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 …

Forget Mozart, companies now prefer a steady Salieri as CEO

Herminia Ibarra Leadership The Financial Times

The pendulum seems to be swinging away from egocentric, inspirational stagecraft. It used to be that calling someone a “good manager” was to damn with faint praise. But we may have had a surfeit of charisma and be ready for some nuts-and-bolts leadership. Sanofi’s Chris Viehbacher is the latest larger-than-life chief executive to be ousted by his board for a …

What the Scarcity of Women in Business Case Studies Really Looks Like

Lesley Symons and Herminia Ibarra Women & Work Harvard Business Review

“The school owed you better, and I promise it will be better,” Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria told an alumni audience in January, acknowledging and apologizing for the school’s problematic past concerning gender equity. He then pledged to double the number of business case studies that feature a woman as the protagonist up to a level of 20% over …

How Companies Are Putting Managers in a Bind

Herminia Ibarra Career Management,   Leadership The Wall Street Journal

Businesses Are Giving Bosses New Responsibilities but Not Training Them for Those Roles Businesses are putting managers in a tough spot: They’re forcing bosses to take on many new responsibilities – but they’re not training them to get those jobs done. With competition fierce and the business climate changing rapidly, companies are telling their leaders that it’s no longer enough …

Inclusive Leadership: Unlocking Diverse Talent

Herminia Ibarra and Nana von Bernuth Leadership,   Women & Work INSEAD Knowledge

Gender diversity can be a polarising topic in big companies. Swiss Re holds some important lessons on how to foster a diverse environment with flexibility and inclusiveness for everyone. Nia Joynson-Romanzina, the head of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Swiss Re, likens people in her organisation, and beyond, to icebergs. Not because they’re cold but because there is a diversity …

Hiring and Big Data: Those Who Could Be Left Behind

Herminia Ibarra Career Management Harvard Business Review

Recruiters, HR managers, and investors have always sought better ways of identifying who fits and has potential, and how to allocate opportunities to them. Big data holds the promise of not only vastly improved efficiencies but also bringing greater objectivity to our very unconsciously biased human decision-making. And without a doubt, predictive “people analytics” are starting to transform how employers …

Conquering Gender Bias

Herminia Ibarra and Benjamin Kessler Women & Work INSEAD Knowledge

A lurking “second-generation gender bias” is slowing women down by dissecting their behaviour and hobbling their advancement. Companies will have to switch tactics to take on this more subtle phenomenon. If celebrity culture were a true reflection of women’s progress, one would have to call 2013 a very bad year for the glass ceiling. Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, and …