Leadership Lessons from a Genial Guru

I believe that good leadership is the golden thread woven through all successful careers. Whether leading people, a function, or making a individual contribution, we have an opportunity to create value, and leave a legacy we can be proud of.

Today, I’m delighted to welcome my first guest writer, one of my favourite colleagues, and “genial guru” Bob Boyd. As an academic, Bob taught management, and recently facilitated executive development programs across the Asia Pacific. In this post, Bob shares some takeaways from the leadership classics, all distilled for us on one page for an easy read. Over to you Bob…

Several years ago, I was running a leadership workshop in South Korea. On the second-last day, one participant asked me to share what I had learned about leadership from years working in universities and global corporates, and from my reading of leadership literature.

Here are my top 6 points:

Peter Drucker in his HBR article Managing Oneself writes that manners are the lubricating oil of an organisation. I concur completely and have found that rudeness, abruptness being overly direct and unsubtle generates negative feelings and demotivates employees.

Stephen Covey in The Eighth Habit and First Things First talks about the importance of personal ethics and sound business principles. These are not nebulous concepts. Principles and values guide good  business decisions, and ethical behaviour creates loyalty and trust in customers and staff.

Jim Collins in Good To Great reminds us of the qualities of great leaders – humility and determination. And I whole heartedly agree that leaders who focus their energy on the good of the company (not their own ego fulfilment) and the needs of their people, create workplaces where people love to work, with whom customers and clients like to associate and whose superior business results are maintained over long periods of time

Susan Scott in Fierce Conversations reminds us of the critical importance of communicating with business colleagues and staff in a clear unambiguous, open and honest way. She maintains that the failure to confront issues in a timely and sensitive way will lead to less than effective relationships at work.

Noel Tichy in The Leadership Engine speaks of the importance for leaders to have a teachable point of view to:

  • foster the development of good business ideas,
  • instil values that support implementation of those ideas
  • generate positive energy themselves and others, and
  • make tough decisions.

Finally Daniel Goleman in Leadership That Gets Results identifies six leadership styles based on components of our emotional intelligence. He argues we should flexibly apply differing leadership styles  (in particular situations and with particular people), and be acutely aware of the danger in limiting our leadership strengths to only one or two styles, because of being insufficiently aware of our emotional intelligence predispositions.

So in a nut shell, my top keys to highly effective leadership are:

  1. Good manners and consideration of others
  2. Personal ethics and sound business principles
  3. Humility and determination
  4. Open, honest and timely communication
  5. Developing a teachable point of view
  6. Flexible leadership styles



Bob Boyd is a Melbourne-based coach, who offers sound and practical development strategies based on experience and a continuing interest and familiarity with management literature, research and practice. In the last 10 years, Bob has successfully provided leadership development to global companies operating across the Asia-Pacific region. Recently, he has facilitated workshops and coached leaders for the Departments of Justice and Human Services, in Victoria.  Contact him at bob@asiamanagement.biz


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.