According to Alexandre Havard, the author of Virtuous Leadership, great leaders serve people by bringing out their talents. The former French lawyer, a key note speaker of the Remodelers Advantage Summit, explained that people have an innate temperament. However, they can build their character on that existing temperament. Great leaders start by bringing out the best in themselves, and then bring out the talents in others.
He cited the story of the founder of Michelin, the French tire company. Founder Edouard Michelin recognized the talents of a uneducated employee in his print department. He moved Marius Mignol from that department to research. Mignol went on to invent the radial tire--the basis of Michelin's international success.
Havard noted that Michelin “achieved greatness by bringing out the greatness in others.” What are the virtues of leadership? He listed ancient Greece’s four fundamentals of virtues or habits, which still apply for modern leaders.
- Prudence/practical wisdom
Havard says these four virtues are needed for effective leadership--if any of these are lacking, a leader fails. However, he says great leaders have an additional virtue, something Roman philosophers called “magnanimity,” which means having a generous mind or soul. He says great leaders have a capacity for dreaming, but also are able to put that dream into action. They do many things and then ask those close to them “Do you think this is who I am?” Through this type of feedback analysis, they are able to hone their talents, and do the same in those that work for them.
“Management is about things. Leadership is about people,” Havard pointed out. “You serve people by bringing out their talents.” —Nina Patel is a senior editor at REMODELING . Find her on Twitter at @SilverNina or @RemodelingMag .