Boldly Go Where No Leader Has Gone Before

By David Mizne

Excitement! Adventure! Cubicles!

Okay, not cubicles. I get carried away whenever I consider the changing face of business leadership. Some priorities will always remain: revenue, productivity, ROI…but so much else is in a state of captivating flux.

When I think of the shifting business world, I get energized knowing that managers and executives are discovering new ways to maintain visibility and offer support to their employees. In line with that, our top May posts from around the web focus on leadership and business strategies that range from cutting-edge to downright strange.

1. Biz Stone on Leadership (and Star Trek)

By Lillian Cunningham 
Twitter’s idealistic founder who describes leadership as “good communication plus confidence without the ego”, learned a great deal about the subject from a strange source — outer space. In a favorite episode of Star Trek, Stone recalls an alien reading Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s mind, and discovering that the captain had no idea where he was going. Stone learned that sometimes you just have to lead with confidence, even if you don’t have all of the answers.

2. The Business Efficiency of Integrity

By Deborah Mills-Scofield
What could be more strange than a 165 year-old, family held, billion dollar company? How about core leadership values that include integrity, discipline and an absence of ego? Menasha CEO Jim Kotek attributes their growth and success to a strong company culture built around those values. This is a stark contrast to the cultures of many successful companies whose bottom-line focus comes at the expense of employee trust, well-communicated expectations, and putting the company first.

3. The Strategy Behind Weird Interview Questions

By Samantha Drake
Have you ever thrown a curve-ball during an interview? How about asking,“if you could have any superpower what would it be”? For Zimbra’s CEO Patrick Brandt, open-ended and unpredictable questions allow him to break candidates free of rehearsed answers. Brandt knows that how people deal with uncertainty lets him really get a sense of who they are. By humanizing the hiring process in this way, he can see if a candidate is a good fit or will harm their sociable company culture.

4. 8 Challenges to Overcome When Adopting Holocracy

By Ruben Timmerman
When Zappos decided to switch to a more radical alternative to traditional organizational structures, Springest’s Ruben Timmerman thought that holocracy would become increasingly popular. Alas, it did not. In this article Timmerman explains how the system can be misunderstood and difficult to adopt.

Holocracies do away with standard hierarchies and roles, so one of the greatest challenges is abandoning command and control, micromanagement, and even basic management styles for a more egalitarian approach to work. While shedding the conventional for the novel can be challenging and requires a great deal of trust across the entire team, Timmerman intends to stick with it.

5. Thursday is the New Friday: Embracing the 4-Day Work Week

By Ilya Pozin
The vast majority of the American workforce is overworked and under-engaged. At the same time, many companies are attempting to save money on benefits while attracting the most talented candidates. One solution that some companies have chosen is to offer more flexible schedules like the 4-day work week. These schedules have a tendency to make employees more productive, since less time at work means less time to waste.

Whether you implement a shorter work-week or take advice from the fictional space leaders of tomorrow, chances are someone out there has some sage advice for you.

The business world is improving, as evidenced by many leaders who are letting go of ego and control for more employee autonomy and accountability. Your mission on this journey towards greater success is to explore strange new leadership styles, seek out gifted employees and new customers, and to boldly go where no leader has gone before.

David Mizne, Content Manager at 15Five interviews some of the most brilliant minds in business and reports on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to employee engagement. 15Five creates an internal communication process that allows the most important information to flow seamlessly throughout an organization, to surface issues before they become problems, to celebrate wins, discover great ideas and stay tuned in to the morale of the team.

Photo Credit (rotated image): Mark Anderson

Tell us about your uncommon or bizarre leadership practices in the comments below.

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