Sweat the Small Stuff
Sometimes, it's the little things that matter the most, not the big things.
Leadership Moment: Small Acts of Leadership
I recently joined in as a guest in Chris Cochran’s The Art of Cybersecurity Leadership, and it was a fantastic crowd. It was styled as an AMA (Ask Me Anything), and the participants came armed with a number of leadership questions for me (some of which I jotted down and you’ll see variants of in the Leader Q&A section if you’re a premium subscriber). One thing I noticed – and I do see this behavior in learning groups that have a lot of diversity – is how often one questioner would namedrop an earlier questioner.
It’s a little social cue, that tells someone that the rest of the group was listening, and not just waiting for “their turn” to toss in their question. It’s a small moment of inclusion that tells someone that their question was heard (and not just by me, the “lecturer”), and tells me that more than one person was listening to the question (I’ve been in rooms where that wasn’t something I could take for granted; I’ve seen variants of the same question asked over and over again.
It’s a small sign of leadership – making everyone in the room better off – that only requires the authority of being the speaker at the moment.
One Minute Pro Tip: Protect Others’ “Commutes”
If you’re a manager of any level, odds are your day is filled with meetings. Many of them recurring, because how else will you know what’s going on? (That’s a topic for a separate set of pro tips.) In this era of distributed work, it becomes easier and easier to run your recurring meetings into the early morning and late afternoon hours, especially when you consider that your staff aren’t commuting anymore.
Recognize that for many of your team – and the ones you might want to hire – there are non-work obligations (like drop-off/pickup for children at daycare/school) that tend to hit around 9 am and 3:30 pm (YMMV). Every time you schedule a recurring meeting, especially with a large group, that overlaps those times? Clear signal that parents aren’t welcome. Easiest solution: only have recurring meetings between 10 and 3. If your team spans multiple time zones, this is a little less easy, of course.
Podcast: 1% Better Leadership, CISO Tradecraft
July 20: Webinar, The First 91 Days of a CISO’s tenure, with Christina Shannon, KIK
I’ll be driving from Boston to Canton, OH area for the WFA Pro Championship game on July 22, if you’re on the way and want me to drop in for an event.
Aug 9/10: Reducing Your Team’s Energy Costs: An Inclusion Microtalk, at Black Hat USA
Sep 20: SANS CISO Roundtable
Interested in having me speak at an upcoming event? Contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chapter Cameo: Micro-inclusions
Chapter 22 seems to be coming up for me in a lot of conversations recently. The leadership cure for continuous small exclusions (the “death by a thousand cuts” feel that often turns to conversations about micro-aggressions) is to focus on micro-inclusions: the ways that we make our environment more welcoming to people that haven’t felt the same amount of being part of the in-group as others. Maybe that’s redesigning our meeting standards. Maybe it’s changing the default language we use. But our goal as leaders isn’t to merely shift the balance of who feels included – it’s to increase how everyone feels included.
Leader Q&A: Reducing Turnover
Have your own leadership question? Drop us a line at email@example.com.
Leader B asks, You’ve often talked about having a relatively low turnover rate as a key to management success. What makes that work?
Well, B, I could write a whole book to answer that (oh, wait, I did!), but I think there are a handful of underlying principles that stand out.
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