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Judith M. Bardwick

  • For workaholics, all the eggs of self-esteem are in the basket of work.

  • I think that very few people are ambitious in the sense of having a specific image of what they want to achieve. Most people's sights are only toward the next rung, the next increment of money.

  • The need for challenge, the need to burst through the constrictions of tasks and situations already seen and mastered, can affect anyone, even those enjoying the greatest gains from success.

  • The message to organizations is this: You have to increase the number of categories of contributing, or the types of career paths, which people can experience as successful. You cannot restrict esteem to the fewer and fewer who will be climbing up the management ladder. You need to have the majority of your people feeling like winners.

    • Judith M. Bardwick,
    • in Marlene Caroselli, The Language of Leadership ()
  • When people in organizations feel too secure, it's because there aren't any significant outcomes as a result of what they do. Whatever you do, nothing much different happens. This also means there are no important pay-offs if you risk by innovating. As there are no rewards for taking risks, then there's no sense of push in that institution's culture.

    • Judith M. Bardwick,
    • in Marlene Caroselli, The Language of Leadership ()
  • Institutions which have too much security ... tend to become bureaucratic. They add layers of people and layers of rules in order to assure the security of not making mistakes.

    • Judith M. Bardwick,
    • in Marlene Caroselli, The Language of Leadership ()
  • I am impressed and distressed at how passive hierarchical organizations make people. There's often a lot of overt activity, but it's not going anywhere, it's game-playing. It's play-acting at work.

    • Judith M. Bardwick,
    • in Marlene Caroselli, The Language of Leadership ()
  • ... there's a large core of powerlessness which is balanced against the unwritten contract that says that if you behave, you'll be okay. No wonder people pay so much attention to knowing the rules, to knowing the right people, to not making waves, to never making errors — to not risking, trying, innovating.

    • Judith M. Bardwick,
    • in Marlene Caroselli, The Language of Leadership ()
  • If the mood is overly anxious, then anxiety must be reduced by lowering uncertainty. Very simply, uncertainty is reduced when people are told what's going on and what will happen to them. In the vacuum of no news, people imagine the worst. Since disappointment is much easier to handle than anxiety, then, good news or bad, honesty is honestly the best policy.

    • Judith M. Bardwick,
    • in Marlene Caroselli, The Language of Leadership ()
  • In organizations where nothing much happens regardless of whether you do something exceptional or just show up in the morning, the best people lose heart and motivation is reduced near the lowest common denominator.

  • With air travel there is no distance, there is only time.

  • ... we know that productivity suffers when uncertainty is high. But we've failed to realize the equally destructive effects of too little anxiety. ... By protecting people from risk, we destroy their self-esteem. We rob them of the opportunity to become strong, competent people.

  • ... motivation is highest when the probability of success is 50 percent: We don't get involved if the task is too easy or too hard.

  • Credibility is lost when there are big discrepancies between what leaders say and what they do. ... Increasing credibility requires openness. Hidden agendas will destroy trust.

  • In the end, leadership is not intellectual or cognitive. Leadership is emotional.

  • In truth, it's usually failure, disappointment, and frustration that motivate people to reexamine that which they've taken for granted. It's rare to find big change without significant bad news. ... In that sense, the pain of failure creates the largest opportunities for progress.

  • Leaders evoke emotional connections in followers only to the extent that the followers are emotionally needy.

    • Judith M. Bardwick,
    • in Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and Richard Beckhard, eds., The Leader of the Future ()
  • Leaders must (1) define the business of the business, (2) create a winning strategy, (3) communicate persuasively, (4) behave with integrity, (5) respect others, and (6) act.

    • Judith M. Bardwick,
    • in Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and Richard Beckhard, eds., The Leader of the Future ()

Judith M. Bardwick, U.S. psychologist, writer, management consultant, educator

(1931)