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Put poetry in motion to convey messages

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

A potent quote, perhaps one learned early in your career, can convey your vision of life and work to your people.

Enrique Salem, president and CEO of computer security company Symantec, reels off a few of his favorite leadership lessons, which happen to be quotes:

√ “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”    

William Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure”

“If you think about that quote,” says Salem, “it really is how I want our company to be. You’ve got to take some chances. You’ve got to take some risks, and sometimes things don’t work out, but you’ve got to go for it.”

√ “Check your ego and your title at the door.”    

— Unattributed

Salem’s first manager said to him, “Look, a lot of times you don’t lead by your position. You lead by how you influence other people’s thinking.”

His take-away? “It can’t be about your success. It has to be about what you are trying to accomplish.”

√“I am a part of all that I have met.”

— Tennyson’s “Ulysses”

A poetic way of saying that you learn from everybody you interact with.

√ “Positive attitude is a force ­multiplier.”    

— Colin Powell

√ “Expect great things.”

— Unattrib­uted

Set the bar high. “I expect people to perform,” Salem says. “I want to get great people around me, and I expect them to do great things.”

— Adapted from “Want to Lead? Ask Tennyson and Shakespeare,” Adam Bryant, The New York Times.

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