Would Harvard regard you as a great leader?

Have you got what it takes to be a successful leader? Do you have impact and influence to achieve your career ambitions in today’s competitive environment? Watch Harvard Business School’s Linda Hill and executive Kent Lineback outline how you can assess yourself:

It’s easier said than done to become a great leader and takes years, or even a life time. And leadership skills are essential no matter where on your career journey you are at the moment.

Do you have the qualities and abilities Linda Hill and Kent Lineback believe it takes to lead yourself, others and an organisation? For instance the self awareness it takes to improve yourself? Was their advice useful for you? Did you have an aha experience? What did you learn? Is there something you would like to add? Did their insight enable you to assess and measure your ability as a leader and learn how to improve your skills? Are you now better eguipped to succeed with leading yourself and your colleagues?

Video: HarvardBusiness

57 responses

  1. Always great information from the Harvard Business School Catarina. Thanks for sharing. I probably wouldn't have seen this otherwise.

  2. Leadership is definitely about simplicity and even-handedness. When building relationships, as a leader you have to ensure you do not have, nor are perceived to have, favourites, or closer relationships with some than others… It's difficult, sometimes, as one naturally tends to gravitate to those with similar interests/background, but you have to treat all equally.

  3. If a man knows how to communicate, he knows how to develop his business and life. I couldn't agree more, right?
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  4. Extremely interesting – the notion of developing three networks to be become an effective leader: operational, strategic and developmental. All involve building relationships and being able to navigate the political environment. While this advice particularly applies to people working in companies, I couldn't help but think that it also works for the entrepreneur. Building networks in support of your enterprise is just as important — I'd say even more important — than in a company. Thanks for sharing.
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  5. Hi Catarina,

    Sometimes being a turtle and withdrawing from the politics can leave you isolated and vulnerable. Being a dictator and not getting to know your team or letting them know they matter can have an effect on motivation and performance. The one manager I worked hardest for built relationships and was a pleasure to work with.

    The intimidating managers often caused people to clam up and keep their ideas to themselves. Team performance was less than stellar, and it eventually reflected upon the manager.

    Such managers were eventually left off important projects, which could have benefited their careers, because of personality and performance.

    This isolation and self-reliance limits inputs and can negate diversity in the workplace.

    My recent post Personal Branding Narrows My Focus

  6. Hi Catarina, long time no see.

    In this day and age… the way we do business has changed dramatically. Business has everything to do with relationships. Self awareness and intuition is also a huge (and likely the most important part) of ensuring things move ahead.

    We have to be willing to determine the needs of others (customers/co workers) and we need o be flexible and conform to their needs first and foremost.

    I work with so many people who have a hard time adopting these principles but once it's pointed out and they actually develop their self awareness and how they come across… and how they are seen/heard/felt by others… they see huge positive changes.

    Great video and post.

    My recent post Are You Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results?

  7. What I experienced out of both personal and business life was very simple and straight forward and does not need any involvement from another people outside of me,
    – It is me who should focus on the end destination and concentrate on how and when I should be there and what's the channels I use to be there.
    – It is me who should Meet myslfe to help adopt and adjust the focus and get rid of all the mind viruses that preventing me to succeed
    – It is me who able to be the giver to anyone giving money, education, advises, enlightmnt and any kind of help, all will returned back to me when being in need
    – it is me who take care for the most close family member, wife, kids, parents, friends.
    -It is me who should maintain having the displine and performance in hourly bases, nobody could do it for me.
    – It is me who always fulfill the promises to myself, and others at the same time,
    Nothing from above could be done to me by others, all are mine.. So it is very simple to be a successful leader, just believe and do what I've believed

  8. Hi Catarina. Great insights as usual. I like the ideas of buidling separate but connected networks to develop yourself as a leader. I think the biggest challenge today in organizations is separating out those who want to be leaders from those who like to manage.

    • Thank you Mike. Yes building networks to develop yourself is important, isn't it. However, don't forget that leadership is a buzz word at the moment. Everybody wants to be a leader and believe they are. Even those who should be able to distinguish leaders from managers.:-)

  9. Great video, Catarina!

    From everything that they said and explained, there are three things that you will need to be a leader: vision, communication skills, and maturity. Like what Linda mentioned, unless you know where you are and where you would like to go (your vision), how will you know who are the right people you will need to connect with and what are the things that you will need to be on the lookout for?

