Chapter 6Lead with Your LifeBecause It's Much More than a Job

When Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple in 2011, Apple shares immediately dropped 5 percent. The reaction was so strong because Jobs had embodied Apple's ethos. His creative, controlled persona had begotten the cultural DNA of his organization. That doesn't mean he was an ideal leader or someone we should model our lives after. Leading with your life is not a normative platitude. It is a descriptive reality. Leaders like Jobs don't just tell their organization's story; they live it. And in this way, they communicate a narrative to their employees, consumers, and the public—whether it be the plight of the underdog, a history of innovation, a period of frugality before a return to full strength, or a dedication to employee care. Extraordinary leaders do more than verbalize; they personify.

While the majority of leaders today are not as closely identified with their organizations as Jobs was, every leader who aspires to make a significant difference in her firm, industry, or society must inspire her constituents not only with her words but her actions, habits, and traits. The quickest way to bring down a political opponent is to uncover marital infidelity; voters surmise that a politician unfaithful to his wife will be unfaithful to his political promises. Similarly, when CEOs institute layoffs and pay cuts while simultaneously raking in millions, employees, shareholders, and the general public resent the hypocrisy. ...

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