Chapter 6Self-ExpressionCommunication through Words and Action

The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.


Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.


Communication was never one of David's strong points. As the company CEO, he knew exactly what message he wanted to give and where he wanted his team to go, but he often struggled in getting their buy-in to his ideas. He wanted to develop a new line of products, but his executive team felt it would be costly, have a high risk of return on investment, and be disruptive to the organization's ongoing projects.

“This doesn't really fit in our strategic plan,” said Ari, the CFO.

“I know that,” David replied, somewhat annoyed, “but I think we need to do this.”

Jill, the marketing manager added, “But we haven't budgeted the costs of a launch and additional trade show attendance.”

“We can find the money,” he fired back, getting more frustrated.

Phil, the production manager pointed out, “We will have to stop work on some of our products already in the pipeline to push those through. You sure you want to delay the releases that are already scheduled? That might hurt our revenue projections.”

“I know that. Yes, I think it's worth it. ...

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