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Leadership Tips: Vol. 310

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Do you have the latest must-have CEO accessory? Aflac president and COO Paul Amos II is among the leaders benefiting from a chief of staff. Angela Kates acts as the link between Amos and the company’s 64,300 agents and employees, dealing with issues brought up in the frequent e-mails that Amos invites them to send. But Kates also serves as her boss’s alter ego, managing some day-to-day decisions on her own. It’s a win-win: A boost for the boss, and CEO training for the chief of staff.

— Adapted from “Latest CEO accessory: A chief of staff,” Beth Kowitt with Alyssa Abkowitz, Fortune.

Motivate a team to produce the desired results by providing them with feedback that goes beyond “what?” “when?” “who?” and “how?” Ask “why?” more often. It’s well worth it, even when time-consuming, says executive Terry Starbucker, who pens the TerryStarbucker.com blog. “Put another way,” he says, “it’s placing the desired result in the proper context for each team member, as well as explaining the importance of each person’s role in achieving that result,” he says.

Move closer to authenticity by forgetting how you think a corporate person should be. Bobbi Brown, founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, says that until at least five years ago, she thought she should be a certain way: “And I realized that the most important thing I could ever do, in my life and in my business, is be who I am.” For example, she says, “I like to sit on the floor with my team and work. I don’t like to sit in fancy chairs. It’s really important to the culture of my company that people understand who they’re working for.”

— Adapted from “High Heels? They Just Don’t Fit,” Adam Bryant, The New York Times.

Read faster using this technique developed by reading expert J. Michael Bennett: rhythmic perusal. Glide your eyes over the upper half of the letters, reading each line in a single, smooth movement. The practice sharpens your concentration and allows you to increase both your speed and focus.

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