No matter how outgoing or introverted they are, Useem says, in America's crowded and chaotic corporate climate, quality leaders also focus on "making their words stick"--not only delivering messages, but also ensuring they resonate with employees, especially on issues related to ethics. Using symbols can be crucial to making words stick and to defining corporate culture. After taking over Salomon Brothers in the early 1990s, a period when the financial firm was consumed by scandal, savvy investor Warren Buffett gathered Salomon employees together. Buffett announced he was appointing himself as chief compliance officer, gave all employees his home phone number, and told them to call if they saw examples of malfeasance at work. Buffett was not expecting hundreds of calls, but that statement signified he would make his words stick, and that ethics would be much more than just a corporate motto, explains Useem.
|Learning From Enron|
|What other lessons can you take away from the recent corporate debacles of Enron, Tyco, et al? How about:|
Creating an ethical, well-defined corporate culture also allows superior leaders to lure the types of employees who will perpetuate high ethical standards. "Everyone is cynical now about what corporate leaders say," says Chowdhury. "If you can make employees feel that they have a shared destiny in the company, you can get the best people, people who are coming because of the company's vision and who will share their innovations with the company." Indeed, a survey conducted by research firm Robert Starch revealed more respondents would take a lesser-paying job at Ben & Jerry's, a company with an image of allowing employees to share in its destiny, over a higher-paying job at Procter & Gamble.
|Find Valuable Leadership
Lessons Within the Pages of These Literary Gems.
Scrolling through the business section of Amazon.com, you might find hundreds of how-to books on successful leadership. But most management specialists believe history tomes, biographies and other books that don't directly advise people about leadership provide more worthwhile reading. Some books recommended by experts and executives include:
There is, however, one exception to this rule. Many experts swear by The Practice of Management (HarperBusiness), a 1954 book by management guru Peter Drucker that remains relevant today and contains lessons on empowering employees, tolerating and encouraging innovative failure, and other key leadership attributes.