    Communication and maturity go hand in hand for me. More than just being able to get the message across, it is important for us to know how to listen when people suggest and even criticize your points and ideas. This is important in developing the relationships that both Kent and Linda mentioned, especially among people that we may not necessarily like but need to work with. Being able to communicate well and deal with nasty things under pressure will have an impact on whether or not other people would want to deal with you. Sadly, this is also the things that a lot of managers tend to miss out.
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  10. Very good insight and info. Building trust is essential and not easy. When trust is built, power to get things done for your team reinforces trust and expands your network. Great leaders can be trusted and make others better directly and indirectly.

  11. Finally got a chance to view the video Catarina. I found the 3 networks interesting which I had not considered. Also if you work in corporations you do have to have relationships with others outside you team and you may not like them personally which can be a challenge especially if it is on a day to day basis. The relationship only works when you take your personal thoughts out of the situation.

    Thanks for sharing the video
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    • Dhruv, this is not about Harvard per se. They just happened to produce a video that's a useful tool for self assessment. For an answer to your question I suggest you contact Harvard directly.

  12. The title says: “Would Harvard regard you as a great leader”?

    I appreciate that it is not per se Harvard but i have raised a discussion purely because of the title and not otherwise.


  13. Dear Catarina,


    I have posted a comment yesterday which is not yet updated, if it was not the tuned response as per your column then i think that must be it's destiny.

    Just want to say, your columns are very retrospective and does bring out the best in people.

    Keep up the challenges

    Many Thanks

  14. Interesting that they broke this down int three business networks and how to maximize the relationships with each. And there are a lot of correlations with the current course I am taking via Coursera – Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence which also stresses understanding priorities – understanding consistent needs, and reconciling differences.
    My recent post Car Horn….Where’s The Justice?

    • Yes, it's a good video, isn't it, Jacqueline. Personally thought their advice on how to evaluate yourself as a leader was really interesting. Am sure most "leaders" don't do that considering that most of them are managers:-)

      • Also interesting that research shows that self-evaluations for leaders generally misses the mark when compared to evaluations from peers and subordinates who evaluate them! Men tend to overestimate their abilities and women tend to underestimate theirs! Love to see you do a post on that! :)
        My recent post Car Horn….Where’s The Justice?

        • Interesting, Jacqueline. All human beings see and hear what they want or fear. And we all have different versions of reality. A good example of that is when you have an accident and ten witnesses and hence ten different versions of what happened. Who's right and who's wrong. Personally think that it is a good idea to be honest with yourself and try to evalutate how others perceive you.

  15. I liked Linda Hill's discussion of the types of networks. I could see how a developmental and strategic network could have overlap. And connecting with these people aren't (often) those people with whom you feel comfortable. That's hard work, connecting with others who are different.
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  16. I thought Linda's Hill's point about having to go out and gather information in order to build an effective plan was such a good one. How can you assess strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your organization and yourself without going out and engaging with people who impact and influence outcomes?
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  17. Where I failed personally was not cultivating the developmental network. I think toward the end of my career I was just starting to do this, but by that stage it was a bit late. I didn't know at this stage that I would probably never manage a team again. I say probably because you never know what will happen in the future once i get my health back :)
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  18. Interesting post. In groups that I have worked with, we had a general thought that everytime I point a finger, I have three more pointing back at me. It is very important to be self evaluative, but too often, ego’s get in the way. I like the approaches discussed in the video.

    Thank you for sharing Catarina!

  19. Great video share! I was prepared (admitting my prejudgment on this one) to disagree with a few things because of previous "Harvard Gospel" but this is spot on. Whenever we discuss office politics, it is in negative terms so we miss the opportunity to address what is really internal rapport building that could help us drive our business better. As a saleswoman I always focus on positive internal relationships and find myself disgusted when I come across stern and inflexible ops or accounting people who don't understand the mutual success developed by our potential synergy. I work hard to form relationships based on appreciation of what they do so that they don't become annoyed when they see me coming–it's a little bit of politics but it's worth it.
    I also enjoy her breakdown of the three social networks. I usually teach this to individuals in other ways but it's the same premise: Peers, Mentors and Advisers. Again, great video, thanks for sharing.

  20. I know for a fact the reason why I became such a good teacher was because I fully bought into the necessity of self-reflective practices. While I don't plan on aspiring to great leadership now or in the future, I do know from past experience I can rise to the occasion when the situation calls for it because I've been conditioned to always look for better ways to get things done.
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    • It's so refreshing to hear someone say they don't consider themselves as a leader, Cheryl. The majority of people in the world belive they are. The majority of US high school students, for instance, according to The New York Times.

  21. Rolande, this is not promotion for Harvard or advise about which university to attend. The only reason Harvard is mentioned is because they produced a video that's useful for self assessment. If I were you I would do a lot of research before deciding where to take my MBA.

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