View from 35,000 feet, with Charles Brown, President, The Source

Posted October 18, 2012 in Career Management, Latest News & Insights

One of our favourite people of 2012 has been Charles Brown.  Authentic leader with a “capital A”, Charles shared a variety of his leadership lessons learned with us at our View from the C-Suite event earlier this Spring and, on a recent flight, he dropped us a line with a few more tips to share.  Here they are from Charles, in his own words.

“One of the things 16 hour flights give you the time to do is think about various issues and a couple we talked about have come to mind.

The first one is related to leadership. As I see all sorts of new books on leadership theories I am struck by how complicated people are trying to make this issue. Leadership to me is simply getting others to follow your lead in an effort to create a well-defined outcome. The key to me is simply the tools and techniques you chose to use to create the willingness in others to follow.

In the short term you can use your positional power and threats to get things done. It works in the short term but really it isn’t sustainable over the long term. Most folks working for someone using this style will run at the first chance. Or the individual who has chosen this leadership style will be turfed due to ever declining results as a result of a weak team. After-all strong people normally won’t put up with this type of leadership.

What I have found works for me is leading by “why”. I believe it is critical for team members to have a very good understanding of the “what” you are trying to accomplish and the “why” you are trying to do something. If you can communicate the tasks at hand in a language your teams understand and give them time to get the “why” you generally can accomplish a lot, even if you don’t have the very best people. However, over time, as people learn of your leadership style, folks will want to join your team. I could talk about this for hours as I believe leadership is critical to talent management, team stability and overall success.

The other item I was thinking about was managing your career. I am constantly amazed by the number of folks who start to network after they lose a job. It is so much harder at that time because you are always asking others to do something for you but you are in no position to reciprocate. If you just try and meet one person a month at the end of a year you will have 12 members in your network that you may be able to help and vice versa. Keep it up and you will soon have some critical mass. As I have said before, your network doesn’t have to be big, it is quality that counts.”

Thanks Charles!  We couldn’t agree with you more.  If you’re interested in more “first hand” leadership lessons, join us on November 7th when we welcome Eileen Mercier to our View from the C-Suite.  We’ll be asking her about life as a corporate Director and how to know which battles to pick as a leader.

Happy leading!


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