Legendary business journalist Marshall Loeb spent decades interviewing the greatest leaders of American business. Along the way, he defined these steps to effective leadership:

  1. Know the difference between leading and managing. Loeb liked to quote Warren Bennis on this: “Leaders are people who do the right things; managers are people who do things right. There’s a profound difference.”

  2. Develop your sense of purpose. “What employees want most from their company leaders,” Loeb wrote, “is direction and meaning, trust and hope.”

  3. Show courage. Sometimes, that means the courage to be extremely unpopular.

  4. Use candor. When you say what you really think, you encourage the people you lead to do the same.

  5. Limit yourself to just a few key objectives. Loeb quotes Jack Welch on this: “I have only three things to do: I have to choose the right people, allocate the right number of dollars, and transmit ideas from one division to another with the speed of light.”

  6. Borrow the best ideas and methods from others. GE was among the first to study and apply Wal-Mart’s retailing systems.

  7. Remember that great leaders are made, not born. “They’re made,” Loeb observed, “usually, self-made.”

  8. Be yourself. Figure out what you’re good at and stick to it.
— Adapted from a speech that Marshall Loeb delivered before the Minnesota Center for Corporate Responsibility. Access the full text here

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