“influential leader essays on being a leader”

A visionary leader, though, does need lieutenants who can take their vision and translate it into day-to-day work for the rest of the organization. If it’s all vision and strategy with no tie to day-to-day execution, employees will get confused and ultimately leave.

Ideas came to me in a flash, but sometimes I’d held them back. Why? I’m not sure. In meetings, I stayed silent at times because I didn’t want to overshadow anyone else on the team. Most of those good ideas were lost in a vapor cloud. More important, they could have spurred others on and fostered a better dialogue.

Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, is co-author with Jeffery Sng of The ASEAN Miracle: A Catalyst for Peace. He was selected as one of Prospect magazine’s top 50 world thinkers in 2014.

Become an expert. Saying, “I don’t know” as a leader is fine. Saying, “I don’t know” repeatedly to every question you’re asked is not. When you don’t know something, find out the answer. Become an expert on what you need to be a pro in. Eventually, you’ll have all the answers. You don’t need them all right now, but you’ll need each one eventually.

Ford’s (F) miracle worker saved the company without resorting to bankruptcy or bailouts by doing what previous leaders had tried and failed to do: change Ford’s risk-averse, reality-denying, CYA-based culture. After earning $7.2 billion of profit last year — far more than General Motors (GM) or Chrysler — the company paid its 47,000 UAW workers a record $8,800 each in profit sharing.

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership — starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers …

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As a Level 5 Leader, you don’t believe you are perfect. You must, however, believe in yourself, and be convinced that you have what it takes to succeed and that you can get better. You are always looking for new ways to develop your leadership qualities and take your game to the next level.

Share what you know. People believe that knowledge is power so they tend to hold it close. If the people I speak to would have shared what they knew with each other, they could have come up with a similar conclusion.

With that in mind, sometimes the executive team is surprised by some of the people I speak with, unaware that insight and understanding reside with people in roles they would not have considered. People in finance, product development and legal affairs have a different understanding about the market than marketing people do.

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