Real-World Leadership Development Lessons from Top CEOs

June 19, 2019 at 2:17 pm
Walmart storefront.

Sam Walton started huge chain Walmart after facing the reality that small independent stores would not last.

It’s easy to understand why leadership development is important for businesses. Leaders have a great deal to do with growth, success, and the bottom line. A business that isn’t developing leaders will soon begin to see declines and difficulties.

Looking at how top CEOs do leadership development can help your company improve and develop better leaders at all levels. Here are some examples of how top CEOs cultivate leadership.

Sam Walton: Accept Reality

Before he created the Walmart brand, Sam Walton had a chain of successful independent, small-town variety stores. When he researched the broader market, he saw that the future lay in “discounting stores” that could equal the revenue of his entire chain with just one store. His acceptance of that reality led to a decision to close all of his discount stores and start Walmart, which now dominates the discount retail landscape.

Stephen Schwarzman: Empower and Delegate

The Blackstone CEO finds that leaders need more autonomy and less control from the top. It’s up to top leaders to empower each successive level of management to take risks and freely use their talents to benefit the company. He has seen company growth, professional and personal growth, and better retention as a result of empowering employees rather than top-down control.

Tim Cook: Be Open and Listen

Rather than thinking he knows all the answers to every situation and dilemma, Apple’s Tim Cook has done everything he can to listen to others in the company and get input that he can use to improve the company. Cook reads customer emails to find out what they need and want. He visits Apple stores and tries to prevent the bubble that can so often happen to leaders when they become far removed from the employees and customers they lead.

Laptop computer with Tim Cook of Apple on the display.

Tim Cook of Apple finds listening to employees and customers to be the best way to lead.

Ed Catmull: Hire the Best People

The CEO of Pixar found out the hard way that the right people make all the difference in the success of any venture. When he had to assemble a new team to make Toy Story 2 after the success of the first installment, he quickly figured out that the new team wasn’t of the same quality as the original one. Even though he had to wait, he got the original team back to recreate the magic.

How the PI Cognitive Assessment Facilitates Leadership Development

CEOs and hiring managers can use all the help they can get to hire and develop leaders. The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment can help identify candidates with the best leadership potential during the hiring process. It can also be used for existing employees to decide how to best train and promote those who can become tomorrow’s leaders.

PI assessments are the highest quality and can bring to light aspects of your best candidates and employees that may not be immediately apparent to interviewers and managers. Assessments can also filter out biases and help hiring and management teams get a more objective view of their people.

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