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Leaders you would willingly follow?

I am interested in the topic of “leadership”. I have chosen to define it in terms of whether people willingly follow (or stay with) an individual.

While others identify as effective leaders those who have been at the helm of successful organizations, in my experience leaders are not limited to those whose organization’s succeed. CEOs with poor leadership skills have seen their organization excel – perhaps by luck or the ability of others within the organization. CEOs with excellent leadership skills have seen their organizations fail, through no fault of their own.

I have had the pleasant experience of working with several that I would call effective leaders. These are people I would willingly follow.

But, they are all different. The have different qualities, each of which have made me want to work with and for them.

Is that your experience?

What has made you want to stay with or follow a leader?

  1. Joe ODonnell
    March 23, 2015 at 6:04 PM

    Norman, I have also seen combinations of different personality attributes and styles that have worked. Most memorable to me was when I worked for MBNA and we hired General Charles Krulak, former Commandant of the Marine Corp as an executive to head up our operations in the UK. General Krulak brought a very different and unique style to our organization which had a very strong culture and way of doing things. It was amazing to see how the General stayed with the leadership approach that he had perfected throughout his military career, adapting it to our company, but not compromising his fundamental principles. He later led a professional sports team (Aston Villa Soccer Club) and now leads a university, proving my initial assessment that this man could lead anyone, anywhere.

  2. Richard Fowler
    March 24, 2015 at 5:14 AM

    I have been fortunate to have worked for several wonderful leaders. And I’ve been less fortunate to have worked for a few bad leaders. From my perspective, a good leader has two significant qualities: first, they can balance the needs of the organization with the needs of their subordinates; and second, they can motivate their subordinates to achieve exceptional results. The first aspect is difficult to achieve, and those who can do so will almost always be good leaders. Part of the problem is that it requires honesty and trust, and these are rare commodities in today’s business environment. The second aspect is even more difficult, and requires the ability to understand the different types of motivational needs and triggers in their key subordinates. But once the key players are highly motivated, a synergy is created with the rest of the staff and the organization as a whole improves performance.

    Some people in leadership positions will try to play their staff off each other, creating competition but also creating unnecessary conflicts. Others try managing by fiat, and other by micromanaging. In all these cases, there is a lack of trust in the staff by the leader that produces a lack of trust in the leader by the staff. Without the trust relationship, people will not willingly follow that leader for long. Which is why there are three companies at which I have worked for 1 year, and three others at which I have worked for 5 years or longer.

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