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Executive Leadership

Most of us have had bosses so insecure that they could never let their employees succeed. Jack Winter was such a guy. Fresh out of college, he found himself in Miami Beach on a venerable staff of comedy writers because TV celebrity Jackie Gleason had picked some of his material. As it turned out, Winter didn’t understand Gleason’s humor. What’s worse, Gleason turned out to be a tyrant. Luckily for us, we can use his memories to become better leaders. Some of Winter’s wonders:

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A personal symbol can help you stay centered during tough times. Some real-world examples:

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You start to think that you have to be perfect to be a leader. You have to set perfect goals, make perfect speeches, arrive at perfect decisions and motivate people perfectly. Not so. Even the greatest leaders have flaws. Sometimes very big flaws. Consider E. B. White, the legendary editor of The New Yorker.

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An organization that rewards people lavishly for mediocre work might have a happy work force … but probably an unexceptional one, too.

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Management fads make employees cynical, says coach and consultant Wolf Rinke. They feel used and even abused. Eventually, they develop thick skins so they can stay sane while playing the “Let’s pretend” game during management’s next fad onslaught. To stop the insanity, Rinke points to research showing that four basic, “somewhat nonsexy” practices lead organizations to outperform their peers:

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Here’s some advice to aspiring leaders from Jodi Solomon, president of a speakers bureau in Boston:

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How effectively are you conveying the image that you strive to build as a leader? To find out, perform this simple test over the next workday:

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To former Pepsi executive Michael Feiner, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” written in 1837 by Hans Christian Andersen, is the greatest leadership story ever told. You know the story. An emperor acts like a fool because his subjects are too cowed to tell him the truth: that he’s been hoodwinked into wearing invisible “clothes.” So, are your people telling you the truth? Here are some reasons why they might not be, and what you can do about it:

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From the movie “A Beautiful Mind,” you might get the idea that the important thing about mathematician and economist John Nash is that he won the Nobel Prize for creating a “theory of everything.” For leaders, though, the important thing about Nash is his obsession with originality. As more and more organizations become labs for innovation, those who lead will be the ones who create the most original products and services. Take these steps to develop a unique way of seeing things and to maintain your creative momentum:

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Test your career and work-related goals to see if they stand up to these four questions:

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