Leadership is not just for leaders anymore. Top
companies are beginning to understand that sustaining peak
performance requires a firm-wide commitment to developing leaders
that is tightly aligned to organizational objectives-a commitment
much easier to understand than to achieve. Organizations must find
ways to cascade leadership from senior management to men and women
at all levels.
Marshall Goldsmith responded to a series of
questions from Rose-Hulman administrators, faculty, and staff
members about the value of leadership in improving a company, an
educational institution, and its employees.
What advice would you offer to current students seeking
to develop their leadership skill set?
MG: My advise would
Read as much as you can
about the process of leadership and the lives of great
Get as much practice as
you can while at Rose-Hulman-leading teams, leading non-profit
organizations, and watching others in leadership
Get a summer internship,
if you can. Try to have the opportunity to meet and work with
Learn to get feedback on
how you are perceived by others and to accept this feedback in
a positive, non-defensive way.
How will globalization and hyperconnectivity change the nature
of leadership in the future?
MG: One of my books is Global Leadership:
The Next Generation. In this book my co-authors and I asked
150 high potential leaders from around the world to describe the
differences between the leader of the future and the leader of the
past. The top five greater challenges for leaders in the future
- Global thinking
- Cross-cultural appreciation
- Technological savvy
- Building alliances and partners
- Sharing leadership
What are the core truths and major myths regarding
MG: My great teacher and mentor, Paul Hersey,
taught me that "leadership is working with and through others to
achieve objectives." The key word in that definition is the word
"others." One of the greatest leaders that I have ever met is Alan
Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company (2011 CEO Magazine CEO of the
Year). While great individual achievement might be all about
- Alan has always believed that great leadership is all about
What leadership resources and experiences do you find most
MG: I think that in tomorrow's global business
environment, it is critical to work in different countries and to
learn to appreciate different cultures. More than half of my
speaking engagements are outside of the United States. Some
specific books that I would recommend include The Leadership
Challenge, by James Kouzes and Barry Posner; Management of
Organizational Behavior, by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard;
Hesselbein on Leadership, by Frances Hesselbein; The
Leader of the Future-2, edited by Frances Hesselbein and
Marshall Goldsmith; and What Got You Here Won't Get You
There, by Marshall Goldsmith
How do you think leaders can best motivate team members?
MG: I have written an article about this
called, "Team Building without Time Wasting." I suggest that
leaders involve team members by:
- Assessing "where the team is" versus "where the team needs to
be" in terms of teamwork, partnership, and cooperation.
- Determining what specific behaviors everyone on the team can
work on improving-to improve overall teamwork.
- Practicing feed forward-learning to get ideas from team members
without arguing and learning to learn as much as possible without
committing to agree with each idea.
- Encouraging each team member to follow-up with each other team
on selected areas for change.
- Measuring positive change over time and celebrating
How do leadership challenges change over the course of a
MG: With every promotion, leadership becomes
more about people and interpersonal relationship and less about
technical skill. With every promotion each of your words and even
non-verbal gestures are observed and make a difference.
One of my coaching clients, JP Garnier, was the CEO of Glaxo
SmithKline, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies.
When I asked him what he learned about leadership as a CEO he said,
"My suggestions become orders. If they are smart, they are orders.
If they are stupid, they are orders. If I want them to be orders,
they are orders. If I don't want them to be orders, they are orders
anyway." When I asked JP to name the most valuable lesson that he
learned from me he said, "Stop and ask myself one question before I
speak: 'Is it worth it?'"
Could you offer any advice on how Rose-Hulman can help groom
alumni that will lead the future technological frontier?
MG: My suggestion is for Rose-Hulman faculty
and staff to go out of their way to work on developing leadership
in the undergraduate student body. Provide classes, developmental
opportunities, and encouragement for leadership development.
Recruiters already know that Rose-Hulman grads are very smart and
technically competent. Adding leadership skill will be a huge plus