Remaining objective is hard, but the best leaders figure out how to do it

Remaining objective is hard, but the best leaders figure out how to do it

“There is no single leadership trait that guarantees success in any profession, but there is, based on my experience, one that many of the best leaders share: a fierce commitment to objectivity. And yet I realize it’s often not easy for leaders to remain objective.

In my nearly three-decade career in the intelligence community, I have worked for and with 11 Directors of CIA and all five Directors of National Intelligence. Each has brought their own personality and skill set to the job, and each in their time has faced their own set of challenges, from deeply contentious relationships with the White House and Congress to unforeseen terrorist attacks on the homeland and U.S. diplomatic facilities overseas. I think each would agree that leading in the intelligence community is a daily exercise in crisis management, whether at the helm of CIA with its global analytic and operational responsibilities, or at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence with its oversight responsibilities for the entire intelligence community.”

Source: Michael P. Dempsey (2018). Harvard Business Review, available here (open access).

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