Adam Grant

All Photos Twitter.com 5 hours ago
Weak leaders blame the messenger. They see problems as threats to their ego. Strong leaders thank the messenger. They see problems as threats to their mission. Great leaders promote the messenger. They see recognizing and raising problems as acts of vision and courage.
10h
The best way to get honest feedback is to reward people for giving it. If you make it hard to tell you the truth, people take the easy way out. When people have the courage to be candid, you can reinforce it with gratitude and curiosity. tedtalks.social/WLAdam @MellodyHobson
Worrying is a sign of uncertainty: you're anxious about what might go wrong. Thinking can help you tolerate uncertainty, but it's action that reduces uncertainty. You don’t have to wait for fear to fade before you take the leap. Taking the leap is how you conquer fear.
Accepting a compliment isn't a violation of humility. It’s an expression of gratitude for an act of kindness. Deflecting undermines the gesture—and discourages them from praising others. Even if you're struggling to believe it, saying thanks shows that you value their words.
There’s someone you've lost touch with who continues to have a meaningful impact on your life. They might be a teacher, a mentor, or an old friend. Their example still inspires you—and their advice still guides you. Now is the time to tell them how they’ve made a difference.
A Netflix binge is a temporary escape from languishing, not a cure. Passive engagement in a fictional world doesn't offer a lasting sense of meaning, mastery, or mattering. Flourishing depends on active participation in the real world: creating, connecting, and contributing.
Pressuring people to be positive turns emotional intelligence into emotional labor. Toxic workplaces police people’s emotions. Healthy workplaces offer freedom of emotional expression. Showing stress or sadness isn't unprofessional. It's human. tedtalks.social/WLAdam @mervatim
The most underused tech of 2021: phones. Not every meeting needs to have cameras on. In voice-only calls, we're better at reading emotions—and more in sync. Video adds cognitive load: we worry about making the right facial expressions and struggle to interpret body language.
Overthinking is a problem. Underthinking is a bigger problem. I feel for people who get stuck in analysis paralysis. I worry about people who don’t do the analysis in the first place. It's better to embrace the discomfort of doubt than to live with the regret of overconfidence.
When this pandemic is finally over, everyone on earth should get a month off work
We're not as good as we think at communicating emotions over email. We know we're being funny or sarcastic, so it's hard to predict whether the receiver will catch the tone. When in doubt, pick up the phone. If the emotion is complex, be in doubt. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16393025/
Saying no doesn't mean you don't care. It's an act of self-care. It isn't selfish to set boundaries. It's selfish of others to expect you to be selfless. A gracious decline isn't a rejection of the person. It's a recognition that you don't have the energy for this right now.
When people overstep, it's not always because they don't respect your boundaries. Often it's because you haven’t drawn your boundaries. If you don’t tell them where the line is, how can they learn to stop crossing it?
Public service announcement: Not everyone who disagrees with you is stupid or evil. Even if you're not a fan of what they think, you might learn something from how they think.
Effortless success is a myth. Making excellence look easy is hard work. If you succeed without struggling, it might be a sign that you set your sights too low. The higher you aim, the more challenges you face. Any goal worth pursuing will have obstacles along the path.
Hey leaders trying to cancel all remote work: did you forget we made it work in a pandemic? Productivity is purpose and process, not place. It's driven by why and how we work—not where we work. Flexibility is here to stay. Those who reject it may not be bloomberg.com/news/articles/…
Building confidence is about raising self-esteem. Reducing insecurity is about stabilizing self-esteem. If you base your self-esteem on external approval, it will always be unstable. Being secure requires an internal compass of competence and worth. tedtalks.social/WLAdam
Pressuring people to say yes today often leaves them more likely to say no tomorrow. "I need to talk to you" implies an obligation. "I'd love to talk to you" is an invitation. "I need your help" imposes a burden. "I'd value your help" respects freedom and shows gratitude.
"We've always done it that way" is not a valid reason for anything. Don't follow traditions because the status quo is comfortable and change makes you uncomfortable. Question whether past routines are serving you well in the present and guiding you toward a better future.
If you're considering a career change but worried about taking a step backward, remember this: It's better to lose the past 2 years of progress than to waste the next 20.
Leaders don’t have to grant every request from employees, but they do need a fair process for considering each one. Even if they don't get their way, people want to have a say. Speaking up isn't just about driving change; it’s also about being heard. tedtalks.social/WLAdam
The higher you climb, the more your success depends on making other people successful. Leaders are judged by what their followers achieve. Leadership is elevating individuals to do more than they thought possible and groups to do more than their members could independently.
When people let you down, you owe it to them to let them know. Hiding disappointment breeds resentment—and sets them up to keep disappointing you. Explaining how their actions fell short of your expectations isn't unkind. It's an investment in improving the relationship.
A form of prejudice we don’t discuss enough: ageism. New data: people who believe in equality are less sexist and racist—but more ageist. They see older adults who choose not to retire as blocking opportunities. If you support equality, shouldn't it extend to all groups?
Withholding feedback is choosing comfort over growth. Staying silent deprives people of the opportunity to learn. If you're worried about hurting their feelings, it's a sign that you haven't earned their trust. In healthy relationships, honesty is an expression of care.
