16 things every leader should know how to do


Leadership isn’t black and white; instead, proper management demands a broad palette of skills. In this rigorously color-coded world of academic regalia, MBAs are known by the color of their hoods. But don’t be color-blinded: Management is neither dull nor monotonous. 

Particularly not now, when creativity, daring and speed matter so very much, isn’t it about time we take a fresh – and colorful – look at the 16 things every leader should know how to do:

  1. Allow talents to thrive: Sure, it’s a provocation to juggle all that star power, but don’t drag everyone down to the most profound common denominator.
  2. Speak truth to power: Pandering up to the top brass is passé. Please stand up for what you know is right, even when it’s politically ticklish.
  3. Make a presentation.: Know your stuff, then practice, practice, practice.
  4. Make a difference: Your mission matters. So show some self-confidence, forge ahead, and don’t be discouraged.
  5. Deliver results: If promises are not followed by performance, you’re toast.
  6. Conduct a performance evaluation:  Make it a real discussion about goals and talent, not a twitchy talk you have to recover.
  7. Acknowledge the power of relationships: Order barking doesn’t cut it. To foster collaboration, you need to connect people – customers, colleagues, everybody.
  8. Show some spunk: Enthusiasm is contagious!
  9. Embrace technology: It’s redesigning the world.
  10. Handle the press; Say as much as you feel you can and never lie.
  11. Tell a story: The most arresting phrase in the leadership vocabulary is “Let me tell you a story.”
  12. Listen, really listen: It’s the most authentic sign of respect there is.
  13. Roll the boat: Don’t be afraid to fuss when it’s about something central to your mission.
  14. Learn something new: You’re past your freshness date when you start quoting yourself.
  15. Actively promote pilots and models over plans and proposals: That comprehensive 400-page report took 18 months to do; meanwhile, a faster rival walked off with your best customers.
  16. Get a life: Do not – I repeat, do not – bombard your staff with phone or e-mail messages when you pull an all-nighter.

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