Premier 100 honorees tell us: What makes an exceptional leader?

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Malcolm C. Fields, 39

Vice president, CIO

Hon Industries Inc.

Muscatine, Iowa

"One who can garner trust. One who can make the complicated seem simple and be understood by anybody. One who walks the talk. One who is passionate about the work and the company. One who communicates the vision effectively and with conviction."



Ron Fijalkowski, 49

CIO

Strategic Distribution Inc.

Feasterville, Pa.

"Hard work, understanding, patience, ability to make and stand by decisions, concern for people and feelings -- all of these skills encompassed in a single individual who can put crises in their proper perspective and remember to have fun."



John A. Fiore, 50

Executive vice president, CIO

State Street Corp.

Quincy, Mass.

"Exceptional IT leaders have great vision and communicate that vision to the organization in ways that inspire and motivate employees. They must show tremendous commitment to leveraging technology, responding quickly to business needs and adding value to the organization, while empowering employees to bring their vision to fruition. They must have trust in the talent in the organization and continue to develop and utilize that talent to propel the organization to success."



Richard J. Fishburn, 56

Vice president, CIO

Corning Inc.

Corning, N.Y.

"The ability to inspire others to reach their potential."



David C. FitzPatrick, 44

CIO, director of IT

Metawave Communications Corp.

Redmond, Wash.

"An exceptional leader must possess a significant amount of character and integrity. It is important for a leader to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. I find that my being able to admit my shortcomings and being able to say 'I'm sorry' when I have wronged someone has been one of my strongest qualities as a leader. A leader must also know how to build on their own strengths and find ways to compensate for their weaknesses. For example, I hire excellent, high-quality professionals to handle the areas for which I am less knowledgeable. I hire highly competent technical people since my background is less technical than many other CIOs."



Kent Fourman, 50

Vice president, CIO

Gaylord Entertainment Co.

Nashville

"Exceptional leaders have the ability to maximize the potential of their staff. They are able to instill a sense of purpose and a sense of team that is the foundation for everything the group tackles. They earn the respect of their peers and subordinates but not necessarily their friendship. They are the calming force during crises and are not prone to sporadic illogical behavior. When the going gets tough, the leader is there to lift up the troops with encouraging words."





Phil Go, 40

CIO

Barton Malow Co.

Southfield, Mich.

"Exceptional leaders have a clear vision and inspire others to excel."



W. Garrett Grainger Jr., 50

Executive vice president, CIO

Dixon Ticonderoga Co.

Heathrow, Fla.

"Leaders come in many forms. They must motivate, teach, collaborate and drive others with their vision. They must be humble, willing to experience and respect the ideas of others. They must lead their teams by example and with trust. They must be willing to take risks and accept the outcome. They must be human."



Roger Gray, 39

Vice president of information systems and technology services, CIO

Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

San Francisco

"Exceptional leaders truly lead rather than manage. Managers do things right, but leaders do the right thing. Exceptional leaders will make tough decisions in spite of politics and popularity and guide people, organizations or nations through the most difficult times or circumstances. The true measure of exceptional leadership can be assessed only over the course of time and not in one instant."



B. Gordon Green, 53

Vice president

The Bank of New York Co.

New York

"I believe the best leaders have a number of qualities to recommend them. Foremost among these is to lead by example. A pet hate of mine has always been the concept of 'Do as I say, not as I do.' To set the example that others should follow, however, requires a number of other fundamentals. Integrity is the first that comes to mind. Sound principles make the best foundation for decision-making. The best leaders are people whom we respect for their desirable qualities that we would like to emulate."



Frank A. Guglielmo, 54

Vice president, Enterprise Engineering Group

Soza and Co.

Fairfax, Va.

"My approach to management is where I determine the vision and the endpoint and my staff determines the strategy and the tactical approach to our client's success."



Roger Gurnani,
40

Vice president, CIO

Verizon Wireless

Warren, N.J.

"Focus on results -- business results. Be hands-on, and know how to roll up your sleeves and get involved. Never neglect the details. Allow employees to bring their problems to you. This builds confidence and trust. Simplify things. Eliminate unnecessary activities. Be decisive. Anticipate the future needs or direction. Have a vision. Hire the best people -- high-energy people who are results-driven. Foster teamwork. Build good teams with motivated people. Have fun. Work hard and play hard. Have fun by learning new things. Have fun by celebrating successes. Have fun as a team. Communicate. Communicate at all levels, with all levels."



