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  • Writer's pictureC-Level Execs


Updated: Jan 12, 2021

KEITH HILLIER, COO, C-Level Partner​

"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done, because they want to do it." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

​The success of an organization is directly related to the caliber of leadership throughout the organization. I have learned from both good and not so good leaders throughout my career and believe those lessons have molded my own leadership style.

As stated by Warren G. Bennis, “Failing organizations are usually over-managed and under-led.”

Tanya Prive wrote a blog at Forbes ( outlining, in her opinion, “the top ten qualities that make a good leader”. Also, as part of this blog, there is a short video titled “Four Essential Tips to Become a Good Leader”.

The information contained on Ms. Prive’s blog would serve as an excellent tool for you and your leadership team to have an open and frank discussion on the question “Are we demonstrating the leadership needed for this organization to achieve exceptional results?”

I was fortunate to have been in an organization that was led by an exceptional leader and a mentor to many. Under his leadership, the organization instituted a leadership course for all managers, from the front line supervisors to the Assistant Deputy Ministers; there were no exceptions.

The several day course was capped off by a presentation by the Deputy Minister. That Deputy Minister was Admiral (Ret’d) Larry Murray and he gave his "10 BE’s" pitch.

His “10 BE’s” are as follows:

  1. BE YOURSELF (and believe your instincts)

  2. BE SINCERE (i.e. ‘care)

  3. BE PROFESSIONAL (and know your profession, know your job, know your people, their potential and their capabilities and help them to achieve them)

  4. BE HONEST (try to always do what you believe is right)

  5. BE LOYAL (avoid “we/they” syndrome and take your responsibility)

  6. BE JUST (react but don’t over-react and remember the 95% rule…i.e. 95% of your staff are good folks, doing their best)

  7. BE 'PRESENT" AND OPEN (communicate, communicate, communicate)

  8. BE INQUISITIVE (do not hesitate to ask questions/seek guidance…or no one else will)

  9. BE WARY OF "THE BEST" SYNDROME (strive to lead a good, reliable, professional organization that everyone can be proud to be part of….and your team will be “the best” on some days)

  10. Assuming you adopt some version of the above "BE’s", BE BOLD AND MAKE THINGS HAPPEN

I challenge you to create your own ‘I AM’ list and compare your list to Mr. Murray’s 10 BE’s list. For those of you who read my next blog, “Meetings, Bloody Meetings” you will have sufficient time in your daily routine to complete the ‘I AM’ list!

Many colleagues often speak of their leadership style. As with many things in life, ‘one size does not fit all’. In a recent article posted by University Alliance at Notre Dame University ( The authors’ purport that effective leaders can shift their styles with the situation at hand. Is your style multi-faceted or one-dimensional?

Kouzes and Posner, in their bestselling book, The Leadership Challenge, note the following:

Leaders encourage others to continue the quest and inspire others through courage and hope. Leaders give heart by visibly recognizing others’ contributions to the common vision. With a thank you note, a smile, and award and public praise, the leader lets others know how much they mean to the organization.”

From my experience, there was nothing more gratifying than a handwritten note (often hard to read due to his “physician handwriting syndrome”) from Mr. Murray that ended with two words that said it all…..Bravo Zulu*

(*Bravo Zulu, also referred to as "BZ," is a naval signal, typically conveyed by flag-hoist or voice radio, meaning "Well Done" with regard to actions, operations or performance...Wikipedia)

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