Leadership in 2016

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Editor’s Note: This is guest blog #1 of three that David Grossman will be contributing. Stay tuned for the others this spring.

What does effective leadership look like today?

Over the past several years, the sheer volume of high-profile business leadership and ethics scandals has dominated our headlines, causing scores of people to ask, “What’s wrong with business leadership today?” 

Some of the more recent scandals include Toyota concealing vital information about a car defect that caused cars to accelerate faster on their own, and GM replacing ignition switches that key company officials had known were faulty for years. Before that, there was money laundering at Enron, fraudulent accounting at WorldCom, securities fraud at Tyco, ethics and compliance violations throughout the pharmaceutical industry, and countless stories of executives inflating their resumes to present a more impressive public face.

That may leave young professionals wondering what it really takes to be a high-integrity, great leader in today’s business environment, when it seems so easy to stray from the right path. At the same time, there’s clearly a terrific need for great leadership that can elevate our business culture and transform organizations. 


Given this reality, I’m very curious to know what you think:

How do you define leadership today?

What does it take to be a great leader? What are the most important qualities that great leaders possess? Are there leaders you admire, and if so, who are they and what have they done to impress you? 

I welcome your thoughts on this important question. Send me your insights and I look forward to synthesizing your thoughts and providing my own answer to this question in my next blog. 

So, let’s dialogue! What does it really take to be a great leader today? 

David Head Shot High ResDavid Grossman, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA is both a teacher and student of effective leadership and communication and helps leaders drive productivity and get the results they want through authentic and courageous leadership communication. He’s a sought-after speaker and advisor to Fortune 500 leaders. A three-time author, David is CEO of The Grossman Group, an award-winning Chicago-based strategic leadership development and internal communication consultancy; clients include: Hill-Rom, Eastman Chemical Company, Kimberly-Clark, McDonald’s and Motel 6, to name a few. His newest book, “No Cape Needed: The Simplest, Smartest, Fastest Steps to Improve How You Communicate by Leaps and Bounds,” was published in the fall of 2015 and recently won the Pinnacle Book Award for the “Best in Business” category. In addition, David teaches Internal Engagement at Columbia University, in New York City. To connect with David you can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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  • Alyssa Stafford

    In my experience, great leaders are those who not only have a vision of where the organization will go, but who can articulate the role each employee has in its growth. Great leaders engage employees at every level, inspiring them to work toward a common goal.

  • Greg Rokisky

    I think leaders today have to be willing to admit that they aren’t the ones who have all the answers. Instead, they have to build that network of people they can call on to help invoke positive change. They’re not afraid to get their hands dirty, as well as inspiring others to do the same.

  • http://gemrickcurtom.com/ Gemrick Curtom

    Great leaders are inspirational. They don’t tell you what to do, they encourage you to make your own decision. They are visionary, but realistic and they’ll ask for your input. The best leaders are always transparent about what’s happening in an organization and how they plan to solve those issues.

  • Brian Price

    I think the best leaders are great at influencing their colleagues in leadership positions. For example, an office president whose vision and inspiration affects how senior staff run their internal teams. If a leader’s desires do not filter down, the core values that make that person effective is unlikely to reach a large portion of an office, especially new professionals.

  • http://www.twitter.com/heathharder Heather Harder

    I think that the basics of leadership haven’t changed over the centuries. What has changed is the level of accountability new technologies bring and the rising expectations from followers. The leaders I admire won’t lose trust and credibility when their actions become more public because they truly are good people.

    I think a leader is the person who goes out of her way to serve, connect and drive results. And in today’s age, having a strong social network helps fuel that.