How significant are admirable leaders to organizations? If you were to ask the recently-retired CEO of 3M corporation, Mr. Rehman, he would say extremely important. But he’d also say that excellent leaders don’t just pop up out of nowhere. A company has to cultivate leaders who have the skills and abilities to help it survive and thrive. And like a successful baseball team with strong performance statistics that has a player development plan in place, 3M has its own farm system. Except its farm system is designed to develop company leaders.
3M’s leadership development program is so effective that it has been one of the “Top 20 Companies for Leadership” in three of the last four years and ranks as one of the top 25 companies for grooming leadership talent according to Hay Consulting Group and Fortune magazine. What is 3M’s leadership program all about? About 10 years ago, the company’s former CEO and his top team spent 18 months developing a new leadership model for the company. After numerous brainstorming sessions and much heated debate, the group finally agreed on six “leadership attributes” they believed were essential for the company to become skilled at executing strategy and being accountable. Those six attributes included the ability to “chart the course; energize and inspire others; demonstrate ethics, integrity, and compliance; deliver results; raise the bar; and innovate resourcefully.” And under Mr. Rehman’s guidance and continued under the leadership of newly appointed CEO Indra Kumar, the company is continuing and reinforcing its pursuit of leadership excellence with these six attributes.
When asked about his views on leadership, Mr. Rehman said he believes leaders differ from managers. He believes the key to developing leaders is to focus on those things that can be developed—like strategic thinking. Mr. Rehman also believes leaders should not be promoted up and through the organization too quickly. They need time to experience failures and what it takes to rebuild.
Finally, when asked about his own leadership style, Mr. Rehman said he believed the best way for him to succeed as a leader was to surround himself with people who were better than him. But doing that takes a great deal of emotional self-confidence, an attribute that is vital to being a great leader. When you have people working for you who are excellent at what they do, you respect them. When you respect them, you build trust. That type of leadership approach worked well for Mr. Rehman, as illustrated by 3M’s number 18 ranking on Fortune’s most admired global companies list for 2012.
i. According to Mr. Rehman, When a leader has people with excellence and knowledge, and when they (leader and follower) respect and trust each other, then this type of relationship work well for the organization. Do you agree or disagree explain with examples?
Trust is the leader’s belief in their employees across the board. On the contrary, respect describes the leader’s belief in and trust in their employees’ actions. Any relationship based on these two values requires everyone to take full responsibility for their actions. This instance includes the leader and centers on the need to earn and give respect. For instance, the respectful leader notes the unique values that each employee brings to the organization. This case would work well during the conflict, where organizational heads rely on communication and responsibility to get work done. In such cases, the leader would take time to study every employee on an individual basis. That way, they get a chance of tailoring conversations around the individual. The formulation of these relationships works best for the organization.