Over a 30-year career, Robert Vanourek was chief executive of Sensormatic, a $1 billion security firm, and group vice president at Pitney Bowes, a $5.3 billion company. He’s chairman emeritus of the VailInstitute and co-author of Triple Crown Leadership.
EL: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about leadership?
Vanourek: Great leadership is not a solo act. It’s a group performance. You need to connect through the heart to lead effectively.
EL: But don’t leaders need to act on their own to make tough decisions?
Vanourek: In a crisis, you have to listen to alternatives and make a command decision. But if you operate like that all the time, people will wait to hear what you think. They won’t think for themselves. Leaders at times bite their tongues even if they think they’re right or they can do it better, as long as it’s not a bet-the-company decision. They’re able to listen and let others lead.
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