Follow Timeless Truths: Iacocca’s 9 C’s of Leadership

Management is nothing more than motivating other people. - Lee Iacocca

Management is nothing more than motivating other people. – Lee Iacocca

One of my favorite leadership reads is Lee Iacocca’s  Where Have all the Leaders Gone. The title makes him sounds like a cranky old man shouting “Kids these days…they don’t know anything” from the rooftops. Maybe that’s why I enjoy it so much. Mr. Iacocca doesn’t pull punches. He tells it like it is from an era when you didn’t beat around the bush and worry about hurting someone’s feelings despite the fact that it might be exactly what they need.

There’s a lot to this book, but a core lesson is his 9 C’s of Leadership. Like any good writer, he tries to make the concept easily digestible. To that end, I’ve been able to remember a few without consulting the text, but I like to open it up every year or so and ask myself if I’m exhibiting these behaviors on a regular basis:

#1 Curiosity: Listen to people outside the “Yes, sir” crowd. Avoid sycophants (one of my favorite words). Read voraciously.

#2 Creative: Leadership is all about managing change. Go out on a limb and always check to see if your thinking too inside a box.

#3 Communicate: Talk to everybody, even your enemies. Engagement with others is how we stay informed and learn.

#4 Character: Have the guts to do the right thing. Without character, the rest won’t amount to much.

#5 Courage: Taking a position and showing integrity even when you know it will cost you.

#6 Conviction: Fire in your belly. Believing in your core that what you’re doing is right. Think Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos.

#7 Charisma: The ability to inspire through trust, rather than fear or anger.

#8 Competent: Know what you’re doing and, more importantly, surround yourself with people who know what they’re doing.

#9 Common sense: Your ability to reason and think critically (especially when overly concerned or excited).

The final point: The biggest C is crisis. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. The test of a leader is rarely found in times of prosperity. These qualities are needed to be a great leader, but they are critical to remain a great leader when times turn tough.

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About Brendan Witcher
Honest and practical career/business advice for dedicated individuals pursuing sustainable growth towards becoming successful entrepreneurs or business leaders.

One Response to Follow Timeless Truths: Iacocca’s 9 C’s of Leadership

  1. Great reminder of some sound principles. I will add this book to the must-read list.

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