Bob Iger is one of the best CEO’s and his longevity on the job shows that he is someone who has gone through the trials and tribulations to sustain world class for a lifetime. So, I wanted to see what made him tick with his new book “The Ride of a Lifetime.” It is a wonderfully well told story only thing this is real. He identifies ten principles of true leadership and here they are with my take on each.
Optimism: This is the top of the hit parade for any true leader. Tom Peters said, “The race will go to the curious, the slightly mad, and those with an un-satiated passion for learning and dare-deviltry.” Optimism is one of the key traits of successful people. All change or innovations that have happened in the world are due to people willing to see something more than others see. Where others see roadblocks, successful people see opportunities. I have come up with ten commandments which can help us be at our optimistic best. You can read it here. The Optimist’s Manifesto
Courage: Courage is not absence of fear but control of fear. Of course, all leaders have extraordinary courage. Courage is the ability to take risks, make decisions and then stick by those decisions. Courage allows us to seize opportunities even when there is no guarantee of success. Develop courage by reducing your fears and increasing action.
Focus: Bob Iger says there were only three priorities when he came to Disney. One of them was to create extraordinary content and focus on technology. All great leaders know when they have to say no, and they never have more than 3-4 priorities. So, we all know this but implementing it and staying focused is the key.
Decisiveness: You cannot imagine a leader who is indecisive. As it is often said successful people don’t always make the right decisions but the make their decisions right. So be like Henry Ford he always made decisions fast but when he wanted to change a decision he took a lot of time.
Curiosity: All true leaders are curious. Curiosity means you always have a beginner’s mindset. You never think you have learned it all. Always be reading and learning. Keep expanding your horizons by broadening your information intake. Know the experts in your field, connect with them, read their books, read their blogs, listen to their podcasts and document what you learn.
Fairness: The only way you can get respect from your team is if you are fair to everyone and don’t play politics. So be fair to your team and treat everyone well. Care personally but challenge directly as mentioned by Kim Scott in Radical Candor.
Thoughtfulness: Leaders take time before they blurt out their opinion. Refuse to take sides on petty matters which don’t really mean much for the organization. So always take time to think strategically. Put some space between a thought and the response and most likely you will not go wrong.
Authenticity: Be true to yourself and never present a fake self. People appreciate those leaders who are vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to show your true self and people will like you more.
The relentless pursuit of perfection: Product the best products of highest quality. Always aim high and establish standards of excellence that everyone can aspire to. Keep on producing output that makes others gasp in awe.
Integrity: This is basically doing the right thing even if it is difficult to do. Always tell the truth and don’t take shortcuts for any short-term profit.
As you can see each of the above tips are easy to implement but hard to follow all the time. The key is to entrench these tips and ensure they are firmly ingrained in your teams to produce world class results.
Thanks for reading this post.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.