TIME Management

Why Monitoring Employees’ Social Media Is a Bad Idea

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Nick Ansell—PA Wire/Press Association Images Quote tweet feature. File photo dated 10/02/15 of the Twitter bird logo. Twitter has overhauled its "frustrating" quote tweet feature to allow people to say more about text they want to comment on. Issue date: Tuesday April 7, 2015. The social media giant had faced criticism that users barely had any characters left to add a comment when they quoted a tweet because of the 140-character limit. See PA story TECHNOLOGY Twitter. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire URN:22671665

there is a vast difference between asking for employees to exercise good judgment and hovering over their Tweets like Big Brother

People today live in a virtual online aquarium, and chances are good that one of the people watching you is probably your current or potential employer. According to job site CareerBuilder, 52% of companies now check job applicants’ social media profiles before hiring them, up from 43% just a year ago.

On one hand, it’s understandable. After all, it can be embarrassing for a business if one of its representatives posts offensive content or does something illegal via social media. Employers can even get into legal trouble for their workers’ actions. Advocates of the practice say that it’s necessary to protect companies’ reputations, confidential information, and is an inevitable byproduct of the Internet age, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But does monitoring of employees’ social media really protect a company or can it do more harm than good?

First, the argument that companies need to keep tabs online to ensure that their employees refrain from inappropriate or illegal behavior doesn’t really hold. While it’s conceivable that some low level silliness, such as posting a picture of yourself dancing on a table, could be prevented by employer monitoring, more serious infractions are unlikely to be shared on social media and therefore never appear on the radar of the company anyway.

In addition, when job candidates or employees know that they are being watched, they can restrict access to certain posts, set up dummy profiles to fool companies, or otherwise throw up smokescreens. This is particularly true of millennials, who are technologically adept at controlling and manipulating their online avatars. The point is, the limited preventative effect of social media monitoring may not be worth the time and expense required for companies to do it.

There is also the problem of bias. Americans today are arguably more socially and politically conscious than previous generations and actively use social media to convey their thoughts, debate important topics, and fight for causes. In some cases, employers may even be supportive, such as if a job candidate works tirelessly to raise money for breast cancer research, but in other cases, there is a real danger of people being penalized for their personal views on things like politics, race, or religion.

Even if a company itself is neutral, the subjective feelings of the person tasked with monitoring employees’ social media could easily lead to discrimination, especially in the highly polarized environment of the U.S. People should be able to share their views on gay marriage, for example, with their friends on social media, without running afoul of an employer who disagrees with them. Recognizing that in essence this is an inadvertent violation of laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, political preference, gender etc, employers should at the very least factor this into their social media policies and put safeguards in place to prevent against it. The harm caused by bias to workers is immense but so are the potential legal consequences for companies.

Finally, by looking over workers’ shoulders, companies could stifle the most important trait that can benefit a business: creativity. As innovation becomes increasingly necessary in a hyper-competitive business landscape, this factor can be crucial for a company’s success.

Social media, for those who use it avidly at least, can be a medium to express our personality – for who we are – which is naturally linked to our creativity. Companies that foster creativity are more profitable and 50% more likely to be market leaders than their peers, according to the Harvard Business Review. Yet some businesses fail to make the connection between suppressing their employees’ online freedom and restricting their creativity.

There is no doubt that companies are within their rights to expect compliance with some common-sense social media etiquette. However, there is a vast difference between asking for employees to exercise good judgment and hovering over their Tweets like Big Brother. The latter can erode a necessary sense of trust between companies and their workers and undermine loyalty. Just as an employee or a job candidate needs to trust that a company has integrity and is worth working for, the company needs to show its people that it trusts them to behave like responsible adults.

By allowing workers to live their personal lives without intrusion, smart businesses can make a powerful statement; namely, that they accept them for who they are, treasure their professional contributions to the company, and want them to be happy and fulfilled outside as well as inside the office. This, in turn, would inspire loyalty and boost productivity in the workforce, and make those companies more profitable.

Kumar has worked in technology, media, and telecom investment banking. He has evaluated mergers and acquisitions in these sectors and provided strategic consulting to media companies and hedge funds.

