Good leadership isn't a double-edged sword

Good leadership isn't a double-edged sword | practice (split each time) | Why the backup catcher is the real MVP in work, life
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February 15, 2024
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Leading the Way
Good leadership isn't a double-edged sword
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The samurai code of Bushido isn't about slicing and dicing your way to the top, but rather about the balance of strength and compassion seen in benevolent leaders, writes Lori Tsugawa Whaley, an author and samurai descendant. Leaders can follow Bushido by demonstrating loyalty, integrity and honor and creating an ethical and honest company culture, Whaley writes.
Full Story: Fast Company (tiered subscription model) (2/14) 
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Put it into practice: Whaley shares the story of World War II hero and US Senator Daniel Inouye, who never let life's challenges keep him from being a servant leader. "Inouye's life reflects the core tenets of servant leadership -- putting the needs of others before oneself and fostering a sense of community with empathy toward all."
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SmartBrief on Leadership
Why the backup catcher is the real MVP in work, life
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At work, as in baseball, the backup catcher is steeped in the game but isn't seeking glory -- he's monitoring every play and every person to offer help and guidance, and that thorough knowledge often means he eventually becomes the team manager, consultant John Baldoni writes in his explanation of "The Tao of the Backup Catcher: Playing Baseball for the Love of the Game." Author and baseball journalist Tim Brown says he realized early in his career "that backup catchers really are the soul of the game."
Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (2/14) 
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Put it into practice: "If you will work your whole young life to become strong and clever, to see the game in ways others don't or can't, if you will commit wholly to yourself, the group, the win and today, and if you then will give it all away, then you will be the backup catcher," Brown writes.
Read more from John Baldoni on SmartBrief on Leadership
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Gathering voice-of-employee input too aggressively "can outweigh the benefits from the generated insights," warns consulting firm Gartner, which suggests a more human-centric approach such as listening sessions with managers or focus groups. Active listening involves clearly understanding the employee's point of view and challenges by asking clarifying questions that invite reflection and more details.
Full Story: PR Daily (2/13) 
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Put it into practice: Leaders must define what data they want to collect, how to anonymize it, ways for employees to opt out (or into) the process, what results will be shared with employees and how it will be used to make changes, experts say. The data and active listening can give you a fuller picture of your employees and your company culture.
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In Their Own Words
Jewel: How leading with sincerity led to her success
Jewel (Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)
Singer-songwriter Jewel (whose real name is Jewel Kilcher) spent a year homeless, singing in coffee shops before landing an agent and a record deal, but says she never let her "down and out" tale define her life, instead relying on an inner resilience she now promotes through the Inspiring Children Foundation that she co-founded. "I knew me leading with a lot of sincerity and heart would be really difficult, and it was," says Jewel, "but I'm glad that I did it, and it ended up being the right answer for me and my career."
Full Story: Success magazine (2/2024) 
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Daily Diversion
Rap is not something you expect a group of octogenarian women to belt out, but you haven't met Suni and the Seven Princesses, a South Korean rap group comprised of 81-year-old Park Jeom-sun, (known by her stage name Suni) and her friends who got hooked on the genre after learning a rap song in their adult education class. They write lyrics extolling their rural farm life with lines like "Picking watermelon from a watermelon farm. So happy to be back home!"
Full Story: BBC (2/13),  Reuters (2/13) 
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SmartBreak: Question of the Day
Henry Lewis in 1961 became the first conductor of African American descent to lead a major symphony orchestra. Which one?
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VoteNew Jersey Symphony
About The Editor
Candace Chellew
Candace Chellew
Chellew
The theme of today's brief is servant leadership. Whether we're following the example of former Hawaiian US Senator Daniel Inouye's Bushido style of leadership, being the rock-steady backup catcher for our organization, being dedicated to listening to our teams or emulating the selfless dedication of singer-songwriter Jewel, we understand that leadership is an act of making space for others to grow.

"This is the essence of benevolent leadership, which is about leading with humility, empathy and generosity," writes Lori Tsugawa Whaley.

How do you practice servant leadership? Tell me!

If this newsletter helps you, please tell your colleagues, friends or anyone who can benefit. Forward them this email, or send this link.

What topics do you see in your daily work that I should know about? Do you have praise? Criticism? Drop me a note. And don't forget to send me photos of your pets, your office and where you spend your time off.
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Don't count the days. Make the days count.
Muhammad Ali,
professional heavyweight boxer, activist
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