Proven Leader, Harvard Professor Explains How To Learn Leadership
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Robert Steven Kaplan , the former Vice Chair of Goldman Sachs, Harvard professor, venture philanthropist, author and regular guest on my show here on Forbes, will see his new book, What Your Really Need to Lead, published on September 15.
In anticipation of a return to the show, Kaplan shared some thoughts with me about his new book.
Kaplan said, “Leadership is one of the most important aspects of our society, yet there is enormous disagreement and confusion about what leadership means, and whether it can really be learned. I argue that leadership qualities are not something you either have or you don’t. Leadership is about what you do, rather than who you are, and it starts with an ownership mind-set.”
Kaplan says, learning to lead involves three key elements:
Thinking like an owner
A willingness to act on your beliefs
A relentless focus on adding value to others
“Leadership is accessible to each of us, but it requires a process of hard work, willingness to ask questions, and openness to learning,” he adds.
“In the book I really try to demystify leadership and outline a specific regimen that will empower the reader to build his or her leadership skills. You need to ask yourself probing questions, and then take follow-up steps that will help you develop your skills, create new habits, and move toward reaching your unique leadership potential,” he concludes.
On Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Kaplan will join me for a live discussion about leadership. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about What You Really Need to Lead:
Kaplan is the author of the new book What You Really Need to Lead. In the book, he writes that leaders in business, politics, and life are not naturally gifted: leadership is something that must be learned. The most powerful question anyone can ask in their daily lives is “what would an owner do right now?” If we look at the challenges and opportunities that confront us through this ownership lens, then we become leaders, and act in a way that benefits many people beyond just ourselves. Being a leader isn’t what you are—it’s what you do.
Robert Steven Kaplan
Robert Steven Kaplan is Senior Associate Dean and the Martin Marshall Professor of Management Practice in Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is also cochairman of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a global venture philanthropy firm, as well as chairman and a founding partner of Indaba Capital Management. Before joining Harvard in 2005, Kaplan was vice chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group. He divides his time between Boston and New York City.
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