On Monday, you’re doing what comes naturally, enjoying your job, running a project, talking and laughing with colleagues about life and work, and gossiping about how stupid management can be. Then on Tuesday, you are management. You’re a boss.Suddenly, everything feels different—because it is different. Leadership requires distinct behaviors and attitudes, and for many people, they debut with the job.Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself.When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.Without question, there are lots of ways to be a leader. You need to look only as far as the freewheeling, straight-talking Herb Kelleher, who ran Southwest Airlines for thirty years, and Mi-crosoft’s quiet innovator, Bill Gates, to know that leaders come in all varieties. In politics, take Churchill and Gandhi. In football, take Lombardi and Belichick.

Each of these leaders would give you a different list of leadership “rules.”If asked, I would give you eight. They didn’t feel like rules when I was using them. They just felt like the right way to lead. . “What does a leader really do?” for instance, and “I was just promoted and I’ve never run anything before. How can I be a good leader?”


1. Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team, using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach, and build self-confidence.

2. Leaders make sure people not only see the vision, they live and breathe it.

3. Leaders get into everyone’s skin, exuding positive energy and optimism.

4. Leaders establish trust with candor, transparency, and credit.

5. Leaders have the courage to make unpopular deci-sions and gut calls.

6. Leaders probe and push with a curiosity that bor-ders on skepticism, making sure their questions are answered with action.

7. Leaders inspire risk taking and learning by setting the example. 8. Leaders celebrate.■

■You have to evaluate—making sure the right people are in the right jobs, supporting and advancing those who are, and moving out those who are not.■You have to coach—guiding, critiquing, and helping people to improve their performance in every way.■And finally, you have to build self-confidence— pouring out encouragement, caring, and recognition.—

Self-confidence energizes, and it gives your peoplethe courage to stretch, take risks, and achievebeyond their dreams. It is the fuel of winning teams

I am often asked if leaders are born or made. The answer, of course, is both. Some characteristics, like IQ and energy, seem to come with the package. On the other hand, you learn some leadership skills, like self-confidence, at your mother’s knee, and at school, in academics and sports. And you learn others at work through iterative experience—trying something, getting it wrong and learning from it, or getting it right and gaining the self-confidence to do it again, only better.For most of us, leadership happens one day when you become a boss and the rules change.Before, your job was about yourself.Now, it’s about them.


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