General Colin Powell spoke at this year's PMI (Project Management Institute) Global Congress in Denver, CO.
The PMI website summarizes General Powell's remarks below.
“Leadership is leadership is leadership,” says General Powell, who served as a U.S. National Security Advisor for former President Ronald Reagan and held executive positions at several organizations.
“At the end of the day you have to convince a bunch of followers to do what you want them to do—and [convince them] that they want to do it.”
The goal, he says, is to make sure every member of the team knows what is expected of them and to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. That means providing support, plus clear, concise missions and inspiration.
“The leader’s passion has to be the example of excellence in the organization and people will want to follow you,” he says.
Sometimes, though, the difference between a good leader and a bad leader is as simple as the ability to recognize when an employee is worth the investment—and when they are not. While it’s important, General Powell says, to capitalize on strengths and build on weakness, leaders can’t “carry dead weight.”