TIME Management

Ex-Staffer: ‘I’d Rather Go to Iraq than Work for Carly Fiorina’

Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina speaks at TechCrunchÕs Disrupt conference on May 5, 2015 in New York City.
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina speaks at TechCrunchÕs Disrupt conference on May 5, 2015 in New York City.

Ex-staffers have harsh words for Republican presidential candidate

Carly Fiorina apparently left a trail of unpaid, unhappy campaign staffers after her unsuccessful 2010 U.S. Senate bid. According to Reuters, the former HP CEO and 2016 Republican presidential hopeful waited more than four years to give her campaign staff the compensation they were promised.

“Federal campaign filings show that, until a few months before Fiorina announced her presidential bid on May 4, she still owed staffers, consultants, strategists, legal experts and vendors nearly half a million dollars,” Reuters reported.

Twelve ex-Fiorina campaign workers told Reuters that, if given the chance to work Fiorina again, they’d rather not. One anonymous senior staffer reportedly said they’d prefer to be sent to Iraq. Ouch.

To be sure, political campaigns often spend beyond their means and end up not having the funds to pay their staff. In many cases, the candidates themselves wind up footing the bill. In the end, Fiorina’s staffers got their paychecks.

Fiorina’s tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard was particularly tumultuous and involved significant boardroom tension and a massive, strained merger with hardware giant Compaq.

 

TIME Management

The 7 Most Memorable Commencement Speeches From Business Titans

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Speaks At Barnard College Commencement
Louis Lanzano—Bloomberg/Getty Images Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., speaks at the Barnard College commencement ceremony in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, May 17, 2011.

From Steve Jobs to Sheryl Sandberg

On rare occasions, a commencement speaker can jolt graduates to attention with a personal, even uncomfortable truth from their working lives. Here are seven speakers who departed from the usual bromides about “believing in yourself,” and mined their own lives for failure, doubts and blind spots that marked their ascent to the top of their fields.

Jimmy Iovine, University of Southern California, 2013

Music producer Jimmy Iovine observed that the successes he had achieved as a music producer didn’t amount to anything when he made the switch to selling Beats headphones. “So who believed that Dr. Dre and I could sell hardware,” he wondered aloud. “No one,” he answered in a speech that underscored the transient nature of success. “I learned even at 50, I had to be a beginner again.”

“Please remember this: Your diploma does not represent the end of your education, but the beginning of your continuing education,” he added.

Sheryl Sandberg, Barnard College, 2011

Two years before Sheryl Sandberg published Lean In, the Facebook COO was already sewing the seeds of the movement in an address to Barnard’s graduating class.

“Ask a woman why she did well on something, and she’ll say, ‘I got lucky. All of these great people helped me. I worked really hard.’ Ask a man and he’ll say or think, ‘What a dumb question. I’m awesome.’ So women need to take a page from men and own their own success.”

Jeff Bezos, Princeton University, 2010

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos related a hard bit of advice from his grandfather: “Jeff, one day you’ll understand that it’s harder to be kind than clever.” Bezos warned that the gift of creativity was a double-edged sword that could lead to complacency and worse, a know-it-all attitude, a lesson that he candidly admits he learned the hard way.

“Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy — they’re given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful, and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.”

Carl Icahn, Drexel University, 2008

Corporate raider Carl Icahn cut through the uplifting sentiments of commencement addresses with a stern assessment of the nation’s business elite, holding up the average American CEO as the precise opposite of a role model.

“With exceptions, we have terrible management in this country,” he said. “The system is dysfunctional. I can tell you how bad our boards are, with exceptions of course. I sit on a lot of boards. I don’t have to watch Saturday Night Live anymore; I just go to the board meetings.”

Bill Gates, Harvard University, 2007

Bill Gates highlighted a blind spot in his education that persisted for decades. “I knew nothing about the millions of people living in unspeakable poverty and disease in developing countries,” he told Harvard’s graduates, recounting how he was stunned when he first encountered the death tolls from curable diseases that had ravaged the world’s poorest communities.

