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I Was Impossible, but Then I Saw How to Lead

| January 3, 2012

by Jim Bruce

For today’s Tuesday Reading, we turn to an Adam Bryant interview of Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons which appeared in the December 3, 2011 NYTimes.  IT Leaders Coach Greg Anderson called this interview – which can be found at <> – to my attention.  It seemed to be a particularly fitting way to begin the New Year.  

Fundamentally, the column is President Simmons’ leadership journey.  Some of the key lessons I found in the piece are:

•  “Never think of yourself as being better than someone else.  Always think for yourself.”

•  “I could achieve far more if I worked amicably with people.”

•  “It’s not all about you.  It’s very important in a leadership role not to place your ego at the foreground and not to judge everything in relationship to how your ego is fed.”

•  “As you’re trying to help people, you can give very honest criticism, [and] if you do it in the context of genuinely wanting to help them, it makes all the difference in the world.”

•  “Convey the underlying principles.”

•  “We were there not for our own individual glorification, but to help everybody else thrive.”

•  “I would not have any tolerance … for people who did not, in fact, thrive hard to be part of the team.”

•  “You can get a lot more done if people have a sense that you respect them and that you listen to them.”

And, there’s much more in the article.  So, find a time and place where you can read the entire piece and reflect on Ruth Simmons’ lessons and how you can apply what she learned to your journey.


.  .  .  .     jim