One Thing All Remarkable Leaders Learn to Do
All successful leaders universally share one quality. I’ve interviewed and learned from some of the world’s most respected leaders and thinkers.
- James Whitehurst – CEO and President of Redhat.
- Jack Welch – retired CEO of GE.
- A. G. Lafley – Executive Chairman of the Board of P&G
- Jim Parker retired CEO of Southwest Airlines.
- Doug Conant retired CEO of Campbell’s Soup.
- Jim Quigley – retired CEO of Deloitte.
- Jim Collins – Author, speaker, consultant.
- Simon Sinek – Author, speaker, consultant.
- Gary Hamel – Author, speaker, consultant.
- Ken Blanchard – Author, speaker, consultant.
- Marshall Goldsmith – Author, speaker, coach.
- And many more …
The list is diverse. Some are relaxed and spontaneous; others structured and formal. Some are extroverts like Jack Welch; others introverts like Doug Conant.
One thing remarkable leaders learn to do:
Remarkable leaders learn to make the most of unexpected interventions.
- Doug Conant – the introvert – became a masterful networker after unexpectedly losing his job.
- Jim Collins experienced an intervention when his team convinced him to write about leaders, rather than organizations.
- Ken Blanchard wrote the, “One Minute Manager,” with an author of children’s book. They met at a party.
- Jack Welch rose above stuttering to become one of the most visible leaders in the world.
Unexpected interventions are inflection points where leaders become remarkable or forgettable.
Disruption and intervention make you great, if you grow through them.
Five ways to thriving in interventions:
- Lean toward taking action. Do something as long as you’re reasonably confident it won’t do harm. Inaction seldom makes you remarkable.
- Believe negative interventions produce positive benefits. Ask the darkness, “Who are you calling me to become?”
- Maintain an outward focus. Don’t close down or sink into yourself. Remarkable leadership is always about the value you bring others.
- Gather a team of advisers, mentors, and/or coaches.
- Keep asking, what if and what about.
How might leaders grow through disruptions and interventions to become remarkable?
How many women did you interview? This post seems very relevant to male leadership. The things that successful men do and the things that successful women do are mostlikely very different.
Thanks Ocirclefilms. I haven’t interviewed many women. However, I believe the basic principle applies to either gender. It’s pretty hard to image a successful leader who doesn’t grow through disruption and intervention.
As a matter of fact, it seems that the more challenging path that many women encounter makes them better leaders. I wrote about it here: https://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/its-harder-for-women/
Dan, I also noted the absence of women on your list…and your comment that “the basic principle applies to either gender” is not always borne out in the research. There are significant differences in the way women lead, and I hope you’ll look at that topic further.
Thanks Debbie. I love the idea that gender matters. To make it not matter is to deny the value of diversity.
Thanks again for jumping in. Diversity is an important issue.
Thanks Dan -Great post as always. However I do agree it is interesting to note the absence of women on the list.
I have been musing about the lack of female influence in large global organisations like the catholic church and investment banking.
I wonder if the scandals engulfing them around their culture would be the same if more women were involved in top leadership at the time.
I know it’s rather general – just my thoughts at present, as I’m going to see the movie Spotlight soon.
Thanks Clara. I’m glad that the absence of women has been called out.
Gender diversity only matters if there’s a difference between genders. To suggest that there’s no difference between the genders is to eliminate the value discussing this topic.
Glad you stopped in today.
Hello Dan. Really enjoyed your post today. And you are absolutely correct that great leaders, men or women are developed out of challenge. Much like the refinement of gold, or the creation of a diamond, great leaders are developed through the heat and pressure of life.
Thanks Jay. Your angel on this is important. There’s value in adversity, when we grow through it. I think we lean away from situations that we really should lean into. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not for jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, just for the fun of it. 🙂
Hi Dan, Enjoyed reading your post and learnt how important to be surrounded with team of advisers, mentors, and/or coaches with positive mind frame in time of disruption. Also lot of learning by assessing the situation by putting forward various questions.. Thanks for insights
Thanks Piyush. Your addition of curiosity is so important. Stay curious during disruption. If disruption is a point of opportunity, curiosity is essential to getting the most from it. Thanks for adding your insights.
Dan, Gender Leadership, complicated for sure, I never really questioned the posts from a gender standpoint, I do see where the complexity can exist being in the females realm offers sometime to ponder for sure! I tend to agree the basic principles apply to both!
Thanks Tim. I was glad to be reminded that it’s important to be inclusive. Have a great week.
I wish I could express how much I needed to receive this message right now. I shall refer to it often as I’m leading my team while we start a new initiative. Thanks!
Thanks Ang. It’s such a pleasure to be of service. Best wishes for success in your new initiative.
Hello Dan! I think the intervention process or disruption moment is a moment. Not to dwell in it as it is only a moment. And as I know by experience to turn a negative moment into a positive one, by maintaining a optimistic set of behavior skills and attitude + mindset. Afterwards the most beautiful thing which I am trying to achieve….maintaining balance. Have a cheerful weekend. regards, Dennis