What Becomes a Leader Most?

Technical prowess? Delivering on time and on budget? Praise from peers and  industry associations? A seat on the management committee?

These may the hallmark of the successful executive or superb manager, but they are not by themselves any indication that one is a leader. Only demonstrating leadership — making a lasting, positive impact on people — that makes one a leader. It is not a matter of role or rank, it is a matter of behavior. We do ourselves a collective disservice by handing the mantel out casually.

In my most recent post for HBR.org I examine the downfall of two noted tech executives: Steven Sinofsky of Microsoft and Scott Forstall of Apple.  Each was put into the category of “brilliant leaders” by The New York Times yet there is scant evidence that they even came close to true leadership.

I invite you to read the post and share your thoughts.

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