The Top Leadership Lessons of 2017 From Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Tim Cook, and Google


As the year draws to a close, I thought I’d look back at the stories that stood out and most resonated with my readers, involving some of the biggest names in business. You’ll find great  leadership lessons here to move you forward in 2018. 

1. Steve Jobs: Hire smart people. Then let them tell you what to do. 

Jobs not only understood this principle, he made it a hiring practice at Apple when he famously quipped, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” There’s a term for the type of people Jobs is referencing: knowledge workers, which I describe in the piece. 

Full story: Steve Jobs Once Gave Some Brilliant Management Advice on Hiring Top People. Here It Is in 2 Sentences

2. Jack Ma: If you want to be respected in the age of machines, you’ll need this new skill.

While high-profile thought leaders debate whether emotional intelligence (EQ) is better than IQ as a predictor of job success, billionaire Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group (frequently referred to as the “Amazon of China”), introduces a rising leadership skill that may just trump both EQ and IQ.

Full story: Self-Made Billionaire Jack Ma Says You’ll Need This 1 Rare Skill to Succeed in the Age of Machines

3. Jeff Weiner: Appreciate three things we often take for granted: Health, love, time.

That was actually a tweet by Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, sometime back in September. But as you dig deeper into this story, you begin to clearly see how those three principles have profoundly shaped Weiner’s successful work and life.

Full story: LinkedIn’s CEO Just Gave Some Brilliant Life Advice. Here It Is in 1 Sentence

4. Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Warren Buffett agree: You’ll need this skill to be successful.

This is a look back at what the three billionaires have said about the importance of communication as a necessity for the success of their businesses. And research agrees: 85 percent of financial success is a result of the ability to effectively communicate in both your speaking and listening.

Full story: These 3 Billionaires Agree: You Need This Skill to Be Successful

5. The only sustainable leadership model for the future of work, as illustrated by 10 top CEOs. 

My research of the most relevant “servant leader” CEOs of the present era led me to compile this Top 10 list that has, since publication, garnered considerable press. Some of these names are newcomers; others are fixtures of the servant leadership movement; all are worthy of this list.

Full story: The World’s 10 Top CEOs (They Lead in a Totally Unique Way)

6. Google shares five lessons that will give your organization an edge in management training and development.

For starters, it’s a mistake to think a high-performing individual contributor will make good a good manager. Leading people often requires a different skill set, one that many good employees don’t possess.

Full story: Google Just Revealed Its 5 HR Secrets for Identifying and Developing Great Managers

7. Richard Branson: Encourage and celebrate failure.

The founder of Virgin Group shares three of his most valuable lessons, which have to do with understanding the human experience at work so that employees thrive and businesses profit.

Full story: Richard Branson Reveals 3 Important Lessons Most Leaders Learn Too Late in Life 

8. Tim Cook: A recipe for personal and career success.

Having worked and moved up the ranks since he joined Apple in 1998, Cook, its current CEO, gave a compelling piece of advice that I break down further because, in all its simplicity, it seems almost like an anomaly to the conventional wisdom of sacrifice and hard work.

Full story: In 1 Short Sentence, Apple CEO Tim Cook Gives Brilliant Advice for Career Success

9. Chip Burgh: The antidote to a toxic workplace.

Bergh, chief executive of Levi Strauss & Co., told The New York Times that there’s one leadership practice that will quell a toxic work culture where you’ll find drama, politics, and people at odds with each other. 

Full story: How Can You Tell Someone Has True Leadership Skills? Look for This 1 Rare Sign



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