Louis Gutierrez, 40

Senior vice president, CTO

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Inc.

Wellesley, Mass.

"Exceptional leaders focus their own energy on the good of the whole organization -- not necessarily their own business unit -- and eliciting top performance from their staff. Supporting this, exceptional leaders should have a Grade-A professional skills portfolio, intelligence and integrity."



David M. Hager, 51

Vice president of network security and disaster recovery

OppenheimerFunds Distributor Inc.

Englewood, Colo.

"Exceptional leaders are those who can inspire, who can evoke skill, desire and passion within the people around them. Leaders understand the importance of instilling leadership, not simple management. They know what it takes to build relationships and empower employees to be a part of the business process. Leaders have strong communications skills to reach out and engage, not preach. Leaders think outside of the box and encourage others to do the same. Educating by example and not words, true leaders never take 'It cannot be fixed' as a solution and show how others can resist the phrase as well. They understand operations and business objectives and have the ability to successfully manage people, time and money while still undertaking true leadership skills. Leaders take others to new heights and empower them to realize their full potential. Exceptional leaders create leaders."



Jerry B. Hale, 50

Director, Global Business Systems

Eastman Chemical Co.

Kingsport, Tenn.

"Exceptional leaders develop a clear vision for the future and communicate that to their organizations and followers in such a way that they accept it as their own and are inspired to achieve it. Such leaders must have the determination, resolve and focus to accomplish the vision, no matter what obstacles or resistances must be overcome. Leaders must be able to inspire followers to drive toward the vision with the same determination that they possess. It is a given that leaders must also serve as manager, coach and mentor. Leaders must be of good character and have a genuine interest in seeing others grow and accomplish their own personal goals. Clearly, leaders must communicate effectively and develop people well, while remaining focused on the overall vision or goals to achieve business (or other) results."



Steven T. Hammond,
44

Vice president, information services

Plasti-Line Inc.

Powell, Tenn.

"1. Passion. Leaders must demonstrate their passion. It doesn't have to be cheerleading, unless that's a style you have. It simply means demonstrating to your department or corporation what values and priorities you have in work and life. 2. Intelligence. Leaders must have a level of understanding of the processes in one's department and the conditions which their associates deal within those processes. It also means sharpening the saw or staying on top of technologies, human resource development and management trends, and an awareness of business changes. Along with that insight, one must apply those skills to leading the department or company to stay competitive. 3. Courage. This is easily the hardest because one must have the political understanding of when and how to announce successes and failures along the way."



Melanie Heintz, 38

Staff director,

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

New York

"Integrity and all it implies. Example: the willingness to practice what you preach. Preach innovation, then innovate. Preach certifications, then get your own. Preach treating others with respect, then do it. Preach presentation skills, then present regularly to your staff. Preach thoroughness, then be thorough and explicit in your instruction and feedback. Preach dedication, then show it to your work and staff and dedicate yourself to their successes. Preach teamwork, then work well with your peers."



Scott Hicar, 34

Vice president for IT, CIO

Maxtor Corp.

Longmont, Colo.

"Exceptional leaders empower their teams and staff and help them achieve their combined goals. Strong leaders are very open communicators and are viewed that way by their respective teams. Finally, exceptional leaders, especially in IT, must have a dual set of experiences to be successful. IT leaders require a technical competence to lead the 'pure IT' side of the shop, while also having a solid business operations understanding to know best how to deploy a company's IT assets and best meet the demands of the business."



John Hummel, 47

Vice president, IS, CIO

Sutter Health

Sacramento, Calif.

"Vision and drive and the ability to share with those around them to allow them to want to follow them."



H. Jameson Holcombe, 38

CIO

Cambrian Communications LLC

Fairfax, Va.

"Honesty and sincerity in a passion for excellence."



Jean K. Holley, 42

Vice president, CIO

USG Corp.

