Simmons Leadership Blog

Anne Mulcahy: Profession without passion is just a job

Opening speaker Anne Mulcahy, who rose through the ranks of Xerox to become CEO, spearheaded a new leadership team that resulted in a truly remarkable turnaround for the company.  She talked to the audience about different leadership styles, what she learned about what makes a good leader and provided some advice for women who aspire to a leadership role.
What makes a great leader:

She says that as a leader you can't stand still - you have to evaluate your situation and you have to move.  Timeliness trumps perfection - every time. 

Great leaders really listen and learn from what they hear. And they listen to their most important constituencies: customers and employees. 

Leaders need to have a clear vision and give employees a roadmap of where their going and support them on their journey.   

Communications and alignment is also important. Xerox's turnaround was always about the alignment and the belief people had around a common set of goals. Leaders need to make sure goals are clear and consistent.  Messages have to be clear and understood.  Messages have to be honest.  Trust and candor essential. Take advantage of multiple avenues of communication, but nothing takes the place of face to face meetings. 

A few thoughts for women who aspire to leadership positions:

Use your voices to advocate for the advancement of women.  May women will aspire to top with very few role models to guide them along the way - we cannot be passive - we have to be activists.

Authentic leadership is particularly important - because we have few role models, because there is little representation at the top, women need to bring their unique attributes to the table.

Key takeaways:

Women need to support each other and have a voice.  Become comfortable with being a leader.  Don't emulate men.

See more reactions to Anne Mulcahy's presentation.  

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