The Four E’s – are leaders born or made? by Jack Welch

Here is some favorite advice I learned from JACK WELCH:

“Every time I speak to a group, I get asked about leadership. Mainly, people want to know how I feel about that age-old question:

Are leaders born or made? And I always answer the same way: Who knows?

What I do know is what leaders look and act like. Not because I’m a great thinker on the subject, but because I hired (and occasionally fired) leaders for about 30 years. After a while I got the hang of the characteristics that made some people better than others at setting the right goals, reaching them the right way, and doing both in the right amount of time, which is what leadership is when you get right down to it.

Now, leadership comes and goes as a hot topic, and we evaluate our management in terms of leadership. It’s a process I call the Four E’s, and it worked for me as long as I used it, more than 20 years.

Basically, my process assesses four essential traits of leadership (each one starting with an E, a nice coincidence).

  • One, successful leaders have tons of positive energy. They can go go go; they love action and relish change.
  • Two, they have the ability to energize others — they love people and can inspire them to move mountains when they have to.
  • Three, they have edge, the courage to make tough yes-or-no decisions — no maybes.
  • And finally, they can execute. They get the job done.

If a candidate for a leadership role has the four E’s, then you look for a final trait — Passion.

By that I mean a heartfelt, deep and authentic excitement about life and work.

People with passion care — really care in their bones — about neighbors, employees, colleagues and friends winning. They love to learn and grow themselves, and they get a kick when the people around them do the same.” Jack Welch, former CEO, GE

I love when I meet a leader like this.