What Great Leaders Do

6 Aug

>I recently discovered the podcasts section in iTunes and started downloading all sorts of talks and lectures. One of the best ones I have heard so far is a talk called What Great Leaders do by Bob Sutton as part of the Stanford Technology Lectures – Entrepreneurial Though Leaders podcast.

Bob summarises there his book called Good Boss, Bad Boss and in just over half an hour talks us through qualities of both kind of bosses. It is great for anybody thinking about moving into leadership roles or as a call for reflection for those already being bosses. I could certainly relate to a lot of his points from my experience of leading AIESEC UK.

I will let you listen to it yourselves but the three points I liked the most were:

- Good boss acts on his/her intuition as if it was a fact but is open to listening and when new piece of information comes in that proves he is wrong he is willing to change his/her position.

- Good bosses allow and foster what he calls a loving conflict. That seems to be taken a bit from Good to Great by Jim Collins but what it is basically about is that it is all right to have conflicts as long as they are open, do not get personal and finish up constructively for benefit of the team/organization.

- The final one I want to mention is when he actually builds on Good to Great’s concept of great organisations having a BHAG (a Big Hairy Audacious Goal – that is a statement which sets an ambition for the company for the next 20-30 years and which looks almost impossible to achieve without strong determination and a bit of hubris). Bob says that BHAGs freak people out and suggest that the best way to overcome this feeling is to break it into small and tangible steps which can be achieved quickly and create a sense of success to get the organisation moving towards achieving it’s BHAG.

All in all, you would have probably heard most of the things Bob talks about before (and he himself acknowledges that this book is his take on the topics having read lots of various journal articles) but he summarises them very well and they are so important that you should hear them again anyways if you want to be/are managing others.

You can find it here: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=80867514

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