‘In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.’

Henry Ward Beecher

For several years I have worked with P&G, the global manufacturing giant and, during a social event, I got talking to an employee who was telling me how much they liked and admired their leader. I asked if they could give me an instance or example of the leader’s behaviour that made them feel this way and, interestingly, it wasn’t the typical attribute or competency that I was expecting.

The business had been through an exercise where a series of 360 degree type reviews and feedback sessions had been conducted.

What impressed the P&G employee was that their team leader had shared their feedback, both good and bad, with the team. They were in no way obliged to do so, but felt that by demonstrating that they were willing to share their strengths and weaknesses, they would encourage a more open dialogue about the team’s capabilities. At the time the team was working through a change programme and this leader was leading by example, placing themselves in a potentially uncomfortable position for the greater good of the team.

To take another example, a CEO of a large company went to visit one of the regional offices one evening. While he was there he came across an employee who was finishing off some additional work to make sure a particular task was completed. However, as a result of staying late, he was going to miss his bus ride home. The CEO, recognizing ...

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