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Re:CAP Recommends | Getting the Leadership Basics Right

March 3, 2017

Re:CAP Recommends:  “Getting the Leadership Basics Right” by Eric McNulty

Who: Eric McNulty is the current director of research at Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative. His work centers on resilience and leadership. As Daniel Goleman suggests, leaders make real progress with people through soft skills.

What: Leadership philosophies vary widely. In Barbara Kellerman’s book End of Leadership, she acknowledges that traditional models of top-down leadership are archaic. As Daniel Goleman suggests, contemporary leaders make real progress with people through soft skills. McNulty applies these points, providing five basic “fundamentals” for leaders to focus on. He suggests, “getting the basics right is the first, essential step to building a great organization.”

Takeaway: After a twenty-year career in a large government agency, I can attest: large seemingly anemic agencies respond to soft-skill leadership in the same manner as smaller more agile start-up enterprises. McNulty’s principles apply as much to the social entrepreneurial start-ups as they do to the large federal or state agency.  The right people, realistic goals, meaningful purpose, a path to success, and a supportive culture—these are indeed the basics to successful leadership and if mastered will serve any leader well. The real nugget here: Take the challenge to implement a systematic time for reflection each month into your personal leadership strategy, rechecking your progress by this list. 

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829

felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu