Wisdom of the Ages

I stumbled across a faded client file from 20 years ago and unfolded a sheet of newsprint I used during a workshop in 1993.  During a discussion on leadership, I referred to a book that had just been published that captured the “essential elements of a leader”. I was a huge fan of Leadership Jazz by Max Depree – one the best books on the subject.

All these years later, I remain a fan, and a fervent advocate of these principles that withstand the test of time.

(And, in the newsprint vs Powerpoint debate, chalk a point up for the pen and paper! A typed transcript is provided after the jump.)

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Tough Questions for Very Human Leaders

  • Do you take time regularly to recognize and thank people?
  • Do you show interest and concern in their work?
  • Do you let people know when you don’t know something?
  • Do you call key customers regularly to touch base?
  • Do people come to you to confide in you?
  • Does the day to day work of the organization feel boring, stale & conservative? What risk or sense of adventure do you model?
  • Do you hire the best – even individuals better than you?
  • Do you stop, talk, listen, congratulate, inquire – as part of your role?
  • But, do you really listen?
  • Are you willing to let go of unproductive programs? People?
  • Do you institutionalize effective interventions?
  • Do you life people beyond complacency, reignite emotion or ambition, challenge?
  • Do people feel supported, encouraged to grow personally?
  • Are you publicly accountable with your own goals? Achievements? Feedback?
  • Do you model openness?