It's not making mistakes that causes failure. It's the time we spend ruminating about them instead of studying how to avoid them. It's not success that causes complacency. It's the time we fail to spend studying the conditions that fueled success and learning to recreate them.
You can't expect to change a lifetime of biases with an hour of training. Overcoming biases is like changing a habit. You have to recognize the bad habit, break it, and create accountability for forming a better one. Education is a start—not the cure. tedtalks.social/WLAdam
You can’t expect people to change if you keep rewarding the status quo. In every kind of relationship, you get what you reinforce. Don’t feed the hand that bites you.
My recommended new books for the summer cover leadership and change, fear and courage, commitment and meaning, judgment and decision-making, and communication and conflict. linkedin.com/pulse/12-new-l…
It's time to recognize burnout as a medical condition. Across occupations and countries, if you're burned out, odds are you're depressed. Burnout is emotional exhaustion—being so drained that you have nothing left to give at work. In other words, it's job-related depression.
Signs of a toxic culture: "Work hard, play hard": we work 90hr weeks, but sometimes we party instead of sleeping "We're customer-obsessed": we don't care about employees "We don't do remote": we don't trust you "We only hire winners": you have to be an asshole to succeed here
When feedback isn’t helpful, try asking for advice. New experiments: requests for advice elicit more constructive input than requests for feedback. Feedback tends to focus on how well you did in the past. Advice shifts attention to how you can do better in the future.
Study of 10,000+ tech workers who went remote: Work hours increased by 30%, but productivity fell by 20%. Why? More interruptions & meetings, less 1:1 time & coaching from supervisors. If we want remote to work, we need focused time to work and learn. bfi.uchicago.edu/working-paper/…
Leaders: How much should I pay my employees? Data: More. Under financial scarcity, people are less productive—and score 13% worse on IQ tests. Raise their salary, and they work harder and smarter to earn it. When people feel valued, they add value. tedtalks.social/WLAdam
A surprisingly powerful step for fighting groupthink: look around the room. New experiments: when leaders shifted their gaze toward people with lower status, those voices were more likely to be heard and included—and groups made better decisions. journals.aom.org/doi/10.5465/am…
Worrying doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. It means something you value is at risk. Anxiety is a sign that you care. We worry about the people we love, the performances that matter to us, and the principles—freedom, security, health, democracy—that we hold dear.
The most direct way to figure out what's valued in a culture isn’t to listen to what people say is important. It's to pay attention to who gets rewarded and promoted into leadership roles. Groups elevate people who represent their principles and advance their goals.
Students at high-achieving schools have 3-7x higher rates of clinical depression and anxiety symptoms than national norms. Pressuring kids to succeed undermines their growth and well-being. The price of college admission shouldn't be mental illness. nytimes.com/2021/05/04/opi…
This is what effective science communication looks like: 1. We're building up a massive blanket of pollution that's overheating our planet. 2. It's causing extreme weather and hurting the people and things we love. 3. We did this and we can fix it. ted.com/talks/john_mar…
The point of offering advice is not to give the right answer. It's to help people ask the right questions. You may know what's best for you, but the task is to figure out what's best for them.
Introverts, spring 2020: "I've been preparing for this moment my entire life" Data, spring 2021: introverts have experienced more stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depression than extraverts Extraverts seek more connection, but introverts need it too. theconversation.com/have-introvert…
Pursuing perfection can prevent progress. Momentum requires lowering your standards for the first draft. Pursuing productivity can compromise quality. Excellence demands raising your standards for the final product. A key to balance is to aim higher as you climb higher.
If insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, false hope is doing a different thing and expecting better results right away. Expecting immediate improvement is a barrier to progress. Two steps forward often start with a step back. go.ted.com/adamgrant
What we need in leaders is not confidence, but confident humility. It's being secure enough in your knowledge to recognize your ignorance—and secure enough in your strengths to acknowledge your weaknesses. My new @TEDTalks on the courage to #ThinkAgain ted.com/talks/adam_gra…
Not everyone who isn't flourishing is languishing. @austinkleon makes a compelling case that some of us are dormant, like a volcano waiting to be activated. I agree that we shouldn't expect to flourish in bad conditions, but I think it's worth trying. austinkleon.com/2021/04/26/im-…
What’s more dangerous than ignorance is being ignorant of your ignorance.
In too many meetings, great ideas get overlooked because people fail to support them. New data: amplifying others' ideas helps them get heard... and makes you look good. One of the best ways to elevate the group—and earn respect—is to champion voices that aren't being valued.
Personality assessments help us understand ourselves and others, but the popular ones lack rigor—and the rigorous ones lack practicality. Introducing PrinciplesYou, a free assessment of 17 personality traits that @DrBrianRLittle & I created w/@RayDalio: principlesyou.com
Public service announcement: You can’t refute evidence with opinions. When you disagree with data, you have 3 options: 1. Find better data 2. Identify limitations of the existing data 3. Consider the possibility that you were wrong, and have the humility & integrity to admit it
To understand the values in a culture, we often examine which behaviors get punished. But we also need to consider which behaviors *don't* get punished—what people get away with. "A culture is defined by the worst behavior tolerated." @JohnAmaechi tedtalks.social/WLAdam
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