Characteristics of Great Leaders

Today started off with a bang at the SHRM Strategy Conference in Chicago with several great break-out sessions in which I’ll be writing about later one. I wanted to start off with the keynote of Bill Conaty, former VP of HR for GE.

This session was packed full of information and I won’t try to make you swallow all of it but I do want to give you a few take-aways.

In his “Lessons of Leadership” keynote, Mr. Conaty caused all of us to really see that smart leaders put people before numbers. That of course, is a line from his book “The Talent Masters.” I can’t wait to get that and start reading and I encourage you to go out and get a copy and if you can’t find the extra change to do so, at least go to your library and see if you can check it out.

Here are a few quotes from the maestro that I jotted down and thought I might share.

1. Great leaders balance passionate leadership with compassionate leadership and it takes both to be successful.

2. Great leaders develop and assess talent once they attract them which is how you are going to keep them.

3. Great leaders become problem solvers vs. problem identifiers.

4. Great leaders know that their company and personal values must be compatible.

5. Lighten up. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Go ahead, laugh a little. Even if you must laugh at yourself (okay, I added that last part)

I had the chance to interview a few of my friends IRL after the session and here’s what they had to say.