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Executive Leadership

The ancient Romans built a magnificent city over a swamp because they envisioned a powerful, stable society and had the craftsmanship and discipline to make it happen. The plan’s sheer scale reveals the Romans’ larger-than-life ambitions. Use this three-part approach to make sure you’ve got enough “oomph!” behind your mission.

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The landowners of Celtic Ireland elected their kings based on merit. Cormac MacAirt—known for peace, prosperity and justice during his reign as a high king in the third century— was reputed to have written books on criminal law and history as well as a famous manual for leaders.

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Creativity. It’s a fairly new buzzword in business. Now comes research from Harvard business professor Teresa Amabile to debunk the myths about it. For the past eight years, she’s run a diary study of hundreds of managers “to look at creativity in the wild.” Amabile has uncovered these myths:

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The best doesn’t come along too often, but the worst, the mediocre and the merely OK show up all the time. Thus, recognizing when to say “No” is more valuable than knowing when to say “Yes.” Eliminate poor choices quickly, and you save everybody’s time.

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Use quick “Got a second?” chats on the fly, rather than lengthy meetings, to stay on top of things.

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Determine whether the people you’re considering promoting are ready to break with their current jobs

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Resist the temptation to dismiss people with one-word labels

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Gain a new perspective on how your organization really operates

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“Leadership is not magnetic personality,” says management guru Peter Drucker.

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Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo overshadows what is perhaps his biggest leadership gaffe.

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