image A few awesome posts popped up in my reader this week, and I thought of you. Do they spark any new ideas for your life and work?

Sue Ashford and Scott DeRue offer some clarifying thoughts on the Harvard Business Review blog regarding how we define leadership. Hint: it’s not about the position.

When we relax the common presumption that leadership is reserved for those with lofty job titles, our conceptualization shifts from saying, “she is a leader” to examining how, “she is leader like or a leader” in a particular situation.

Akhila Kolisetty says our generation is overeducated and underexperienced, when really it should be the other way around.

In my opinion, much of what you learn in many Master’s degrees isn’t necessary for career success or progress. Only the few professional degrees, such as law, medicine, or business, equip you with skill sets – things you can’t learn on your own. Master’s degrees in most other areas strike me as unnecessary as most of what you need to know can be picked up on the job in the majority of fields other than law, medicine, pharmacy, engineering, college-level teaching, or computer science (I am sure I’ve forgotten other careers that require graduate study – enlighten me if I have).

Bob Sutton explains why newcomers often see things more clearly than old hands. He also talks about “reverse mentoring,” which is quite the intriguing concept. My mind’s buzzing about how that could work in the nonprofit sector!

Awareness — and innovation too– depend on listening to the young and naive, to those who are not yet brainwashed and unable to see what is odd, wrong, and what might be done differently.  As I argued in Weird Ideas That Work, if you are an expert, seek and listen to novices, as their fresh eyes can provide insights that you are unable to see.  Or as Diego puts it over at Metacool, seeing old things in new ways, depends on finding ways to adopt “the beginners mind” or “the mind of a child.”  In some organization’s I have worked with, senior executives accomplish this with “reverse mentoring” programs, where they are assigned to listen to and be coached by newcomers.  This is an effective strategy if the veterans actually make it safe for the rookies to speak their minds.

Image credit: Warrington Borough Council

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