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Ben Bernanke: methodical mind

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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s colleagues say he has the whole package necessary to lead the Fed. Here are three of the characteristics that make him a good leader:
  1. He’s a consensus builder. Bernanke fits the modern model of a leader who listens to various informed points of view before making a decision. To take an example from his previous role as head of the economics department at Princeton, Bernanke eased the tension between two warring factions while at the same time raising the department’s profile.

    “I thought I was pretty darn good, and Ben was the best chair we ever had, and for the reasons that actually inform his current job,” says a predecessor at Princeton. “He was extraordinarily good at working diverse viewpoints.”

  2. He values forethought. Bernanke told another Princeton colleague that you can learn a lot about people by noticing when they get out their car keys. He does it as he leaves the office, long before reaching his car.

  3. He’s determined. After a storm rolled in once at the Newark airport and delayed their flight to Boston, Bernanke and a colleague considered what to do. The colleague suggested that they drive. Fighting his fear of flying, Bernanke said, “No, I promised myself if I got to the airport, I’d get on the plane.”
—Adapted from “The Education of Ben Bernanke,” Roger Lowenstein, The New York Times Magazine.

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