109: Act Like a Leader. Think Like a Leader. | with Herminia Ibarra

by Joe Sherwood on April 1, 2015

Act Like A LeaderIt’s sort of a chicken-or-the-egg question. To take your next step toward great leadership, do you start with introspection and learning to think like a leader? Or do you put yourself into positions where you are forced to learn by doing? Most leadership books and courses give you one answer. But a contrarian and counter-intuitive new book by one of the world’s top business experts says they’re wrong.

Herminia Ibarra was a Harvard professor for 13 years, and she’s currently professor at INSEAD business school in Fontainebleau, France. Thinkers 50 placed her among the 10 most influential business gurus in the world. She joins us to discuss her newest book, Act Like a Leader. Think Like a Leader.

Herminia’s research shows you must act your way into a new type of leadership thinking. Branch out beyond your routine work, habitual networks, and historical ways of defining yourself, and these new ways of acting will change the way you think and expand your capacity to be a leader. Join us as Jesse and Herminia discuss issues such as:

  • Does making the leap to bigger leadership start inside us (self-assessment and introspection) or outside us (experimentation)?
  • Does the research support a “fake it to make it” approach?
  • If becoming a great leader is less about thinking about how you will lead and more about doing leadership work, what are the most important responsibilities of leadership work?
  • The easiest ways to get started in each of the three ways we can step up to great leadership:
    • Redefine the scope of your job to make time for more strategic work and more work outside your function, department, or even organization.
    • Diversify your network by forming relationships and interacting with people who see the world differently.
    • Expand your sense of identity by experimenting with unfamiliar and playful ways of connecting and engaging with others to get things done.
  • Many experts recommend that leaders set aside a few hours each week for uninterrupted thinking, in order to have more and better strategic ideas. What would you recommend instead?
  • Is it really an either/or situation? If I’m a first-time leader, or even a seasoned leader who wants to develop further, should I combine the learn-by-doing approach and the think-then-act approach?

Ibarra QuoteResources Mentioned in This Episode

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