Leaders today experience a disconnect between classic leadership skills and the speed and pace of a volatile, connected world. What does it mean to be authentic today? To be as close as you can be to who you really are, while at the same time delivering what followers need in a global, networked world? My intent is to provoke debate on this critical topic.


New research just out tells us that women working in predominantly male environments suffer much higher levels of stress.  Not surprising is it, really?  After all, they are playing to the rules of someone else’s game.  We also know that a poor psychological work contract has a detrimental effect on commitment to work, job satisfaction, motivation and the willingness to volunteer more than the job demands If you find yourself in this situation, what can you do to keep on track and resilient?  Because, more than education, experience and training, resilience determines who succeeds and who fails.  Resilience is a big topic, but here are three things to think about.  The first is to allow some recovery time.  The reason terror networks and microbial infections survive, despite sustained and powerful attempts to eliminate them, is through reducing operations to near dormancy for long periods.  This gives them the energy to scale up for all-out, periodic attacks.    Think about the long hours you work, the late night conference calls, the emails piling up in the box – and plan how to allow yourself sufficient downtime to regroup.  Periodic flashes of brilliance will do more for your career than sustained average performance.  Tip two: work out what gives you energy (and what saps it) and spend time doing whatever it is, whether it’s seeing friends, staying home alone with a movie or eating ice cream.  In a word, recharge.  And finally – ask for help!  This is easy to write but much harder to do.  Somehow achievement has become tangled up with self-reliance, but it’s not the same thing at all.  Just as you would be happy to support a friend or colleague – it’s flattering to be asked – don’t hesitate to reach for help yourself.  Whether you need a friendly ear to listen to your troubles, some advice or direct help to achieve your goals, just ask.  Quite apart from the help you get, you will come across as more human and more likeable.  No-one wants to be led by a perfectly performing robot, we like our leaders to have a vulnerable side.