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August 09, 2007 - Image 31

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2007-08-09

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I career coach

You Cannot Push A String


f you take a string, lay it on
argue with that?
your desk and push it, where
There is no shortage of
do think it will go? It will not
executives in this country who
go anywhere because you can't
are the best in the world at
push a string. Now take your fin-
producing a significant return
ger and pull the string. This time,
for their shareholders. But there
it will follow your lead because you
may be fewer who have been
can guide a string. Just as you can
challenged with building an
guide a string, you can learn to
organization and addressing the
lead your company so it can sur-
entire needs of the employees,
Robe rt Sher
vive and thrive in years to come.
customers, shareholders and
Col umnist
Leadership is an art form that
the community in which they
is innate in some executives and managers.
operate. These will be our future leaders.
Others learn it on the job. It is an ability to
I've watched many CEOs, presidents,
influence others, to get them to listen to you
CFOs, managers and directors climb the
and to guide them toward a goal.
corporate ladder because of their fine man-
Former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iococca,
agement skills. But those who stayed on top
in his book Where Have All the Leaders
brought to the table something unique: out-
Gone?, says effective leaders are far too
standing leadership skills. Here are pointers
scarce in U.S. business and society. He chas- to consider on your journey:
tises corporate executives for focusing more
•An effective leader must be willing
on exorbitant salaries and stock options
to stand up as the key advocate for what a
than the real issues facing their companies;
company stands for, its core values. He or
he also poses a solution to fix the problem.
she must be willing to be held accountable
Iococca challenges Americans to go back
for performance. Lead by example.
to our roots of hard work, common sense,
• Success depends on three things:
integrity, generosity and optimism. Who can Who says it, what he says and how he says


it. And of these three things, what he says is
the least important. (Viscount John Morley,
British statesman, in Recollections II). Be
persuasive. Have a vision. Set clear goals.
Create a road map to achieve this vision. Be
kind in your delivery.
• People buy into the leader, then
the vision. In the bestselling book, The
21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, author
John C. Maxwell uses India's Ghandi as an
example of a great leader who changed the
people's vision from violence to civil disobe-
dience for obtaining freedom. "People follow
worthy leaders who promote worthwhile
causes',' Maxwell writes. "The leader finds
the dream and then the people. The people
find the leader and then the dream:'
• Leadership starts at the top. Abraham
Lincoln said, "Just because you are walk-
ing in front of your men doesn't mean you
are leading them." As the boss, your job
is to manage and set an example for your
employees to follow. You must be encour-
aging, engaging and a good listener. Stay
positive and offer praise often for work well
done. Your entire organization will take on
the personality you set up. If your best per-

son is your hardest-working person, you are
in a good place. You should be that person.
• Secure leaders empower others. Be
open-minded. Invite and accept other peo-
ple's ideas. Delegate tasks and allow others
to succeed. Give credit to those who perform
exceptionally well and reward, groom and
mentor them for possible leadership roles.
Do not micromanage. If you are charismatic,
use it to attract and leverage this esteem.
• Make a difference: Support charities
in the communities where you do busi-
ness. Make your company a corporate lead-
er. Pick your favorite cause and encourage
employees to support it through volunteer
work or donations. You can match employee
contributions to their favorite causes.
Let's show Lee Iococca there are still lead-
ers out there.

Robert Sher, CPA, is a certified executive

coach. Formerly CFO and partner for Schostak

Brothers & Company, he now serves on the West

Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees and is

treasurer of the American Institute of Certified

Public Accountants Foundation. His e-mail

address is: info@bobshercom.


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August 9 • 2007


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