tMichaelB is the web site for Tom Bengtson, who writes about business, religion, family and politics.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Bremer shares thoughts on leadership

Former U.S. Envoy to Iraq L. Paul Bremer spoke to another group I covered for NorthWestern Financial Review magazine, this time on March 12 in San Antonio, Texas. He delivered largely the same message I reported in my last post, but he added some personal thoughts on leadership. I thought they are worth sharing.

These are what he called “Eight Steps to Successful Leadership.”

Set a vision and communicate it relentlessly. “People need to know how their work relates to the bigger picture,” he said. “People need to see that their work is bigger than themselves.”

Set an example. Create a sense of urgency, he said. Furthermore, he said your example should show people how to master events and not let events master them.

Set clear priorities and goals. “A vision is not enough,” he said.

Be decisive. He encouraged people to make “skillful and energetic actions.” He told his audience that good leaders need to “find the right balance between speed and deliberation.”

Be flexible. Adaptability is important, he said. Good leaders are masters at what Bremer called “responsible risk-taking.”

Delegate and hold people responsible. “Leverage the strengths of your organization,” he said.

Give credit to your colleagues; loyalty is a two-way street. “Acknowledge the sacrifices people make,” he said. “It is impossible to over-do this.”

Keep your perspective. He said people do this in three ways: by cultivating a good understanding of yourself; by allowing time for reflection about what you are going, and by pacing yourself.

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