Peter Drucker On Leadership

There is a great article “Peter Drucker On Leadership” discussing the leadership principles of the late Peter Drucker, some of his ideas from the article that stood out to me are below:

  • What Needs to Be Done: “Successful leaders don’t start out asking, ‘What do I want to do?’ They ask, ‘What needs to be done?’ Then they ask, ‘Of those things that would make a difference, which are right for me?’ They don’t tackle things they aren’t good at…..”
  • Check Your Performance: “Effective leaders check their performance. They write down, ‘What do I hope to achieve if I take on this assignment?’ They put away their goals for six months and then come back and check their performance against goals. This way, they find out what they do well and what they do poorly. They also find out whether they picked the truly important things to do. I’ve seen a great many people who are exceedingly good at execution, but exceedingly poor at picking the important things….”
  • Mission Driven: “Leaders communicate in the sense that people around them know what they are trying to do. They are purpose driven–yes, mission driven. They know how to establish a mission. And another thing, they know how to say no. The pressure on leaders to do 984 different things is unbearable, so the effective ones learn how to say no and stick with it…”
  • Creative Abandonment: “A critical question for leaders is, ‘When do you stop pouring resources into things that have achieved their purpose?’ The most dangerous traps for a leader are those near-successes where everybody says that if you just give it another big push it will go over the top. One tries it once. One tries it twice. One tries it a third time. But, by then it should be obvious this will be very hard to do. So, I always advise my friend Rick Warren, ‘Don’t tell me what you’re doing, Rick. Tell me what you stopped doing.’”
  • How Organizations Fall Down: “Make sure the people with whom you work understand your priorities. Where organizations fall down is when they have to guess at what the boss is working at, and they invariably guess wrong. So the CEO needs to say, ‘This is what I am focusing on.’ Then the CEO needs to ask of his associates, ‘What are you focusing on?’ Ask your associates, ‘You put this on top of your priority list–why?’ The reason may be the right one, but it may also be that this associate of yours is a salesman who persuades you that his priorities are correct when they are not. So, make sure that you understand your associates’ priorities and make sure that after you have that conversation, you sit down and drop them a two-page note–’This is what I think we discussed. This is what I think we decided. This is what I think you committed yourself to within what time frame.’ Finally, ask them, ‘What do you expect from me as you seek to achieve your goals?’”

As always Peter Drucker provides some great insights into leadership effectiveness.

One thought on “Peter Drucker On Leadership

  1. I love Peter Drucker. Since he was at Claremont Grad School, and I went to Claremont McKenna undergrad majoring in Industrial Psych (psychology of business), I read a lot of his writings. Was very close to going to grad school there, just to learn from him directly. Part of me will always wish I had done so. Thanks for sharing Gregg.

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