How to Act and Think Like a Leader

Herminia Ibarra Leadership INSEAD Knowledge

To become a successful leader, you have to ditch the conventional “think before doing” logic and instead start acting like a leader in order to start thinking like a leader. “I’m like the fire patrol,” says Jacob, a thirty-five-year-old production manager for a mid-sized European food manufacturer. “I run from one corner to the other to fix things, just to …

The “Outside” Principle

Herminia Ibarra Leadership Talent Quarterly

“I’m like the fire patrol,” says Jacob, a thirty- five-year-old production manager for a midsized European food manufacturer. “I run from one corner to the other to fix things, just to keep producing.” To step up to a bigger leadership role in his organization, Jacob knows he needs to get out from under all the operational details that are keeping …

Self-awareness in leadership development is sound, but insufficient

Herminia Ibarra Career Management,   Leadership Chief Learning Officer

Increasing leadership capacity is an increasingly important part of a company’s business strategy. Unfortunately, formal leadership development efforts often fall short of expectations. At best, managers gain valuable personal insights but fail to learn how they can apply them to create value for their organization. As managers step into bigger leadership roles, there are pitfalls to popular, self-awareness-centered approaches to …

The Key to Becoming a Strategy-Minded Executive

Herminia Ibarra Career Management,   Leadership The Wall Street Journal

Some executives believe that if they set aside a few hours each week for uninterrupted thinking, they will have more and better strategic ideas. This is not only wishful thinking, it’s backward thinking. We are much more likely to act our way into strategic thinking than we are to think our way into strategic action. Many executives who want to …

Beware the navel-gazing leader

Herminia Ibarra Leadership The Financial Times

Many top business schools — Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Columbia, Berkeley, Kellogg to cite a few — have overhauled their MBA curricula in recent years. Among the most popular changes is increasing “leadership” learning. This trend seems to be driven by a troika of stakeholders: employers, who no longer want to have to train new recruits from scratch; students, who know …

How to Revive a Tired Network

Herminia Ibarra Leadership Harvard Business Review

On a scale of one to five, how important is having a good network to your ability to accomplish your goals? When I ask my executive students this question, most of them answer in the fours and fives. Even the most naive of them agree that, like it or not, relationships hold the key to both their current capac­ity and …

By Being Authentic, You May Just Be Conforming

Herminia Ibarra Leadership Harvard Business Review

Lei Jun, CEO of the $10 billion Chinese company Xiaomi, has made headlines for creating products that look and act a lot like Apple’s, such as its new thin smartphone.  And the comparisons don’t stop there — news reports consistently label Jun’s leadership style as imposture. As Business Insider put it: “Jun wears a black shirt and jeans, just like Steve …

You’re Never Too Experienced to Fake It Till You Learn It

Herminia Ibarra Leadership Harvard Business Review

Novices emulate favorite bosses and colleagues in an effort to look and talk as if they know what they are doing — even when they have no clue. It’s how they develop and grow (just as children do, first imitating their parents, then their peers). But this natural — and efficient — learning process tends to break down as people …

Tips on career rebounds for French socialists and CEOs alike

Herminia Ibarra Career Management,   Leadership The Financial Times

Herminia Ibarra of Insead on Arnaud Montebourg’s business school reinvention and other comebacks. Teaching at France’s Insead business school, I’ve had a ringside seat this term for an intriguing career U-turn. One of my pupils on the advanced management programme was Arnaud Montebourg, the former French economy minister who was this year ousted from President François Hollande’s cabinet. Mr Montebourg, …

The Authenticity Paradox

Herminia Ibarra Leadership Harvard Business Review

Authenticity has become the gold standard for leadership. But a simplistic understanding of what it means can hinder your growth and limit your impact. Consider Cynthia, a general manager in a health care organization. Her promotion into that role increased her direct reports 10-fold and expanded the range of businesses she oversaw—and she felt a little shaky about making such …