Ten tips for leaders in 2016

Ten Tips for Leaders in 2016 from London Business School’s Leadership Institute


1. Diverse teams need common bonds for success

Looking to enhance the performance of your multicultural team in 2016?  As a leader, you need to proactively build common bonds to create the conditions for success. This is an essential part of engendering trust and establishing the shared sense of values and identity which are so fundamental to your team’s achievements. What will you do?
Randall S. Peterson, Academic Director, Leadership Institute

2. The importance of “practising what you preach” depends on the cultural context

In Western cultures, leaders who fail to practise what they preach severely undermine their employees’ motivation. However, ongoing research suggests that having leaders who practise what they preach is less important to employees in Asian cultures. Whereas Western cultures tend to value consistency between words and deeds, Asian cultures also tend to value flexibility and the capacity to tune words and deeds to the demands of the situation. 

Daniel A. Effron, PhD, Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour

3. Take time to focus on the future

Seeking to grow the business you lead? One of the most powerful actions you can take to make growth happen is also one of the simplest: spend time thinking about the future. Senior executives, especially in established organisations, spend strikingly little time focusing on the medium to long term future. If you are one of the exceptions, then it is much more likely that innovation will thrive in your organisation relative to others. 

Rajesh Chandy, Tony and Maureen Wheeler Chair in Entrepreneurship, Professor of Marketing

4. Signal trust and integrity after firm wrongdoing 

After firm wrongdoing, how you manage your communication to your stakeholders is critical. In order to regain trust, use every channel you can to signal the importance of integrity to both internal and external stakeholders. 

5. Winning teams need confidence in the team’s future success

A successful organisation requires a deep talent pool; but talented recruits only join and work effectively for organisations that they expect to perform as a winning team.  A leader should nurture the confidence of a team: attracting a key core of talent will draw in others, deepen the talent pool, and coordinate expectations of future success.  Be wary of crises of confidence: Chelsea in the premier league, perhaps?  

David P Myatt, Professor of Economics

6. Don’t let yourself drown in data

Many observers have argued that big data and business analytics are the next source of competitive advantage. But don’t be fooled: if you dwell on the data too long you will end up making slow, sterile and undifferentiated decisions.  Good leaders understand the value and limitations of quantitative evidence – they know when to act decisively, and they know when to trust their intuition. 

Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship 

7. Include judgement as an explicit factor in hiring and assessment, especially of leaders

Everyone says how important judgement is (and a leader without judgement is really scary), but few explicitly include judgement as something they are looking for in a leader.  One reason is that it’s seen as difficult to define.  If so, get round the problem by agreeing what judgement means.  If there isn’t agreement, discuss what’s missing in the capacity for judgement of the candidate(s) or person being appraised.  This will identify strengths and weaknesses.  

Professor Sir Andrew Likierman, Dean, London Business School

8. Manage your self with deliberation to avoid self-deception

It has been said that the most important battles are waged within the self.  Five are critical for every leader:

  • self-control – mastery of impulse and willpower
  • truth – check that you’re not seeing the world as you would like it to be
  • identity – have good insights into your own character strengths and weaknesses
  • versatility – ensure you don’t over-rely on familiar routines and habits, but review and revise them
  • purpose – review your goals ruthlessly to check for hypocrisy, false priorities, concealed self-interest and inconsistency

Nigel Nicholson, Professor of Organisational Behaviour

9. Innovation requires separation, not isolation

Placing and growing a new and disruptive business model in a separate unit is a good way for established businesses to protect it from the politics and realities of the core business.   Nestlé did this with its Nespresso business and Medtronic with Nayamed. But separation does not mean isolation.  The parent must still put in place "integrating mechanisms" that allow the new unit to exploit its parent's knowledge, expertise and assets in the new market.

Costas Markides, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship

10. Commit to understanding your unconscious biases

The unconscious bias that hinders women's success in formal leadership selection processes arises in informal interactions as well. The informal exchange of advice between team members can affect how leaders are perceived. Research suggests that men are preferred as leaders where teams are seen to rely on one or a few key experts, whereas women are preferred as leaders in teams in which all team members are seen to engage in exchanges of advice. Women leaders should therefore focus on building cohesive interpersonal cultures in their teams to help secure their reputations as leaders.

Raina Brands, Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour

London Business School’s Leadership Institute is on a mission: to rethink leadership and enhance leader impact.

Through path-breaking research, teaching, and trailblazing practitioner insights, the Leadership Institute showcases best practice, on a global stage.

Comments (1)

O. Al-Farisi 7 years, 3 months and 1 days ago

All above are valuable. I liked a lot, 8. Manage your self with deliberation to avoid self-deception. Then I found, 6. Don’t let yourself drown in data, a good warning sign. While the wise advise for success can be seen in, 5. Winning teams need confidence in the team’s future success.

LI - landscape

Article provided by