Lessons I’ve learned from leaders…

Tim, Sheryl, Omid, Alexandre, Sukhinder, Daniel, Gonzalo, Kate, Kate, Margo, Susan, Larry, Sergey, Eric, O, Anthony, Johnny, Stanley, Richard, Stacy, Anish…

I’ve had the privilege of working with and observing closely some of the most successful corporate leaders of our time. Here are three things they all have in common:

  1. Humility. So many were unafraid to get down into the trenches to get things done. No pedestals or ivory towers here. I remember one leader begging his team to put him on the phone, add him to the meeting, give him the support ticket so he could help out, and so the team would get some relief and meet their sales goals. Imagine how motivated the team became? I’ve also seen leaders cry at the illness or death of an employee. They all knew my name, and the correct pronunciation. So many were warm, approachable and gave hugs – talked about regular life.  Imagine the real connections forged?
  2. Equanimity. My new favorite word because I want to master it. I was once in charge of a project launch that had an issue and caused a million dollar, one day loss. I was prepared to get fired.  During the critical update call, the most important leader in the room paused and then remarked: “ok, so this is a 1% problem? What are the next steps?” I never worked so hard after that, for him, in my life.
  3. Sense of humor/Play. I’ve seen leaders dress in drag for Halloween, salsa dance, drop it like it’s hot. I’ve seen leaders throw down their personal credit card for sushi delivery for the whole office. Play soccer in the lobby with each other as a break. Get sloshed with the rest of us at happy hour.

Companies make you a manager. Your people make you a leader.