By and About Leaders: 8/11/15

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I think that one of the best ways to learn leadership isn’t studying “leadership” at all. Instead, study individual leaders in their natural habitat and decide what they do that you want to try. Articles by and about leaders and interviews with them are mini-case studies that show you an actual leader in a real situation.

That’s why, every week, I bring you a selection of post about individual leaders. This week I’m pointing you to pieces by and about Daryl Brewster, Stanley McCrystal, Jiliene Helman, Swamy Kotagiri, and Kevin E. Lofton.

From Tom Fox: Improving society by improving the workplace

“Daryl Brewster is head of CECP, a global nonprofit that draws together CEOs who think an essential measure of business performance is an executive’s ability to improve society. In this interview, Brewster shares his thoughts on fixing ineffective government agencies, engaging employees and creating environments that spur innovation. He spoke with Tom Fox, a guest writer for On Leadership and a vice president at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. Fox is also the head of the organization’s Center for Government Leadership. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.”

From Dan McGinn: What Companies Can Learn from Military Teams

“When Gen. Stanley McCrystal took charge of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2003, he recognized that traditional tactics of warfare were failing in Iraq. Leading this inter-service team — which included Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, and Delta Force — he needed to find new ways to disrupt Al-Qaeda and get these disparate branches of elite U.S. soldiers to work cohesively. In the new book Team of Teams, McChrystal describes the lessons he learned (and applied) in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as research and examples from other fields (including sports, aviation, and emergency medicine) on how teams have learned to work more effectively. (The book is co-authored by his colleagues Tantum Collins, David Silverman, and Chris Fussell.)”

From I-Chun Chen: RealtyMogul CEO Jiliene Helman on managing fast startup growth

“Jilliene Helman, co-founder and chief executive of real estate crowdfunding site RealtyMogul.com, is facing a challenge many startups would envy: how to manage rocketing growth.”

From Greg Keenan: Swamy Kotagiri steering Magna International into future of auto tech

“Swamy Kotagiri is just one man in a large company in a giant industry. But as chief technology officer of Magna International Inc., Mr. Kotagiri has to make sure he knows what’s happening on the leading edge of auto making amid one of the most turbulent times in its history.”

From Adam Bryant: Kevin E. Lofton of Catholic Health Initiatives: Designate a Devil’s Advocate

“The chief executive of the health care organization recommends choosing a person to take a contrasting viewpoint to avoid groupthink during meetings.”

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