Foundations of Everyday Leadership


Agility is a social process – agility is about getting people to work together effectively.

Leadership is about:

  • Making decisions
  • Implementing decisions

Two key levers

  • Information (the head of leadership)
  • Motivation (the heart of leadership)

Inclusiveness helps!

  • Yields better (bilateral!) information
  • Yields better motivation

Make inclusiveness more manageable by making it representative.

Decision Making

Making decisions is about selecting the best available option – action alternative – for getting you to your goal.

A systematic framework for selecting actions to get you to your goal

What makes decision making difficult is uncertainty

Decision dilemma

  • Decision making under uncertainty (probabilities)
    • Uncertain what will happen if you select a particular action

Choice between

  • An action leading to a certain outcome
  • An action leading to an uncertain outcome
  • Two actions both leading to uncertain outcomes





Group Decision Making

Groups have an information advantage over individuals in making decisions

  • MORE information
  • LESS bias

But only if groups can overcome process loss by addressing the composition, participation, and influence problems.


When would you put out more effort for a contingent reward?
– If you think you are capable of performing well enough to be rewarded (expectancy)
– If you think good performance will be rewarded (instrumentality)
– If you value the reward offered (valence)



Individual motivation is a function of the perception of contingencies and consequences To what extent do my behaviors CONTROL the consequences that I desire?

OTHER PEOPLE represent a critical externality – disruption – in the relationship between my behaviors and the consequences I desire.

Synergy depends on cooperation (people working together effectively), and cooperation DEPENDS ON TRUST FOSTERING TRUST is critical to realizing value creation through the potential synergy of interdependence.



Three key skills required to be an effective negotiator

Acquiring information The “golden rule” of negotiation is that the person with the most information wins”

Building (creating) value Because the more value you build/create/discover, the more value there is to go around

Claiming value Getting your share of the value that is created


We build/create/find value by finding more value to go around By trading resources we value less for resources we value more

Allowing negotiators to do better on issues they value more in exchange for doing worse on issues they value less (or not at all!)

We find more by recognizing that people value the same resources differently

We find those differences in value by switching the dialogue from what people want (positions) to why they want it (interests)

And then identifying positions that do more to satisfy both sides’ interests by making resource trades that help both sides 

Exploding Offers – Occur in a negotiation when someone gives you an offer with a “short fuse” – a close deadline

Exploding offers work because all negotiations represent a decision dilemma

A decision dilemma occurs when you must choose between a sure thing and a risk

  1. In negotiation: What the other side has offered is a sure thing
  2. Continuing to negotiate is a risk You may do better, but you may do worse, or not even make a deal at all!

When faced with a decision dilemma, one strategy is to turn the tables on the decision dilemma. Don’t say no to their offer – tell them what it would take to get you to say yes! (guaranteed!). Now the other side must choose between the sure thing you have offered them, and the risk of continuing to negotiate!


Performance management – the collection and delivery of information about employees’ performance – represents one of the highest leverage opportunities for leaders to influence the behavior of others.

Effective performance management requires two elements: the collection of the information needed to make decisions and provide feedback, and the delivery of that information to performers.

Behavioral anchoring of information collection can help minimize subjectivity. Behavioral anchoring means using behavioral exemplars to define the meaning of performance evaluation dimensions and levels of performance. It is also important to collect a mix of quantitative (numeric) and qualitative (narrative) information.  Triangulation is the process of using multiple sources of information to arrive at a more accurate and comprehensive evaluation.

On-going – periodic – collection (for example, via behavioral logs or critical incident files) and delivery of performance management information during the performance period is therefore more likely to produce effective performance for both the individual performer and the organization.


Conflict Management 

Leaders as a third-party can:

  • lower the emotional tone of the principals (calm things down)
  • facilitate information sharing
  • bring another perspective to the table
  • see things that the principals do not see
  • come up with creative solutions
  • force a decision by the disputants
  • enhance the process of resolving a dispute to lead to a better outcome


Arbitrator controls outcome (decider)

Mediator controls process (facilitator) but disputants make decision!

The real point of arbitration is to use the authority to impose an outcome to politely threaten the principals with loss of control of their dispute. A leader must project neutrality and objectivity – fairness – just like a professional third-party.

Three goal when managing conflict:

  1. effectiveness – finding a solution to the conflict that addresses the underlying interests of the disputants.
  2. But because the quality of a decision is always limited by your ability to implement it, another critical goal of any third-party intervention is disputant commitment.
  3. efficiency – managing the conflict in a timely way so that everyone can get back to doing what they need to do.



Leading change in organizations is about making decisions to address threats and opportunities, and then implementing those decisions. Leading change is also about getting people to do things differently.  What makes leading change difficult is resistance to change.

People resist change when they are uncertain what is going to happen, and they fear that uncertainty – uncertainty that the change will not be good for them. Alternatively, people also resist change when they think they know exactly what is going to happen, and they are angry about that certainty – certainty that the change will not be good for them.

Inclusiveness provides a good vehicle for overcoming both fear and anger.

A good change is a position that satisfies everyone’s interests, because no one resists what satisfies their interests.

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Commitment & enthusiasm at implementation via the ownership of creation [inclusiveness]

If you want others to “buy in” to your vision, get them to help create it

  • Getting them to help create the vision increases the likelihood that they will understand how achieving the vision helps them achieve their personal goals
  • Getting them to help create the vision allows them to help shape the vision to help them achieve their personal goals