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September 2004 - Know What’s Important to the Boss

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John A. Kline, PhD jkline@klinespeak.com
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September 2004

Know What’s Important to the Boss

I teach leadership at Troy University-- one of the most exciting and forward-looking universities in the nation.  Troy is a global university that equips students for life now and in the future by helping them develop intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Last week I met an undergraduate leadership class on the main campus for the first time. Most class members are bright enthusiastic young people attending Troy on leadership scholarships.

On this first day, I asked: "What are some important characteristics of good leaders?”

The answers were on target:  “honesty,” ‘competence,” “other-centeredness,” “confidence,” “commitment,” “strong communication skills.”  Then one upperclassman said, there are six important characteristics,” and he proceeded to list the six things that I wrote about in my November 2003 column.

I asked, "How did you come up with that list?”

The student replied, "I heard you make those points in a speech last semester.  I wrote them down knowing that I was going to take a course from you.  I decided if those characteristics are important to you, then they are important to me.”

I was flattered; but more than that, I thought, "Here is a young man who understands the wisdom of knowing what those in authority over him think is important.  Now it’s his teacher; sometime it will be his supervisor or his boss.”  This young man has learned a lesson that some people never seem to learn.  He knows what’s important to the boss.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama
jkline@klinespeak.com

September 2004 - Know What’s Important to the Boss
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