Since we so rarely have the chance to thank those who have influenced us, I have previously listed teachers and non-fiction writers who have influenced me, and listed the public lectures I have attended. I thought it appropriate also to list the people I have worked with whom I have admired and learnt from as managers, which I do here:
Victor Barendse, Andreas von Blottnitz, Will Bobb, Gene La Borne, Judy Bradford, Jan Buettner, John Cornish, Don Day, Wanchai Ekraksasilpchai, John Griffiths, Neill Haine, Tony Hawkins, Michael Heath RIP, Jin-Young Hwang, Walter Kamba RIP, Mathieu Lasalle, Marian McEwin, Michael Orr, Maureen Piche, Jerry Rossi, Leanne Thomas, Dennis Trewin, Henry Vandemark, Don Warkentin, Richard Wetenhall.
Effective leadership is context-specific: what works in one domain on one occasion may not work elsewhere or with the same people at other times. However, in looking across the people whose management skills I have learnt from, I realize there are some common features which most share to a greater or lesser extent. One is a sharp intelligence, which may be manifest in many diverse ways (verbally, mathematically, organizationally, etc). A second feature is a marked ability to read the emotions of others and to sense the social dynamics of a group or a meeting. Good managers know their audiences well. A third feature is an ability to read their own emotions (a skill which is surprisingly uncommon) together with an ability to control the public expression of these emotions when it so behooves them; most of the people I have listed would make good poker players. A fourth feature is an integrity of purpose – enthusiasm, honesty, transparency, directness, fairness, a willingness to argue for positions, and a willingness to consider evidence before reaching conclusions. Finally, all of these people are effective at getting things done – not a skill to be sneezed at, despite the generally low status that doing things has among the chatterati.