To Lead Effectively, Know Your Company -- Inside and Out

The best leaders are "inside-outsiders": They've ascended within their organization, so they know the firm and its people. But they also have an outsider's objectivity -- seeing the need for radical change and understanding how to foster transformation.

To develop an inside-outsider's perspective, take jobs in companies that provide a clear career path, mentoring, challenging assignments with enough time to learn from them, early general management responsibility, and chances to try new ideas. Also broaden your view: Network with people outside your division and company -- including customers, vendors, related organizations, and union leaders. And expand your general knowledge beyond your immediate business, through seminars and out-of-mainstream experiences.

Today's Management Tip of the Day was adapted from the HBR article, "Solve the Succession Crisis by Growing Inside-Outside Leaders," by Joseph L. Bower.

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  August 7, 2008; 9:00 AM ET  | Category:  Management Tip of the Day
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These are GREAT ideas, but I just had to say that finding such a company is vastly easier said than done. I'm a high performer who has been on the hunt for a company with "a clear career path, mentoring, challenging assignments with enough time to learn from them, early general management responsibility, and chances to try new ideas" for the first five years of my career and have found that many, many places have no such thing. Or they say they do and definitely don't. But I'll keep hunting...

Posted by: Frustrated | August 7, 2008 10:01 AM

You may be very competent as a manager. However, leadership is a different thing from management (they complement one another). If you rely only on being a good manager, you'll never inspire people to give their very best. Because of this, people who are only good managers are passed over for promotion - time and again...
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dollydoll

Posted by: dollydoll | August 8, 2008 1:03 AM

dollydoll - You're probably talking about the article or something else, but in case you were referring to me, I'm not "only a good manager." And I'm not entirely sure why you'd assume that. There are plenty of places terrible at developing talent even when all the pieces are in place.

Posted by: Frustrated | August 11, 2008 2:12 PM

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