Chicago

"An exceptional leader is one who establishes strong vision and direction and works to establish a good balance of programs and resources that support the business vision and direction. The leader must develop strong relationships with business units both within and outside the company and encourage others to do the same. Once the direction and programs are established, the leader needs to act as a coach to help out where needed but allowing people to grow and develop. Finally, and perhaps the most important, I believe an exceptional leader demonstrates a good, healthy balance of work, family and community responsibilities. If done correctly and in balance, leaders affect much more than simply the bottom line of one company. They positively affect their family, their community and the businesses surrounding that leader's community."



Jim Jackson, 52

Vice president, CIO

Intertape Polymer Group Inc.

Bradenton, Fla.

"Exceptional leaders have patience, an ability to listen, allow subordinates to make mistakes (and counsel them on corrective actions), stand back and let the staff do the work, reward performance, communicate plans and direction, and allow managers and staff develop tasks, develop thinkers who work with reactors, constantly raise the bar by challenging each of the employees to grow, and hire people smarter than themselves."



David C. John, 47

First vice president, CIO

Bayerische Landesbank, New York Branch

New York

"An exceptional leader is an individual who goes beyond the traditional leadership role to improve business performance by mobilizing resources while developing and fostering a solid mind-set among everyone in the organization. They must be willing to take calculated risks and be able to effectively use their power of influence to convey and inspire staff through the distribution of power. Exceptional leaders focus most of their managerial skills on being excellent communicators who teach their staff perseverance and tolerance in the event of failure."



R. Bruce Johnson, 64

Director, information services

Robinson Silverman Pearce Aronsohn & Berman LLP

New York

"A sustained record of achievement while developing and promoting the individuals who work under their supervision."



Mark Jongeward, 47

Director of technology and training

Bacou-Dalloz Group

San Diego

"A blend of compassion, tough-mindedness, insight, sense of humor and humility combined with lots of common sense."





Deryck G. Jones, 44

President

Sentech LLC

San Francisco

"The true measure of leadership is influence. As Colin Powell once said, 'You have achieved excellence as a leader when people will follow you anywhere, if only out of curiosity.' Most managers can maintain direction, while very few can effect positive change. An exceptional leader is one who can influence others toward positive change. I find this is best done through listening, hard work, honesty and involving others. You cannot move people into action without emotion. The heart always comes before the head. You must know your audience and what they feel, then pick the very best talent you can find, empower them and let them do their jobs."



Douglas T. Jones, 45

Vice president for enterprise information systems, CIO

Cedars-Sinai Health System

Los Angeles

"Someone who can identify, recruit and keep talent; delegate effectively; be flexible and open to (or even enthusiastic about) change; be able to communicate effectively; have sufficient experience to make sound business judgments; and have strong interpersonal skills."



A. Bryan Kearney, 39

Vice president, CIO

IdaCorp Inc., Idaho Power Co.

Boise, Idaho

"Defining an exceptional leader is somewhat difficult; identifying one is typically easy. I think leadership is the ability to influence people to do things that they otherwise may not choose or be capable of doing on their own. I think an exceptional leader is one who can influence people, providing motivation and direction, yet at the same time remembering that everyone deserves to be treated with the utmost respect. Exceptional leaders have many dimensions and qualities, allowing them to have vision, tact, communication skills, appeal and integrity. Exceptional leaders ensure that strategy is in place and well-communicated, that staff understand where they fit in and what is expected and that accountability does matter. Strong leaders are not afraid of surrounding themselves with other strong competent and complementary managers, building bench strength and adding continuity to the team. They are typically driven, but not unbalanced; vocal, but not loud; visible, but not flashy. And the strongest that I have encountered have common sense, heart, empathy and passion."



Ali Kheirolomoom, 37

CTO

Avinon Inc.

San Francisco

"An exceptional leader fosters the development of a common vision and provides clear direction and priorities; clarifies roles and responsibilities; steps forward to address difficult issues; gains support and commitment from others and mobilizes people to take action; builds effective teams committed to organizational goals; encourages and empowers others to achieve; accurately assesses strengths and development needs of employees; provides challenging assignments and opportunities for development; challenges the status quo and champions new initiatives; acts as a catalyst of change and stimulates others to change; conveys a sense of urgency and drives issues to closure; pursues aggressive goals and works hard to achieve them; emphasizes the need to contribute to organization's profitability; manages quality; makes decisions under conditions of uncertainty; seeks feedback and welcomes unsolicited feedback."



