What makes a great leader?
Daniel Quinn Mills is the Albert J. Weatherhead, Jr. Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus. His tenure at Harvard lasted from 1976 to 2007. He consults with major corporations and governments and lectures about management, leadership, strategy, economics and geopolitics. He is an expert on the differences between Asian and Western leadership styles. An American, Mills is also a member of the Innovation Council of Malaysia, a ministry level council chaired by the Prime Minister.
Mills has been interested in early stage businesses and as a director and investor has helped develop several firms. He has been a director of a publicly listed company, chairing its audit committee for several years. A thought leader, Mills has written books on leadership, geo-politics, investments, capital markets, business strategy, network organizations, demographics, marketing, empowerment, and union relations. His most recent book is Master of Illusions: Presidential Leadership, Strategic Independence and America’s Public Culture, published in 2007 by Cambridge University Press. The book explores America’s role in the world in the aftermath of the second Iraqi War.
Widely and often quoted as well as seen in the national media, Mills has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, and been quoted in articles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Business Week. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources.
Question: What makes a great leader?
D. Quinn Mills: Most important thing I think is a fairly clear vision of where you and the organization, or you and the followers are trying to go. Second thing is a great deal of courage, because it is not easy to get there, and people look for courage in their leaders, they look for consistency, they look for commitment in passion and those are the key things. You execute it I think primarily by example, and I think we under-rate that. I think what people look for in a leader is to see how to behave, to see how to think about things and what to do, and that’s mainly not a matter of order or instructions, it is a matter of example, and that I think it is most important thing.
Recorded on: 9/27/07
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