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The Best Sunday Business Column

November 6, 2011

One of my favorite columns to read is the Corner Office in the business section of Sunday’s New York Times. Each week reporter Adam Bryant interviews men and women in leadership positions in organizations around the world to get their perspective and insight into how they manage and lead. He distills their clever advice about learning from setbacks and traits they look for when hiring. This week he interviewed Barbara DeBuono of Orbis International:

Q. You’ve worked in different settings — corporate, nonprofit, government. Any patterns you’ve recognized across all of them?

A. I’ve seen good leadership and really bad leadership, and good cultures and really crummy cultures.

Q. So what are some other lessons from all that experience?

A. Let’s start with leadership.  Be very careful that you don’t cut yourself off from everyone, either by hanging out in your office by yourself or hanging out in your office or your suite with three or four key people.  I’ve seen that happen a lot — where people are in their bunker with three or four people, and they block everything else out.  You lose all touch with your external customers and your internal customers, and nobody has a sense of your vision; nobody has a sense of who you are.  I think that’s a huge mistake.

Throughout my career, I too have experienced plenty of good leadership, bad leadership, good cultures, and crummy cultures.

I always love hearing and learning from the perspectives of others, especially those in      leadership positions. These interviews provide an in-depth look into who they are as a person, what it’s like to work with them, and the type of culture they embody.

Someone once said, “Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”

For those self-actualizing individuals, what better way to learn?

For the full interview with Barbara DeBuono, click here.