“You have awareness of global inequity, which we did not have. And with that awareness, you likely also have an informed conscience that will torment you if you abandon these people whose lives you could change with very little effort.”

Steve Jobs, Stanford University, 2005

Steve Jobs drew a remarkable connection between a calligraphy course that would shape the future of Apple.

“If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class,” he said, “and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do,”

“So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

TIME Innovation

How Survivors in Nepal Are Getting Better Earthquake Aid

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. When local systems failed them, survivors in Nepal lifehacked earthquake aid.

By Abe Streep in Wired

2. Can the same brain drain that’s crippling health care in Africa be used to save it?

By Serufusa Sekidde in Project Syndicate

3. Find out how female Marines are getting the job done.

By Hope Hodge Seck in the Marine Corps Times

4. Learning to use a drill is good. Learning to run the plant is better.

By Sophie Quinton in National Journal

5. We might be able to starve cancer cells to death.

By Sandia National Laboratories

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY Workplace

How to Know What Career Phase You’re In

vertical filing system
Sophie Broadbridge—Getty Images

If you don't know, you really should read this

Your value to your employer changes following a pattern strikingly similar to how physicists describe the properties of energy. They refer to potential energy – energy at rest, and kinetic energy – energy in motion. Careers follow similar patterns.

As you prepare to enter the workforce you are building up your store of potential value – the value you will be able to add in the future based on exercising your intellectual and interpersonal energies, applying your education and academic achievements, bringing your enthusiasm, work ethic, and energy to an organization. As you land your first few jobs and begin to gain experience, this potential is translated into momentum, as you become increasingly more valuable based on your professional expertise, reputation, and track record. Picture a kid on a swing, kicking his legs and causing him to swing higher and higher. That is how your career takes off. You launch your career with the scale registering heavy on potential, and light on experience.

As you move through your career, the scales shift and the experience side eventually grows to outweigh the potential side. The trick is to add to the experience side of the equation without emptying the potential side. The more you can turn your potential value into valuable experiences, which can then be converted into greater potential, the more valuable you will become in the career market over time.

Now let’s turn to the first three phases that most careers follow.

Aspiration Phase

Time frame: 0-3 years

Characterized by: discovery and introspection, the process of learning, and the development of knowledge.

What you should aim to accomplish: In this phase, your value in the career market is based almost completely on your potential. So the most important objective is to discover your strengths and interests, and to begin learning marketable skills. Try out as many different kinds of tasks and jobs as possible. Get feedback from professors, peers, and mentors who can help you to identify what you are good at—and what you’re not good at.

If you use the Aspiration phase to gain exposure, build skills, work on your weaknesses, and fill in gaps in your knowledge, you will build your potential and strengthen your ability to provide value to current and future employers. So focus on acquiring life skills that are valued in every industry: writing, thinking critically, listening well, problem solving, and collaborating effectively with others.

And don’t forget to focus attention on your life outside of work. Take the time to build meaningful friendships, establish healthy living habits, and partake in activities you enjoy. These skills, coupled with the ones you’ll develop at work, are the foundation of any successful career and life. If you build them now, you’ll be poised for success as you develop more specialized skills later on, starting in the Promise phase.

Promise Phase

Time frame: 3-10 years

Characterized by: recognized by those who employ you through your compensation, promotions, access to the best assignments and mentors

What you should aim to accomplish: You will continue to explore your interests and talents, but you will also begin to develop specific professional skills, and make meaningful contributions to your organization. One goal in this phase is to show that the bet your superiors made on your potential was well placed. You will do that by becoming known as a can-do person who meets deadlines, does high quality work no matter the assignment, and asks good questions.

The second goal of the Promise Phase is to position yourself for the next stage of your career by testing out a diverse set of roles and work environments. First, are you inclined toward a position whose objective is to generate revenue, or do you prefer support functions? Second, are you skilled and interested in managing others, or do you prefer to be more of an individual contributor? Often, answers to these questions only emerge over time. You may need to switch departments, companies and even industries to answer them and you should reflect upon them carefully over the first decade of your career.

