James Cameron defines leadership

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Firing,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers

An Oscar-winning director whose films bring in billions, James Cameron is known for exacting top performances from talent. His rules for leading:

Motivate with a sense of exploration. For Cameron, innovation is a tool for uniting his team. “We’re doing extraordinary things that outsiders would not even understand,” he says.

Fire you? Hardly a chance. Cameron rarely fires people. Instead, he tests their endurance for long hours, hard tasks and harsh criticism. Survivors turn in the best work of their careers.

Lead from the trenches. He may have a talented crew of 3,000, but Cameron is the first to try a new challenge and the last to quit at the end of the day.

Hire people people. His closest associates are there to recognize when a tired crew needs a pep talk or when a wounded artist’s ego needs soothing.

— Adapted from “Firing Is Too Merciful: How James Cameron Leads,” Rebecca Keegan, Harvard Business Review’s The Conversation blog.

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