Published on: Monday, April 30, 2012
Leadership, Defined by Leaders
Even author and Harvard Business School professor Bill George quoted someone else, Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, when he spoke about leadership: "Leadership is a long journey into your own soul." But, George added, "Nothing is more fulfilling than leading, bringing people together to make a difference in the world."
As leaders, you've read countless volumes learning how to better lead and drive team performance and organizations, and spent more untold hours on-the-job doing, but sometimes it's a simple phrase that crystallizes the leadership experience. Here's some inspiration from successful leaders ExecuNet has captured while on location that we've collected to share with you.
"Every solider or employee needs to know why their job is important, not why yours is. It's the leader's job to communicate this clearly; give them the tools to get the job done and to inspire them to want to do the things they must to accomplish the goals."
—Colin Powell, retired US General and former Secretary of State"You have greater influence as a manager or leader than as a volunteer. It's a ministry. Don't wait to look back from retirement to realize that."
—Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team"The best leaders hire over their heads every time."
—Bill McDermott, co-CEO and member of the Executive Board of SAP"You want people to feel that they own the business because as a leader, you're more likely to think 'If I'm an owner, failure is not an option.'"
—Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev"The higher up you go — the more money you make — the more our role as leaders of the organization is building the future of our companies."
—Renée Mauborgne, co-author, Blue Ocean Strategy, fellow and professor, INSEAD"We're so busy that we are always giving our people the answers. Instead, be quiet. Challenge them to come up with the solutions. We need to build a culture of solution finders. It takes time but you must force them to take the time to go away and come back with solutions."
—Daniel Harkavy, CEO of Building Champions Inc."Good leaders come in all sizes and shapes — what they have in common is followers. They set high expectations, are resolute in the face of adversity, and when others say it can't be done, they make it happen."
—Bill McDermott, co-CEO and member of the Executive Board of SAP"They [leaders] hire self-motivated people and give them a charge, a direction (to head). Some companies do a very good job of the reverse. They hire self-motivated people and beat motivation out of them."
—Jim Collins, author, Good to Great and Great by Choice"We are a big publicly listed company, so we confirm our strategies with facts but always lead with intuition. You can't prove something you haven't tried before will be successful but we have to enable and empower intuition."
—Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry"The defining quality of a leader in today's business world is their capacity to define a common purpose, to explain how others fit into corporate strategy, to outline what they can do to make a difference, and then to empower them to achieve the dream."
—Gary Burnison, CEO of leadership consulting firm Korn/Ferry InternationalLet us know which leadership quote resonates with you or if there is a saying you turn to for inspiration.