If you’ve built a strong foundation of work relationships and a reputation for excellent work, you may well be able to switch jobs within your existing organization to explore these key questions. It is incumbent on you to figure out the best environments and roles in the Promise Phase so you can dig into your chosen area and start becoming valued for your track record and experience. This is to say that there is one other key goal of the Promise Phase – to develop your skills in managing your own career.

Momentum Phase

Time frame: 10-20 years

Characterized by: your track record and reputation for which you will become known in the marketplace.

What you should aim to accomplish: The Momentum phase is when the value of your experience will overtake your potential value as you grow your professional standing by capitalizing on your experience, stature, skills and expertise. In doing this, you will become promotable in your company and more recruitable in your industry and across sectors.

Beyond leveraging your experience into new opportunities, success in the Momentum phase is also defined by the quality of the teams you build and manage. This is perhaps the first thing CEOs and HR officers consider when deciding whether you’re a fit for an executive role at the company. You want to become known as a “talent magnet,” someone who has built a positive culture inside your organization, attracted world-class talent from the outside, developed talent internally, and used all of these resources to create highly effective teams.

Build goodwill by supporting those around you and being a positive, responsive, and helpful colleague and leader. This is especially important when life inevitably gets in the way during this period of your career. The more goodwill that you have built up from having supported others around you and from being a positive, responsive, and helpful colleague and leader, the more assistance you will in turn benefit from when it comes to maintaining your momentum and balancing work with the major events in your personal life, such as marriage, parenthood, and health issues, to name a few.

Citrin runs the CEO Practice at Spencer Stuart, one of the world’s leading executive search and leadership consulting firms. He is the best-selling author of six books. This article was adapted from his latest, The Career Playbook: Essential Advice for Today’s Aspiring Young Professional, out now.

TIME Careers & Workplace

You’re More Likely to Be Enthusiastic at Work If You Have a Female Boss

That applies whether you're a man or a woman

Women managers have an advantage over their male peers when it comes to motivating employees, researchers say.

A Gallup study, State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders, found that 33% of employees are engaged when a woman runs the show, compared to 25% with a man at the helm.

Female managers also tend to be more enthusiastic about their own jobs than their male counterparts.

Gallup found 41% of female managers feel engaged at work compared to 35% of male managers.

The study also found that women managers were more enthusiastic at work than men, regardless of whether they had children.

When it came to same-sex management, the study found that female employees were on average more likely to feel involved in their work (35%) if their boss was a woman, compared to just 25% of male employees who show enthusiasm with a male manager.

The study also found women were better at encouraging their subordinates’ development, checking in on their employees’ progress and tended to provide more positive or constructive feedback.

Gallup says it hopes the results will encourage organizations to hire and promote more women managers. Currently only one third of Americans have a female boss.

TIME Management

6 Charts Showing Tech’s Gender Gap Is More Complicated Than You Think

See why it's so hard to break the glass ceiling in Silicon Valley

 

Several of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies have released a series of diversity reports revealing how few women held the companies’ top jobs — or jobs in general. Now a recent string of lawsuits is suggesting that the fix isn’t simply to recruit more women — what about the women who are already employed? Are they being held back from rising up?

That’s the key question in investing partner-turned-Reddit CEO Ellen Pao’s ongoing lawsuit against her former employer, Kleiner Perkins, a highly-established venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California. The jury in Pao’s case began hearing closing arguments this week, and will soon decide whether it was gender bias that prevented Pao from being promoted to a higher-ranking partner, or, as Kleiner Perkins’ lawyer argued, whether Pao is simply “[blaming] others for her own failures.”

Adding to the scrutiny of Silicon Valley’s treatment of women are two other high-profile gender discrimination lawsuits against Twitter and Facebook, both recently filed by former female employees.

A gender gap in the workplace, particularly in Silicon Valley, is old news. But Kleiner Perkins isn’t kind of Silicon Valley company we’re used to hearing about. By suing a venture capital firm, Pao raises a important point — the gender gap could be a problem at the firms that are often funding Valley companies, too. (In addressing this claim, Kleiner Perkins said in a trial brief last month it has “long been a supporter of women entrepreneurs.”)

