Every two weeks we bring you opinion, news and research on Employee Engagement, Leadership and Organisational Performance, along with some thoughts on practical workplace applications.

Editorial: Learning From our Leaders

In an article published this week, The 7 best leaders of the 21st century and what you can learn from them, Paul Russell identifies the seven recent leaders, and what we can learn from them. [In case you’re in a hurry, they are: Warren Buffet; Barack Obama; Bill Marriott; Dr. Shirin Ebadi; Queen Elizabeth II; Sir Richard Branson; and Sheryl Sandberg.]

I have no complaint with what Russell encourages us to learn from them; it’s more about the principle. Articles of this type encourage us that we should be learning from the great and the good, and this can cause us to miss the greatest examples of leadership any of us will see – the examples of those unknown, ordinary, everyday colleagues we interact with every day.

Yes, you may be able to learn from Richard Branson about the importance of autonomy; but what about the example of your own manager who gives you autonomy, despite the many challenges you face in the organisation? Sure, Barack Obama may be an inspirational leader who epitomises compromise (some may argue that’s not so great!), but what about your manager who role-models excellence in compromise through deeply complex negotiations, every day?

Feel free to be inspired by the famous; but don’t forget to find inspiration in the everyday, mundane example of committed leaders, sitting in the same room as you. Learn from their experience and example, and teach them from yours.

Steve Short – Emenex

Blog: The Yin and Yang of Change

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent. This duality lies at the origins of many branches of classical Chinese science and philosophy, as well as being a primary guideline of traditional Chinese medicine. Yin and yang are complementary forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts.

We find this same concept of duality when we apply this approach to the world of change. When an organisation introduces a change project or initiative, that change needs to be managed on both the technical and people side.

Read more.

Alistair Aitchison – Emenex

Taking a Stand For Your Values in a Time of Political Disarray

Writing for Forbes, Maureen Metcalf talks about characteristics that allow us to inspire employees, colleagues and customers when they are feeling disillusioned.  In times of adversity, as she puts it, she challenges our leaders to model the mindset and behaviours that will move us forward to heal our differences and create a “new norm” that honours the past while creating a future that supports inclusion and success for all people.

Leadership characteristics that generate such inspiration include consistent action, trustworthiness, strong values, wisdom, compassion and grace. These words are simple to say but incredibly difficult to put into action. Read this piece in full to learn of the concrete actions leaders can take.

Do You Have an Excellent Culture or a Culture of Excellence?

Everywhere you look someone is talking about corporate culture. It’s easy to see why.

Building an excellent culture makes you a popular place to work. Building a culture of excellence, however, makes you a successful, sustainable business. Which would you prefer?

Award winning author, Randy Pennington, examines the distinction, citing a few companies to illustrate his point of view.  He favours moving from excellent to excellence, and explains why and how here on Huffpost.

PODCAST: Employee Experience– Building on Engagement, Measuring the Impact

IBM and Globoforce have been working together to create something new in the world of employee listening. It’s called The Employee Experience Index and it’s “a new global measure of a human workplace and its impact.”

Its two creators are Dr. Sheri Feinzig from the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and Dr. Greg Stevens from the Globoforce WorkHuman Research Institute.

In their podcast, Sheri and Greg, both PhD-carrying talent experts, share their unique insights into what drives a positive employee experience and how the index helps to measure it. They also talk about the benefits of employee experience in terms of better job performance, increased discretionary effort and higher retention.

You can catch their podcast here.

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