it because good, tough questions also force us to think more clearly about the business," he says.
Yelp, the publicly traded customer-review site, is seeing employees poached by venture capital-backed startups that can outbid the struggling company. Investors are unhappy the company missed revenue and hiring targets, and Yelp is phasing out national advertising because such ads don't work on its mobile app. The solution for Yelp may simply be to find a buyer, analysts say.
Presentation skills can be used to improve your executive presence, writes Stephanie Scotti, who offers advice on using them to your advantage. "I've observed that if you develop one area, then everything recalibrates and all your skills go up a notch. So don't try to do everything at once," she writes.
Good leaders set smart goals for their workers, writes Andre Lavoie, CEO of ClearCompany. That means having a transparent and flexible goal-setting process, and finding ways to link goals to broader company priorities and to the employee's need for growth and development.