Cathie Kozik, 41

CIO, senior vice president

Tellabs

Lisle, Ill.

"An exceptional leader is a person who takes the time to listen and understand the points of view of others. It's a person who isn't hung up on what their position is in the company, but is more interested in helping the company become a better place to work and its employees more well-rounded people. An exceptional leader inspires others to think about the possibilities -- and who is optimistic about the future but still realistic about what it will take to get there. An exceptional leader never loses track of who really makes the company tick: the employees."



Ashish Kumar, 35

CTO

Avanade Inc.

Seattle

"An exceptional leader has strong convictions about the metrics and path to success for their company or business unit. They communicate and connect within and outside the organization to drive business results. It takes a team to do exceptional things. An exceptional leader hires talented and motivated people and gets them to overachieve, creates an environment where there is a sense of urgency and accomplishment, sets medium-term direction and short-term milestones, gets out of the way and checks in on status, and understands when to provide direction and when to provide support."



Russ Lambert, 43

Director, e-commerce

WESCO Distribution Inc.

Pittsburgh

"Exceptional leaders possess three qualities that run in their blood 24/7: a vision for the future, a passion for people and an obsession for continuous improvement."



Russ Lewis, 42

CIO, executive vice president

GFInet Inc.

New York

"Exceptional leadership entails a clear understanding of the big picture and the ability to communicate to people at all levels. Exceptional leaders have a clear vision, a passion to achieve the vision and the drive and interpersonal skills to motivate others to follow them. True leaders strive to make everyone around them successful."



Craig B. Luigart, 47

CIO

U.S. Department of Education

Washington

"I think exceptional leaders understand their people, their own limitations and the strengths of those around them. I can't overstate how important it is for leaders to understand their weaknesses and try to surround themselves with individuals and processes that will help mitigate those weaknesses. Leaders must be willing to accept criticism; be open with their team about their concerns, desires and frustrations; take ready responsibility for failure and at the same time assure success is attributed to those they lead. Leaders must be willing to be available to listen, to work with their peers, to understand their goals and their fears, and to deliver on the commitments that they make. Leaders must not be afraid of mistakes. Mistakes are a learning event, and you must learn to not make the same mistake more than once. Leaders must be willing to understand they are wrong and freely admit they made a bad decision. Leaders must foster an atmosphere that encourages others to take risks and make mistakes rather than to fear mistakes."



John Mariano, 33

Senior vice president, IS

Academic Management Services Inc.

Swansea, Mass.

"Honesty, serenity, resilience, enthusiasm, persistence and excellent listening skills."



Steven J. Matheys,
42

Senior vice president, CIO

Schneider Logistics Inc.

Green Bay, Wis.

"Exceptional leaders have a sense that isn't necessarily trainable -- something acquired or hereditary but not simply attainable in a classroom. Exceptional leaders have vision, commitment and passion, but most significantly, they are folks who can compel the masses to follow them. They set the stage where others want to play. They know how to continually raise the bar without creating a belief that folks are never good enough. They walk into a room and their presence is felt without saying a word. They are sought out after their speeches because the audience wants to hear more. Without question, I strongly believe that great leaders are great 'people people.' They know how to get others to share a common vision and mission and create a willingness to sacrifice for the opportunity to create something great together."



Paul McKeon, 45

Partner, chief e-business officer

Ketchum

Atlanta

"My favorite line about leadership: Your boss can make you a manager. Only your employees can make you a leader. You have to get down in the trenches and show you are one of them, not lead from behind the lines."



Mike Meyers, 47

Vice president, information management and technology

Genesee & Wyoming Inc.

Greenwich, Conn.

"A balanced mixture: Experience, compassion, accountability, assertiveness, aggressiveness, adaptability, ability to motivate, strategic (forward) thinking, listening skills, delegation skills, mentoring skills and global perspective."



Thomas H. Murphy, 38

CIO

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Miami

"A love of people and a passion for what you are doing. Authentic leadership is probably the most difficult skill to find in the era of quarterly Wall Street announcements. But it's the most important quality in an era when we are asking our employees to do more in a more complex environment for less. My responsibility as a leader is to ensure everyone has clarity of purpose, both at the enterprise level and the individual level. To facilitate communication across not just IT, but the entire organization."



