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99 Skills of 21st Century Market Place : Week 19

Week 19 of the 99 Skills of the 21st Century Marketplace is Here! This week we focus on three critical Leadership Skills: Ethical Leadership, Resilience, and Brainstorming. These are essential for navigating complexities and uncertainties, encompassing strategic thinking, problem-solving, making effective decisions, and adapting to new situations. Let us delve into strategies, techniques, and exercises to develop and enhance these Leadership skills. By honing your abilities in Ethical Leadership, Resilience, and Brainstorming you can engage in effective and impactful leadership that inspires and influences others. Ultimately, they can significantly build strong relationships, resolve conflicts, and promote a positive and cohesive team dynamic. Join us as we explore these vital leadership skills and share your thoughts on the 99 Skills because the 100th is You!

55. Ethical Leadership

A Quote:

"Ethical leadership is not about being in charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge." - Simon Sinek

A Definition: Ethical leadership is a form of leadership in which individuals demonstrate conduct for the common good that is acceptable and appropriate in every area of their life. Ethical leadership refers to the practice of leading and influencing others in a manner that aligns with ethical principles and values. Ethical leaders not only focus on achieving organizational goals but also prioritize the well-being and ethical conduct of their followers and stakeholders. They demonstrate integrity, transparency, fairness, and empathy in their decision-making and actions.

An Example:

One prominent example of ethical leadership is Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft. When Nadella took over as CEO in 2014, he inherited a company culture that was often described as competitive and internally focused. However, Nadella recognized the need for a cultural transformation to foster a more inclusive and empathetic workplace.

Nadella prioritized diversity and inclusion as key pillars of Microsoft's culture. He publicly advocated for gender equality and made it a priority to increase the representation of women in leadership roles. Under his leadership, Microsoft launched various initiatives to support diversity, such as unconscious bias training, diversity recruiting programs, and employee resource groups.

Furthermore, Nadella recognised the importance of empowering employees and cultivating a growth mindset. He shifted the company's emphasis to collaboration and innovation, encouraging employees to take risks and learn from their mistakes. Nadella also stressed the importance of understanding and meeting the needs of Microsoft's diverse customer base.

In terms of ethical decision-making, Nadella led Microsoft in adopting strict privacy and security standards, ensuring customer data protection, and prioritizing trust. He also advocated for ethical practices in areas such as AI development, advocating for responsible AI use, and developing guidelines to avoid bias and discrimination.

Nadella's ethical leadership has had a significant impact on Microsoft's culture and performance. Under his guidance, the company has experienced tremendous growth and achieved record levels of employee satisfaction. Nadella's emphasis on empathy, inclusion, and ethical decision-making has not only transformed Microsoft's internal culture but also strengthened its reputation as a responsible and ethical leader in the technology industry.

A Checklist:

  1. Integrity: Be honest, transparent, and consistent.

  2. Accountability: Take responsibility for your actions and hold yourself and others accountable.

  3. Respect: Treat others with respect and value diversity.

  4. Fairness: Ensure fair decision-making without bias.

  5. Empathy: Show empathy and listen to others' needs and concerns.

  6. Trustworthiness: Build trust through reliability and keeping promises.

  7. Ethical Standards: Set high ethical standards and lead by example.

  8. Courage: Have the courage to do the right thing and stand up against unethical practices.

  9. Stakeholder Focus: Consider the interests of all stakeholders.

  10. Continuous Learning: Stay informed and engage in ongoing learning and self-improvement.

56. Resilience

A Quote:

“No matter how you define success, you will need to be resilient, empowered, authentic, and limber to get there.” – Joanie Connell

A Definition: The American Psychological Association (APA) defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.”

An Example:

One real-life example of resilience is the story of J.K. Rowling, the author of the famous Harry Potter series. Before achieving enormous success as a writer, Rowling faced numerous challenges and setbacks. During the early stages of writing Harry Potter, Rowling experienced personal hardships, including the death of her mother and a divorce. She was also facing financial struggles and was a single parent, living on welfare.

Despite these difficult circumstances, Rowling persisted with her writing. She often found herself rejected by publishers, who were skeptical about the potential success of a children's fantasy book. However, she did not give up and remained determined to bring her story to the world.

