Executive Leadership

Make better decisions by devoting more time to understanding the viewpoints of those who don’t agree with you

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It remains an irony and a mark of Chief Joseph’s leadership that,
although he carried no authority over anyone except his own small
tribe, everyone considered him the great chief of the prosperous
Northwest tribes known as the Nez Perce. Through broken treaties and broken promises, Joseph still stands as an icon of bravery, compassion and leadership.

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During its Golden Age 2,500 years ago the city/state of Athens created
democracy and produced some of the greatest art and architecture in
history, yet could rise to military excellence when threatened. Here are some ideas for leading your organization toward that kind of durable greatness:

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In 1953, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis played London’s Palladium, the
first appearance in England for what back then was America’s top
entertainment act. The Palladium audience loved them … except for a few anti-American
demonstrators in the balcony, who booed. The next day, several British
papers carried headlines that read, “Martin and Lewis Booed.”

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Leaders run a high risk of burnout as they move from one real-world challenge to the next. Stay strong by realizing that you need to continually learn and grow in three key areas:

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When William Nuti left his job as Cisco Systems’ senior vice president
in 2002 to take the helm of Symbol Technologies, board members warned
him that he’d be facing “issues.” But it was much worse than that.

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Herman Edwards, newly named head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs football team, always had leadership in his bones.

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Most people never heard of Gary Kelly until one of his planes slid off
the runway at Chicago’s Midway Airport in December. But Kelly has been
cleaning up after crashes for a while. For Kelly, leadership means getting the team behind you.

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Kelly Slater’s older brother used to turn everything into a contest,
and he always made sure Kelly lost. That, coupled with their drunken
father and angry mother, forged Kelly Slater into a fierce competitor
and a wild man on a surfboard.

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Sure, you want a hard-charging successor to continue your work. But you also want someone who leads with compassion and loyalty to
someone other than himself. You don’t want a narcissist succeeding you. Run your protégé through this gantlet to see how he scores on the narcissist scale.

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