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When thrust into power, seek support

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

“I was a partner at a financial services firm that my grand­father started in 1932.

“My father was the firm’s managing partner when, in 2004, he passed away unexpectedly. I became managing partner overnight.

“He died on a Sunday. Monday morning, I met with four senior partners before leading a meeting with 45 partners who were concerned about our future. All had invested in the firm and had money at risk, and they wondered if we’d stay in business.

“I leaned on the four of them for their wisdom and knowledge. I asked, ‘What’s on the partners’ minds?’

“‘They’re looking for your leadership,’ they replied. ‘They’re looking for like-mindedness with your father’s leadership.’ It really helped when they added, ‘We have your back. We’re in this together.’

“I became a stronger leader by having experienced tragedy. You grieve, you provide reassurance to your team and you get through it.”

—Andrew Crowell, vice chairman, individual investor group, D.A. Davidson & Co., Los Angeles, Calif.

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