Finally, after multiple rejections, Bloomsbury Publishing agreed to publish the first Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (titled "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in the United States). The book went on to become a huge success, launching a global phenomenon and ultimately leading to the creation of a multi-billion-dollar franchise.

Rowling's story exemplifies resilience as she overcame personal challenges, rejection, and financial difficulties, all while remaining committed to her vision. Her perseverance and unwavering belief in her work allowed her to achieve remarkable success and inspire millions of readers worldwide. Rowling's journey serves as a powerful reminder of the strength and resilience that can be found within oneself, even in the face of adversity.

A Checklist:

  1. Positive Mindset: Foster a positive outlook and focus on growth and solutions.

  2. Self-Awareness: Understand your strengths, weaknesses, and emotions.

  3. Flexibility: Adapt to changing circumstances and embrace new approaches.

  4. Problem-Solving: Develop effective skills to navigate obstacles and find solutions.

  5. Emotional Regulation: Manage and regulate emotions to cope with stress and setbacks.

  6. Support Network: Build a strong support system of friends, family, and mentors.

  7. Self-Care: Prioritize activities that promote physical and mental well-being.

  8. Optimism: Maintain a hopeful and optimistic outlook.

  9. Growth Mindset: Embrace learning and view failures as opportunities for growth.

  10. Resilient Coping Strategies: Develop healthy mechanisms for stress relief and seeking support.

57. Brainstorming

A Quote:

"The brainstorming process allows us to tap into the collective genius of the team." - Linda Hill

A Definition: Brainstorming is a creative problem-solving technique that involves generating a large number of ideas in a non-judgmental environment. It encourages diverse thinking and collaboration to explore different possibilities. The focus is on quantity rather than quality initially, with the aim of later refining and evaluating ideas. Brainstorming stimulates creativity and can lead to innovative solutions and insights.

An Example:

In the early 2000s, the company LEGO was facing financial struggles and declining sales. They needed to come up with innovative ideas to revitalize their business. To address this challenge, LEGO employed a brainstorming approach called the "Future Lab."

LEGO invited a diverse group of employees from various departments and levels within the company to participate in the brainstorming sessions. These sessions were designed to encourage open and free-flowing discussions.

During the Future Lab sessions, participants were encouraged to think outside the box and propose unconventional ideas. No idea was immediately dismissed, and the focus was on generating as many ideas as possible. The participants built upon each other's ideas and collaborated to expand upon and refine concepts.

One breakthrough idea that emerged from the Future Lab sessions was the development of LEGO Mindstorms, a line of programmable robotics kits. This innovation allowed children and enthusiasts to build and program their own robots using LEGO bricks.

LEGO also incorporated ideas generated during the brainstorming sessions to develop new product lines, collaborate with movie franchises for themed sets, and create immersive experiences at LEGO retail stores.

The successful implementation of ideas generated through brainstorming sessions played a crucial role in LEGO's turnaround. It led to renewed consumer interest, increased sales, and a revitalized brand image.

This real-life example showcases how brainstorming can be a powerful tool for generating innovative ideas, fostering collaboration, and driving positive change within an organization. LEGO's embrace of brainstorming helped them tap into the collective creativity and expertise of their employees, leading to the development of ground-breaking products and strategies.

A Checklist:

  1. Define the objective clearly.

  2. Create a safe and supportive environment.

  3. Encourage active participation.

  4. Generate a high quantity of ideas.

  5. Build upon ideas.

  6. Embrace diverse perspectives.

  7. Suspend judgement.

  8. Use creative thinking techniques.

  9. Set a time limit.

  10. Capture and document ideas.

  11. Evaluate and refine ideas.

  12. Encourage collaboration and teamwork.

Come & Collaborate

Thank you for joining us on this journey through 99 skills at the 21st-century workplace. We believe that the key to success is continuous learning, so we encourage you to keep seeking out new knowledge and skills.

To help you on your path, we are offering a special #DISCovery Session for our readers. This one-on-one coaching session will help you identify your strengths, set career goals, and progress to a personalized plan for success. To book your session, go to and use the code "99SKILLS" for a special discount.

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