“Stars don’t work for idiots.”

thinking about leadership and how directing companies

I love this statement, apparently made by HR guru, John Sullivan of San Francisco State University. It comes from a post about the resignation of Steve Jobs in The Harvard Business Review http://blogs.hbr.org/taylor/2011/08/why_steve_jobs_matters_to_you.html and how it encourages us to think about the legacy we ourselves will lead behind.

“Stars don’t work for idiots” a stark sentence yet full of meaning got me thinking about leadership and how many “idiots” there are, unfortunately, currently directing companies.

How many people are in positions of leadership simply because they excelled at a technical skill or because they happened to know someone who provided the famous “enchufe”? It really alarms me when I speak to reputable business people here in Spain who time after time lament that the overall standard of top directors leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to leadership and people management skills.

So what type of people do stars want to work for? Leaving aside technical knowledge, I would suggest it’s a person who:

  •  has values of integrity, responsibility and sincerity
  •  is totally aligned to the vision and the mission of the business
  •  believes in the goodness and capabilities of the workforce
  •  gives before taking – a “service” leader”
  •  is transparent about all aspects of the business
  •  is as demanding on themselves as they are on others.
  •  genuinely wants you to be greater than they are
  • is calm in a crisis

And why not, last but not least, a person who LAUGHS and SMILES a lot.

Ok, this is list is a fraction of what it could be and we could discuss the qualities of a good leader for a quite awhile. What it basically comes down to is the ability to satisfy the hunger of the “stars”, the hunger to feel empowerd, inspired and motivated.

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