Jack Welch’s Three Advices on Leadership — Purpose, Generosity and Fun

There is plen­ty of advice on lead­er­ship. How­ev­er, few are as con­cise and authen­tic as those of Jack Welch, Gen­er­al Elec­tric’s long-stand­ing and extra­or­di­nar­i­ly suc­cess­ful CEO. For him, lead­er­ship means first­ly giv­ing mean­ing and ori­en­ta­tion to peo­ple’s work and then ensur­ing that peo­ple can work on it as unhin­dered as pos­si­ble. Sec­ond, good lead­er­ship is gen­er­ous in mak­ing oth­ers suc­cess­ful with­out envy. And final­ly, good lead­er­ship serves peo­ple and gives them joy and ful­fill­ment: “Be the Chief Fun Officer!”

Lead­er­ship, very sim­ply, is about two things: 1) Truth and trust. 2) Cease­less­ly seek­ing the for­mer, relent­less­ly build­ing the latter.
Jack Welch

Lead­er­ship pro­vides ori­en­ta­tion by offer­ing an under­stand­able and attrac­tive pur­pose to which the indi­vid­ual can con­nect in order to make an intrin­si­cal­ly moti­vat­ed con­tri­bu­tion. It is all about being “Chief Mean­ing Offi­cer” and com­mu­ni­cat­ing clear­ly what the vision is, what its pur­pose is and what it means for each indi­vid­ual (Jack Welch). Good lead­er­ship starts with pur­pose and trust and works with inten­tion rather than instruction.

Before you become a leader, suc­cess is all about grow­ing your­self. When you become a leader suc­cess is all about grow­ing others.
Jack Welch

Lead­er­ship is about mak­ing oth­ers suc­cess­ful. Good lead­er­ship is gen­er­ous. It serves life and is ser­vice, not priv­i­lege. Its goal is to devel­op poten­tial instead of exploit­ing resources. That is pre­cise­ly why the first the­sis of the Man­i­festo for Human(e) Lead­er­ship says “Unleash­ing human poten­tial over employ­ing human resources” and fur­ther on “Pur­pose and trust over com­mand and control.”

Giv­ing peo­ple self-con­fi­dence is by far the most impor­tant thing that I can do. Because then they will act.
Jack Welch

Work takes up a large part of our time. It is all the more sad­den­ing when stud­ies such as the Gallup Engage­ment Index find year after year that 50% of the Amer­i­can work­force are not engaged and 16% are active­ly dis­en­gaged. This engage­ment of course hinges on a shared pur­pose and vision. On the way to this goal, how­ev­er, we can and must cel­e­brate joint suc­cess­es and draw strength from this joy togeth­er. That’s the point of Jack Welch’s claim that good leader also need to be the “Chief Fun Offi­cer”. But now the unabridged advice of Jack Welch in his own words:

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