Small Business Administration chief Maria Contreras-Sweet says she's inspired by her mother, an immigrant who raised six children while working at a poultry processing plant. Contreras-Sweet's mother had confidence and raised her children to have the same sense of self-worth. "I think that's important to instill in our young girls -- that we matter, we deserve to be heard and we deserve to be treated equally," she says.
Leaders need to give their workers the space to succeed, but that doesn't mean taking a hands-off approach, writes Jennifer V. Miller. "The best leaders are still connected to those they lead, offering coaching, support and mentorship when needed," she explains.
Benjamin Franklin, Marcel Proust and Ludwig van Beethoven had different careers and habits to get them in a creative mood, but each found what worked to stir insight and productivity. Oliver Burkeman distills six broad lessons from these and other thinkers but warns that there's no substitute for "immeasurable talent and extremely hard work."
Companies need more common sense, writes Shannon Alter. A lack of basic judgment can sink even the most technologically capable companies and is a turn-off for customers. "We all want to hire employees who have technical skills, confidence and leadership qualities. But we also need team members who have what your mom likely called good old common sense," Alter writes.
Too many leaders focus solely on communicating the performance results they desire, when they should also express how they expect employees to behave while achieving these results, Chris Edmonds writes. When leaders emphasize only results, research shows that employees become less motivated when they aren't being monitored, and office power struggles become more common, Edmonds writes.