By and About Leaders: 12/1/15

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I think that one of the best ways to learn leadership isn’t studying “leadership” at all. Instead, study individual leaders in their natural habitat and decide what they do that you want to try. Articles by and about leaders and interviews with them are mini-case studies that show you an actual leader in a real situation.

That’s why, every week, I bring you a selection of post about individual leaders. This week I’m pointing you to pieces by and about Cindy Holland, Marc Benioff, Margaret Keane, Erin (Mack) McKelvey, and George Zimmer.

From Adam Bryant: Cindy Holland of Netflix: Learning to Lead on a Pair of Water Skis

“You figure out that dictating the answer or micromanaging not only is not welcome, it’s just not helpful. You can’t scale yourself and grow your organization, and you might as well have no employees if that’s the approach you’re going to take. It took a couple of fits and starts to really understand that.”

From Adam Lashinsky: Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on where big tech is headed

“In two interviews conducted in January—first at a dinner hosted by Fortune during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and then a few days later at his San Francisco home—Benioff opened up about a variety of topics, including how data science will affect everyone’s business, where his ideas come from, why security should be companies’ top priority (above even customer-service software), and how he is working with Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella.”

From Adam Bryant: Margaret Keane of Synchrony Financial: When Hardship Informs Leadership

“Another important lesson was getting comfortable with the idea of having people work for you who are smarter than you. When you’re young, there’s an insecurity that you have to do and know everything. There are leaders who never learn that lesson, even later on in life.”

From Erin (Mack) McKelvey: Nine things every 22-year-old should know

“After an unfulfilling internship with a U.S. Congresswoman, my career in politics was over as fast as it started.”

From James B. Stewart: Ousted Founder of Men’s Wearhouse Watches His Old Company Struggle

“Two years ago, George Zimmer was pushed out of the company closely associated with his face. Now its stock is suffering, while he has started two online businesses.”

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