Walk the Walk: The #1 Rule for Real Leaders
Leadership is the art of transforming how people think, feel and act.
Though some experts make it seem complicated, it really has only two elements: what you say and how you act. And according to Alan Deutschman, most aspiring leaders focus too much on words and not nearly enough on setting an example.
Deutschman profiles a wide range of leaders (in business, education, the military and non-profits) who always walked the walk, especially when times got tough. In a skeptical world, that gave them more credibility than even the best possible speeches. Consider how:
- Martin Luther King Jr. proved his commitment to nonviolence by letting a racist detractor beat him in front of a crowded auditorium.
- Herb Kelleher and Colleen Barrett of Southwest Airlines showed they were serious about putting employees first by sticking to a no-layoffs policy, no matter what.
- Sony founder Masuro Ibuka, who stressed originality over profits, waited for years to release a color television, until the Trinitron was a true breakthrough.
Deutschman also shows the devastating consequences of not walking the walk, even on seemingly minor matters. Consider how the CEOs of GM and Chrysler hurt their chances of a government bailout by flying their private jets to Washington.
The eye-opening examples in Walk the Walk will inspire leaders at all levels to rethink their priorities.