According to a report by Babson College in 2013, gender bias reveals itself in the patterns of venture capital investments. (The study was sponsored by Ernst & Young and the Diana Project, both of which prioritize workforce diversity.) Upon analyzing these patterns, the study found that businesses with all-male leadership teams are four times as likely to receive venture capital funding as teams with even one woman.

That apparent gender bias might explain why only 3% of venture-funded businesses are led by women, according to Babson College’s report, which surveyed 6,517 of these businesses. About one-third of all U.S. businesses are led by women, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration:

 

Curiously, the percentage of female venture capital investors (11%) is almost equal to the percentage of female executives among Silicon Valley’s Top 150 companies (10.8%) — though this is merely a correlation. (These data points come respectively from the latest Venture Census and a 2014 report by Fenwick & West LLP, a global law firm with clients including Facebook and Google.)

Even if these two gender gaps are wholly unrelated, it’s still worth noting that Silicon Valley appears to have an especially pronounced gender diversity problem when compared to the S&P 100. The S&P 100 is a non-industry specific stock index comprised of companies with the 100 leading U.S. stocks, many of which are outside Silicon Valley:

 

So it’s an undeniable truth that Silicon Valley has a gender diversity problem. But the question of whether the gap has started to close is a bit trickier.

Take, for example, the following chart from Fenwick’s report. It shows the percentage of women in the highest-ranking positions in Valley’s top 150 companies (“SV 150″) between 1996 and 2014. By looking at the upward trends, you could say that gender diversity in Silicon Valley has improved:

But don’t jump to any conclusions. Once again, when you compare the SV 150 to the S&P 100 benchmark, gender diversity in the Valley appears to be problematic. Take a look at the following chart, which shows the top Valley companies had lower percentages of women than the S&P 100 in every single leadership position except President/COO and General Counsel in 2014:

There’s yet another caveat: If you examine only the very top Valley companies, the gender diversity problem is cast in a much better light. After all, Google just named a female CFO this week, while Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman are proof of change among tech titans.

The chart below shows gender diversity in the Valley’s top 15 companies (“SV15″), like Google and HP, has rapidly improved. Female representation was remarkably strong in a several positions in 2014, including President/COO and CFO. But other positions, like Chair, were still entirely male in 2014 — just like in 1996:

These mixed messages regarding the depth of Silicon Valley’s gender problem are surfacing on both sides of Pao’s trial. Kleiner Perkins’ lawyers, for example, argued that 20% of its partners are women. That’s much higher than the average of 6%, according to Babson College’s report, which surveyed 139 venture capital firms’ partners in 2013. Kleiner Perkins’ top ranking female partner, Mary Meeker, even testified against Pao, arguing the company promoted women based on their merits.

But Pao, too, had an arsenal of numbers at the ready. In addition to qualitative evidence of gender bias — like claims of all-male dinner parties — Pao’s legal team also cited the superior performance of investments made by the company’s female investors, including Pao. A female partner at Kleiner Perkins once reportedly even constructed a matrix comparing women’s and men’s investments to drive this point home.

The jury in Pao’s trial will soon put an end to these arguments — but the gender gap debate will surely continue outside the courtroom. Even if the jury sides with Kleiner Perkins, Pao’s closely watched trial remains a warning for the larger, male-dominated business industry to reevaluate the treatment of women in their companies. There’s a business incentive at play here, too: Companies with female leaders appear to be performing unusually well, according to a recent study of women-led companies by Karen Rubin, director of product management at the algorithm development site Quantopian. In her study, Rubin showed how the women-led Fortune 1000 companies — there are only 27 currently — posted greater cumulative returns than those of SPY, a tracker of the S&P 500 stock index, which Rubin used as a benchmark:

Women Leader Fortune 1000

In fact, it seems that these female-run companies have outperformed the male-dominated benchmark even more often since the financial crisis of 2008-09. That’s a gender gap to be proud of — and one that can’t be ignored.

Read next: 5 Best Ways Men Can #LeanInTogether to Help Women Get Ahead

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TIME career

3 Things That Change When You Have a Direct Report

businesswomen-discussion
Getty Images

Your tasks are no longer the only thing you’re measured on

When you start out in the working world, you’re just concerned about doing your job. You’re probably at the lower end of the totem pole, just trying to complete all of the tasks that come your way to the best of your ability.

