Five Golden Rules for Leadership

In The Leadership Code: Five Rules to Lead By, (Harvard Business Press, 2011) Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman have distilled leadership into five core roles:

  1. Strategist—Leaders shape the future.
  2. Executor—Leaders make things happen.
  3. Talent manager—Leaders engage today’s talent.
  4. Human-capital developer—Leaders build the next generation.
  5. Personal proficiency—Leaders invest in their own development.

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How to Cultivate Executive Presence

Someone in your company may have recently been promoted to a leadership position. This person successfully competed against other qualified candidates, some of whom were probably just as experienced and smart.

As often happens in judging one candidate over another, the decision most likely came down to degrees of “executive presence.”

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Emotions: Leadership’s Secret Weapon

“Leadership isn’t something you do writing memos, you’ve got to appeal to people’s emotions. They’ve got to buy in with their hearts and bellies, not just their minds”

 ~ Lou Gerstner, former CEO, IBM

Business has a long tradition of ignoring emotions in favor of rationality. Feelings are dismissed as messy, dangerous, weak and irrelevant to day-to-day operations.

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Purpose-Driven Leadership: The Bridge to What Truly Matters

Far from being touchy-feely concepts touted by motivational speakers, purpose and values have been identified as key drivers of high-performing organizations.

  • In Built to Last,  James Collins and Jerry Porras reveal that purpose- and values-driven organizations outperformed the general market and comparison companies by 15:1 and 6:1, respectively.
  • In Corporate Culture and Performance, Harvard professors John Kotter and James Heskett found that firms with shared-values–based cultures enjoyed 400% higher revenues, 700% greater job growth, 1,200% higher stock prices and significantly faster profit performance, as compared to companies in similar industries.
  • In Firms of Endearment, marketing professor Rajendra Sisodia and his coauthors explain how companies that put employees’ and customers’ needs ahead of shareholders’ desires outperform conventional competitors in stock-market performance by 8:1.

Leaders who have a clearly articulated purpose and are driven to make a difference can inspire people to overcome insurmountable odds, writes Roy M. Spence Jr. in It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand for.

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