Tag Archives: leaders

Leaders! It’s Time For A Fresh Perspective

Leaders_New_Perspectives Leaders have a big problem, which means you may have a big problem, too. When uncertainty is the new normal, how is it possible to lead others? Increasingly, leadership resilience (and lots of it) is your most valuable skill. Your confidence comes from your ability to bounce back and persevere even in the face of enormous uncertainty. How will you thrive in the face of rapid paced change, evolving marketplaces and shifting environments?

Here are five ideas to help you successfully persevere amidst the unexpected:

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Five Skills Every Leader Needs in 2013

StatusQuoWhat’s your game plan for success in 2013?  As leaders we receive plenty of conflicting advice.  Real world insights are hard to come by and sometimes extremely difficult to comprehend.  We all know foresight is better than hindsight, so where can you gather both insight and foresight for the New Year?

If you’re planning on stepping up your game in pursuit of high level performance and greater success in 2013, you have a lot to gain by examining the thoughts and advice garnered from more than seventy-five CEO interviews captured in The Corner Office. The experiences were gathered up by Adam Bryant, a senior editor at The New York Times who writes a weekly feature entitled Corner Office.   Bryant recently gave an interview to Knowledge@Wharton in which he identified five qualities of successful leaders gathered from his interviews with CEOs:

Passion and curiosity. Having a deep sense of engagement with the world — a questioning mind.

Battle-hardened confidence.  Having a track record of facing down adversity and knowing your capabilities.

Team smarts. Having the organizational equivalent of street smarts.

Simple mindset.
  Having the ability to distill a lot of information into the one or two or three things that truly matter.

Having a bias toward action — not recklessness, but a willingness to take risks.

Bryant’s crisp and concise writing draws on his extensive conversations with dozens of top CEOs including Ford Motor Company’s Alan Mulally, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, Jeffrey Katzenberg at DreamWorks, Xerox’s Ursula Burns,  David Novak at Yum Brands, and Teach for America CEO Wendy Kopp, among seventy plus others.

As Bryant points out, leadership is not a one-size-fits-all skill.  Understanding and uncovering how these individuals kept getting promoted and what key skills they possessed drove much of this work.  As one of Mr. Bryant’s interview subjects points out, “Though chief executives are paid to have answers, their greatest contributions to their organizations may be asking the right questions.”  That’s good advice for all leaders new and old alike.

No Passion. No Progress.

A few days ago, a friend was honored for their twenty years of service to a non-profit organization.  Beyond the humorous gifts and the heartfelt appreciation of her many colleagues, friends and volunteers, it was the organization’s President—the chief volunteer leader—who provided one of the event’s most significant insights.  He read the first column ever written by my colleague for the organization’s newsletter.  While her commentary was upbeat and positive—typical of a new leaders—she also laid out an engaging and inclusive theme for the future of the organization and the community it serves.  Light on specifics, but broad and encompassing in concepts, you could feel her optimism and in a way “see” her vision.

Twenty years later, as the organization’s President said just before reading the column to us, “This will sound familiar.”   He was right.   In all of my encounters and in all of her many messages, columns and interactions, she has steadily repeated, tested, and engaged the members in an active dialogue about her vision for the organization and more importantly the community it serves.  She has rarely wavered—not out of stubbornness, mind you—but rather out of a deeply-held commitment and heartfelt belief in her purpose and passion.  Coupled to the mission of the organization, it became and has remained a powerful force.

It was a warm and memorable reminder of the power of passion.  Having it isn’t quite enough.  Sharing it, saying it (over and over and over again) engaging members and allowing your ideas to be shaped and re-molded by the insights and experiences of others can be.  Leaders know the power of passion and as this celebration so aptly reminds us, so do their followers.