At least, that’s how I was. Until I had a direct report.

1. You second guess a lot of the things you say in one-on-one meetings.

I never realized how much I hung onto every word of good and bad feedback my boss gave me during our one-on-one meetings until I had to host my own one-on-one’s. Sometimes I feel like I provide good feedback, but there are also meetings where I feel like my thoughts were running away from me, and I wasn’t being clear. Do your best to prep for these meetings like you would for a meeting with your own manager. Try to have a few talking points or specific questions you’d like to ask.

2. You and your direct report are partly dependent on each other to progress.

One of the strangest things about having a direct report is that in some ways, you’re now responsible for her future. Sure, her work has to shine and improve, but you have to give her the guidance to make her into that future person. You have to tell her what to work on and where to grow. Most importantly, you become a sponsor for her when it comes to promotion time. Not only do you have to speak to your strengths, but now you have to speak to someone else’s.

As part of this, your ability to manage others also goes into your performance review. Your work is no longer the only thing you’re measured on.

3. Your job is no longer just about the work you produce.

Having a direct report means that your job is no longer just the tasks you have to get done on a daily basis. You can’t just go through your to-do list, but you have to be available if someone else has questions, just like your manager is to you. I’ve had some excellent bosses, and one of the things I love most is their ability to be available and present when I have questions. Most bosses are good at being available, but great bosses can really stop what they’re doing to help talk you through your issues.

This article originally appeared on Levo.com.

TIME leadership

3 Books Every Leader Should Read to Be Successful

Frank Gehry has selected personal favorites for his 'Curated Bookshelf' at Louis Vuitton's London flagship. The shelf is located in the first-floor librarie.
Jessica Klingelfuss

Teachings from the best in the business world

As an employee, you function mostly as a solitary unit. You do your part, produce your “output,” and the work is done. But as a manager (or more precisely, a leader—managers manage tasks, leaders lead people), everything changes. Your success is no longer about your own output, it’s about other people’s — the most important work you do is often what enables other people to do their jobs. But finding your way can be difficult. So in honor of National Book Month, here are three books that every leader should read to succeed.

High Output Management by Andy Grove

Key points: Grove’s book, reflecting on his time as Intel CEO in the 1970s, remains relevant today because of the basic principles it outlines: As a leader, you are an enabler of others. Your team’s performance, not your own output, is what you are judged on. Grove also shares five key things that should inform and govern your time: decision making, information gathering, information sharing, nudging and role modeling. If you are spending significant time doing things outside of those five key areas, it might be worth rethinking your schedule.

Best quote: “The art of management lies in the capacity to select from the many activities of seemingly comparable significance the one or two or three that provide leverage well beyond the others and concentrate on them.”

Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? Inside IBM’s Historic Turnaround by Lou Gerstner

Key points: Compared to High Output Management, which can read a little like a textbook, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? is practically a thriller. Gerstner’s well-known memoir about the turnaround of IBM is a vibrant book on leadership during a challenging time. It’s about transformation. Gerstner touches on the importance of speed and a clearly communicated set of principles—especially across a company as large as IBM was at the time. Gerstner also talks about the issues big companies run into with mid-level talent: “People do what you inspect, not what you expect.”

Best quote: “I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.”

The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company by John Rossman

Key points: This is by far the easiest read of the three in this post, but it’s also the most effective at providing prescriptive and actionable leadership advice. Rossman, a former Amazon executive, decodes a lot of the behind the scenes at Amazon and points to what is most important at a company that complex: decision making and ownership. The owner of a project or product doesn’t have to be the most senior person at the organization. In fact, it can be a very junior person. But this person is the sole person responsible for the project’s outcome.

Best quote: “Amazon.com employees quickly learn that the phrase ‘That’s not my job’ is an express ticket to an exit interview.”

Have your own favorite leadership books? I’d love to hear them—tweet at me @cschweitz.

Read next: 4 Biggest Myths About Being a Great Leader

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