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10 Ways to Become a Drucker-Like Leader

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“Peter Drucker is to management literature what J.R.R. Tolkien is to fantasy fiction. Drucker did it first. He did it best,” Leigh Buchanan states in her article “10 Traits of a Drucker-Like Leader” for Peter Drucker is known as the “Father of Modern Management” and his wisdom is mentioned many times throughout The Prosperous Leader. Buchanan provides us with 10 Drucker-like managerial traits, listed below:

  1. Make sure your own objectives and your team's objectives are in alignment with the company's overall mission. I stress the importance of a mission statement in Chapter 9: Detecting Your Mission in Life. “Centering our lives around people or things outside of ourselves places us at the mercy of uncontrollable changes, mood swings, and inconsistent behavior. But by centering our lives on correct principles, on fundamental and classic truths, we create a stable foundation and can then embrace and encompass the truly important areas of our lives”.

  2. Maintain a clear list of priorities--never more than a few, and always tackled one at a time.

  3. Carefully track where your own time goes and never waste others' time. Time management is one of the key things a prosperous leader must learn to conquer.

  4. Favor the future over the past and focus on opportunities, not problems. Peter Drucker once said to a close friend: “Please do not tell me what you are doing. Tell me what you stopped doing.”

  5. Staff and promote by, first, by gaining clarity around "What are we trying to do?" and then matching people's strengths with those key activities. Succession Planning is something you should not take lightly as a leader, and you can read more about it HERE.

  6. Invite dissent and be confident that important decisions "should be controversial" and "acclamation means that nobody has done the homework." Peter Drucker has said, “The most important part of communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

  7. Remember that when leaders make big decisions they affect the entire organization. When leaders make little decisions they are often perceived as big--because of their provenance--and so have an outsize effect.

  8. Don't blame others when things go wrong. "Accountability" and "responsibility" are Drucker watchwords. You can read more about which type of leader you are in my book, Chapter 3: The Assertive Leader.

  9. Understand that the critical question is not, "How can I achieve?" but "What can I contribute?"

  10. Routinely demonstrate that "leadership is not characterized by the stars on your shoulder”.

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