Last week I talked to a former Harvard Business School professor about leadership. He said he he was surprised how little leadership appears on the business school curriculum. Sure, there’s one required leadership class first year, but it’s often not taken as seriously as the other subjects. It is sometimes perceived as a soft, fuzzy, even unteachable, skill.
Yet, leadership is the single most important thing we can do. Great leaders can move mountains. I’ve been fortunate to have known some great leaders in my career. Different leadership styles are needed in different situations.
I like this footage of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey at a town hall meeting for his new company, Square. Square is a mobile payment system. It would be easy to think of a payment system as merely a transaction from point A to point B. But listen to how Jack uses the Golden Gate Bridge as a metaphor for how a payment system can mean so much more. Think how much greater a product Square will be as a result. That’s the impact a leader can make on a product, a service, or a team.
“So, this is why design is important and this is why this coordination is important, and this is how we’re leading and building this company. So, your homework for the weekend is to cross this bridge, think about that, and then also think about how we take those lessons into doing what we want do, which is carry every single transaction in the world.”
I like Jack’s description of leadership as editing:
“I think I’m just an editor, and I think every CEO is an editor. I think every leader in any company is an editor. Taking all of these ideas and you’re editing them down to one cohesive story, and in my case, my job is to edit the team, so we have a great team that can produce the great work.”
What models for great leadership have you seen?
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post. I’ll pick one comment by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)