Positive Leadership has also been recognised as a Top 50 Leadership Expert to Follow on Twitter.

Follow us on Twitter @posleadership


Monday, November 02, 2009

Leadership Without A Secret Code

Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard's president, says leaders need to communicate that there is nothing mysterious about their roles.

She has other interesting comments about leadership style in this extract from a recent New York Times article:

'Q. What are the most important leadership lessons you’ve learned?

A. I think the most important leadership lessons I’ve learned have to do with understanding the context in which you are leading. Universities are places with enormously distributed authority and many different sorts of constituencies, all of whom have a stake in that institution. You’re always interacting with them, learning from them and directing your energies toward helping to pull and push them in the direction you wish to move.

Q. How do you do that?

A. I spend a huge amount of time reaching out to people, meeting with people, trying to move around the campus, either literally or digitally, and with alumni networks all over the world, so that I can connect. Leadership by walking around — that’s not just a space anymore, that’s a digital space, it’s virtual space. So an enormous amount of my job is listening to people, trying to understand where they are, how they see the world so that I can understand how to mobilize their understanding of themselves in service of the institutional priorities.

Q. What have you learned from historical figures?

A. One of the things that I’ve thought a lot about with Lincoln is how he dealt with people. Partly what Doris Kearns Goodwin has written about is at the heart of this, which is a team of rivals, bringing different people together. But what I take from that effort is that Lincoln would not allow someone to be his enemy. You just were hard-pressed to be mad at him, because he’d be after you, again, in a way that used his power, his charm and his intelligence to bring you around, to be an ally. So I’ve thought about that a lot, as I’ve thought about the politics of the university and having to deal with people who might disagree with you, who might not like your decisions, to not let that turn into enmity, but to always bring people back around to being contributors.'

For more, see - http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/01/business/01corner.html?pagewanted=1&ref=business