apologies to Voltaire, who once said, "Common sense
is not so common," I believe that most great thoughts,
at root, are based on common sense, including those associated
with the major components of business leadership.
my 22-year career with Baxter International, in a range
of roles including CFO, president, chairman and CEO, I was
fortunate to lead many teams among the global healthcare
company's 50,000 employees in 100 countries. Along the way,
I often reflected on effective, values-based leadership
and what it encompasses.
I did, I understood the importance of communicating these
insights in a clear, straightforward way.
me, leadership is a delicate balance of true self confidence
and genuine humility. It includes understanding the significant
value and influence that you, as an individual, can have
in any position in an organization. It is the knowledge
that your opinions and views are important, leading you
to make sure your supervisor or team makes no decision without
your input. You believe it is appropriate to challenge the
team in a respectful way, not driven by the need to "be
right," but rather to "do the right thing."
truly self confident means recognizing that you may not
be the brightest, quickest or most articulate team member,
but that you are nevertheless comfortable with who you see
in the mirror. This confidence is not egotistical or self-serving.
It's grounded in a genuine desire to make a powerful, constructive
with self confidence is genuine humility. With it, leaders
understand they are no better, no more important, than any
other team member. Leaders never forget where they came
from or take themselves too seriously. Instead of considering
success a result of solitary efforts, leaders recognize
their teams' contributions, and maybe even those of a larger
a well-balanced leader sets out to affect an organization,
eight major areas are key.
1. Values. Without them, a team has nothing on
which to build its foundation. Values provide the core of
the enterprise, the moral absolutes, and serve as the cardinal
compass point. A leader must live these values, setting
the example, and must do so consistently and constantly.
Team members must thoroughly understand the values and the
repercussions of not living them.
2. People development. An organization's most
important asset is its people. With the right individuals
in the right positions, continuous recruitment, training,
feedback, development and retention, a leader can build
a team capable of achieving virtually anything.
3. Clear direction-setting. The leader avoids
ambiguous, lofty vision that may confuse. In setting a clear
direction, a leader must draw on substantial team feedback.
Simple directions help ensure that others will understand.
4. Communications. A leader must communicate
continuously to all team members, employing various tools
so each person understands the team's goals in detail. Doing
so demands the leader is extremely articulate and willing
to repeat important information over and over.
5. Motivation. A fun, engaging leader, able to energize every member
of the team, is effective. Leaders need to rally team members
facing multiple priorities to focus on the importance of
the agenda at hand. Doing so requires the ability to articulate
this agenda clearly and powerfully.
6. Management 101. Some leaders mistakenly believe
it's their role to set direction while others execute. Delegation
is appropriate; but the leader must be close enough to the
planning, organizing, executing and measuring of performance
to assess progress or determine necessary changes.
7. The Four Cs.
Change, controversy and crisis
will be ongoing, and a leader must be prepared to address
these with courage. Fear and uncertainty are unavoidable,
but a leader needs to demonstrate courage. Doing so reassures
team members that despite challenges, the leader, with significant
input from the team members, will set a clear direction
and concrete plan for execution.
8. Social responsibility. Today's world presents an amazing number of challenges,
calling for leaders to step forward, take ownership and
present solutions to effect positive change. A true leader
is compelled to lead his organization in a manner fitting
a responsible citizen, and strives to make a difference
both within his organization and outside his organization,
on a global basis.