I just learned a few days ago that I’ll be taking on significantly more of a leadership position at work. That led me to think about some advice by Marshall Goldsmith that I read last year, about how to disagree with people one leads. I thought that was very useful, especially the suggestion to execute components of ideas where possible, even if one does not agree with the ideas on the whole.
I subscribe to Marshall Goldsmith’s RSS feed, and I think he offers practical, considered advice from multiple perspectives.
P/S. I was also reminded of another of his posts, on the best leadership advice he ever received. He was doing his PhD – “deeply impressed by [his] own intelligence”, he put it – and one day his advisor Fred Case pulled him up for some negative feedback Case had been receiving about Goldsmith, who had been “angry, negative and judgmental”. Case advised Goldsmith: You have two options – Option one, continue your behaviour and be fired and never contribute the way you could or option two, “[k]eep trying to make a constructive difference, but do it in a way that is positive for you and the people around you”. What Goldsmith got out of that was not just that he should be positive, but that the important thing was not to point out what is going wrong and what should be done, but to get the right thing done, to effect the positive change.
PP/S. And that little anecdote reminded me of Randy Pausch’s last lecture, and how, about 58:50 into the video, he related how his “Dutch uncle”/mentor told him: “Randy, it’s such a shame that people perceive you as so arrogant, because it’s going to limit what you are going to be able to accomplish in life.” (Pausch then continued: “What a hell of a good way to word ‘You’re being a jerk’.”)