We all have the potential to become leaders. Very few of us are leaders all the time, but we all encounter moments in our lives when we can, and should, lead others. In a committee, in business, at a social club, at home, or at a religious institution, we all find a time in our lives when we have an opportunity to lead. Few people set out knowingly to become leaders; rather, they see a need and they find a way to take on the challenge, and often, others choose to follow their example.
Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, Professor of Medicine and Faculty Dean for Continuing Medical Education at Harvard Medical School, is one of the most impressive and enlightened people who I know. He has recently published, Leadership by Example, a book that is both engaging and thought-provoking. The book is organized by the LEADERSHIP mnemonic which Dr. Chopra explains as:
L – Listen, E – Empathy and compassion, A – Attitude, D – Dreams and decisiveness, E – Effectiveness, R – Resilience, S – Sense of purpose, H – Humility and humor, I – Integrity and imagination, P – People skills and principles.
Dr. Chopra recognizes that leadership is an important attribute, but it is very difficult to grasp as a concept. So rather than taking a theoretical approach, he has deliberately recounted a number of leadership examples to motivate all of us.
Great leaders move mountains, but they first move people. Even after having read it, I have kept it on a nearby shelf, as I plan to revisit it on a regular basis. I encourage you to do the same.
Within seconds of meeting Tom Heiser, you immediately sense his high level of intensity, focus, competitiveness and energy that has driven him to a successful career in the IT industry. Tom joined EMC in 1984 as a sales trainee and rose to increasingly senior sales and executive roles. He has played a key role in EMC’s evolution into a broad-based information infrastructure leader, including being directly involved in the formation of EMC’s Cloud Infrastructure and Services Division. He also served as EMC’s SVP, Corporate Development and New Ventures. He is now President of RSA, EMC’s Security Division, with ~$1B in revenues, 3,000 employees worldwide and more than 30,000 customers.
Tom is absolutely one of the best in the business and he’s offered to share his management principles.
What makes a good business leader? What skills, qualities and attributes help business leaders succeed? Penny Webb, Founder and Managing Director of Familias and Company, shares her insight into what qualities are needed to succeed as a business leader (Penny has consulted and coached 65% of the FTSE 100 CEOs, as well as executives across Europe, Middle East, Asia and the US).
- Create Alignment: Good leaders are able to ensure, on a continual basis, that every level of the organisation understands the strategy and their role in its execution. Penny says, “Often we ask employees, management, and board members to articulate the firm’s strategy and the lack of alignment in their responses is telling.”
- Appreciate Cultural Differences: Good leaders need to recognise that what works in the West doesn’t necessarily work in the East. They also understand the need to not impose their views on others. They tailor their messages and moreover, seek ways to learn from those who are different. “Think about the number of firms who have sought to invest or develop outside their home country? It doesn’t always work well,” Penny suggests. A leader must ensure that sufficient due diligence is done to assess a firm’s readiness to work and succeed in a different culture. Read more
What makes a good business leader? What skills, qualities and attributes help business leaders succeed? Penny Webb, Founder and Managing Director of Familias and Company, shares her insight into what qualities are needed to succeed as a business leader. Penny has consulted and coached 65% of the FTSE 100 CEOs, as well as executives and family offices, across Europe, Middle East, Asia and the US.
Reflect Continuously – The ability to take time to reflect on your own strengths so that you can build on them. Reflection helps to build self-awareness and enable business leaders to grow based on what they are good at. As Penny says, “Find out what you aren’t good at and stop doing it.” In fact, leaders spend a total of 2-3 weeks per year for self-development. Working with a private coach can help enormously in this regard.
Have a Clear Vision of Success – Good leaders have a good idea what they want to do and set out on a journey to achieve these goals. They are also able to establish what personal and professional success looks like and work towards these goals. If leaders are not clear and consistent in their own goals, how can others follow? A good exercise for any leader is to consider themselves at 80 years of age, looking back on what they have done and whether or not that would provide them with the contentment they are looking for to ensure they have lived according to what is truly important to her or him.