HBR Articles

Research: When being a humble leader backfires
By Researchers Jia (Jasmine) Hu, Berrin Erdogan, Kaifeng Jiang, and Talya N. Bauer

Researchers Jia (Jasmine) Hu, Berrin Erdogan, Kaifeng Jiang, and Talya N. Bauer collaborated in a field study to answer the question: Are humble leaders more effective? And are their teams more successful? They found that “when teams expected egalitarianism, having a humble leader increased knowledge and information sharing and helped those teams be more creative.” However, “On teams where members expected leaders to be dominant and powerful, humble leaders were met with doubt and team members felt unsafe to speak up and take risks.” So should you aim to be humble, or not? In this article, they offer three tips for striking the right balance of authority and humility. 

A simple tool to start making decisions with the help of AI
By Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, and Avi Goldfarb

Authors of the book "Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence" set out to help companies overcome one of the biggest hurdles to benefitting from the promise of AI – getting started. In this Harvard Business Review article, they introduce their simple decision-making tool: the AI Canvas. They explain how gaining clarity around seven critical factors will ease decision making and help bring to light the best AI opportunities for their organizations – the ones that will reduce costs or enhance performance. Download this article from Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, and Avi Goldfarb to see the AI Canvas put to the test in a real-world scenario. 

How to rediscover your inspiration at work
By Kristi Hedges

“When we’re inspired, our work hums. We have a sense of purpose, buoyed by the feeling that our talents are being put to good use. We’re doing what we should be doing,” writes Kristi Hedges in this Harvard Business Review article. That inspiration, however, can be fleeting. And when it’s lost, hard to get back. Hedges argues that while we can’t force ourselves to feel inspired, we can create more inspiring environments and situations at work that excite us. In this article, she offers up four suggestions for leaders who are feeling deflated in their careers. Whether you change up your routine or make new friends around the office, these ideas can help you get out of your slump. 

Better brainstorming
By Hal Gregersen

Are you stuck in a brainstorming rut? Or does it often feel like “wading through oatmeal,” as Hal Gregersen puts it in this Harvard Business Review article? You might benefits from turning your brainstorming sessions upside down: Rather than look for solutions to a problem, try ideating around new questions to ask instead. Gregersen took this approach with his students and, based on the success of the technique, he started using it in consulting engagements with some of the largest companies in the world. In this article, he shares what he’s learned about how to make brainstorming better – more engaging and effective in surfacing solutions to problems. Any leader of teams can learn something valuable from this article. 

How to get people to accept a tough decision
By David Maxfield

Hard decisions for leaders often come with uncertainty about the implications of those decisions, and awareness that even the “best” decisions will ultimately harm some people. These two features can cause leaders to “dither, delay, and defer,” when they should be acting instead, writes David Maxfield in this Harvard Business Review article. In order to make the best decisions possible regardless of the circumstances, leaders must recognize the role that uncertainty plays and avoid the pitfalls that could cause them to make hasty or unfair choices. When leaders do have to make decisions that will negatively impact others, Maxfield offers tips to help them recognize and respect people who must bear the brunt of the decisions. 

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