July 26, 2011
Posted by Joan V. Gallos
The Washington Post has a site “On Leadership” that provides a variety of interviews and discussions with leaders across sectors and organizations. Topics vary but all connect to the central issue of how to lead.
A good one is the interview with General Michael Hayden, former Director of both the CIA and the NSA. Hayden talks about the very different styles he brought to both organizations because each needed something very different from him at that point in the organization’s lifecycle.
Hayden demonstrates the keen diagnostic eye, respect for others, compassion, and savvy for determining how best to leverage his impact that are essential for any leader’s success. He also understands well the symbolic power in the leadership role.
A tip from the General for your repertoire: When making decisions about how to spend his time, Hayden always asked, “Is this request or event something that the Director alone must do?”
But keep in mind, sometimes those “must do” things are not the big, flashy events or decisions.
Hayden, for example, knew that he alone could ease the psychological burden of a CIA being battered daily in the media by going down to the cafeteria and simply eating with folks. Ad so he did.