Keith, CEO of a Fortune 500 financial organization, called with an intriguing project—one I’ve never been asked to repeat elsewhere, but one with fascinating results.

The Project

The CEO wanted to know how much I could discover about a person’s leadership style from their writing. “I don’t know; I’ve never had occasion to test my theories,” I told him, quite reluctant to take on what already sounded like an oddball way to lose a good client. He listened as I pointed out that someone might be a great leader, but just an incompetent writer and vice versa—how they might be an eloquent writer, but a lousy leader.

Managers hear questions every day.  Some serious; some trivial.  “Are the merger rumors true?” “How much is our budget being cut?”  “Can we extend our deadline a couple of days?”  “Is our team going to have to work over the weekend?”

But the ONE question that you have to answer correctly every single time is this:  “What are you working on?”

It’s particularly crucial that you give the answer right when responding to your own boss. But your reputation can also suffer when you blow that question with your colleagues.

the ceo magazine, leadership
Esen Akter Tekinel, COO/Vice Chair, PMI-Washington, DC

When was the last time your team leader displayed poor interpersonal relationship skills? When did you see a leader escalating tension in an already stressful situation? If your answer is “recently”, this and similar cases can be alleviated with a new leadership model.

The model proposed herein, can help transform the bully culture specific to the IT sector and “the more technical you are, the better leader candidate you are” approach. Only those who value interpersonal relationships can achieve this.


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