Rick Peltz, 44

CIO

Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co.

Encino, Calif.

"I have all of my staff address their career direction and goals as well as help them work toward and achieve them. I encourage external education training and flexible work schedules. I offer an open-door policy, listen to their needs (personal, too) and work with them toward resolution, if asked. I have a yearly team-building event based on open dialogue, lunch with the CEO and award recognition. I seldom say no to a request and work with my staff, resulting in a proper solution for everyone."



Michael Prince, 60

Vice president, CIO

Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Inc.

Lyme, N.H.

"Exceptional leaders choose their goals wisely. They are focused on their goals and make sure that others are as well. They establish clear priorities. They build consensus. They empower others. They are good coaches and teachers. They work hard and smart, inspiring the same from their people. They are sensitive to the needs of their people. A truly exceptional leader makes work rewarding and enjoyable."



Dave Moellenhoff, 31

CTO

Salesforce.com Inc.

San Francisco

"The ability to communicate a compelling vision in a way that inspires other people. Everything else is secondary. If you have a smart person who can articulate their vision, then you have a leader. Persistence helps, of course, and intelligence is assumed. On the day-to-day leadership level, exceptional leaders empower people to make their own decisions while still setting a clear direction and holding staff accountable for their performance as measured against that direction. Micromanagement is the kiss of death."



David J. Molchany,
40

CIO

Fairfax County government

Fairfax, Va.

"An exceptional leader is a person who sets objectives, is flexible enough to allow for changes, focuses on the big picture, inspires staff to do the best job, empowers them to be leaders themselves and always remembers to give credit to those who are instrumental to meeting goals. Leaders who do this have followers; they also usually remain leaders because they reach their objectives and win the confidence of subordinates and superiors. An exceptional leader is also a mentor who enables staff growth and has a mentor who will allow them to expand their own horizons and understanding of the business."



Ellis E. Moore, 48

Vice president, IT

Nobel Biocare USA

Yorba Linda, Calif.

"Someone willing to take responsibility for success or failure of any endeavor. Someone who leaves the door open for communication and sharing of experience."



Joe Neubauer, 41

Director, software development

Martin Group

Mitchell, S.D.

"An exceptional leader needs to be a great communicator and as part of that must be a good listener. You must know your people and what their strengths and weaknesses are and then act on using those strengths to the benefit of the team. An exceptional leader must know when to wait and when to act."



Anthony Okrongly, 32

Vice president for IT

Galactic Ltd.

Arlington, Texas

"Vision and communication are the core elements of a leader. There are other traits that leaders have, but they are generally management traits and not truly leadership traits. At the root, no one can lead without vision, and no one can lead without communicating that vision to others. Some people think that to be a leader, you have to do something totally new, like being an inventor. But it's all relational. If you create a new vision for your area or your company, even if it isn't new to the world, and you can communicate that vision, attract support and motivate others to achieve that vision, then you are a leader. The better you do it, the more exceptional you are."



Elizabeth A. Page, 55

Director, IS

Equiva Services LLC

Houston

"Exceptional leaders have a vision that inspires others, spend a lot of time communicating their vision and then trust their staff to do their jobs."



Bob Palmer, 39

Vice president, Lenox Collections IT

Lenox Inc.

Langhorne, Pa.

"Treating people as you want to be treated, leading by example (never ask your staff to do something or make some personal sacrifice that you are not willing to do yourself), allowing others to shine and develop their skills and confidence, and being honest and having integrity are the keys to being a successful leader."



Glenn Palmiere,
38

CIO

G. Pierce Wood Memorial Hospital

Arcadia, Fla.

"I think exceptional leaders have to accomplish the mission and take care of their people. By focusing on today's mission as well as planning for the future, by helping subordinates grow, you can accomplish both of these tasks. Another key element is creating a great working environment where performance and morale are both high. I think too often, people forget it is a combination of the two qualities that make a good leader. There are so many examples that I have witnessed where people burn out because the manager pushed them too hard, or the employees became disheartened because they did not feel appreciated. Getting the job done is only half the battle. Making sure you have a team for the next job is just as important."



Bob Ricker, 42

CTO

KeyCorp

Cleveland

"I don't give up."



Curtis Robb, 56

Senior vice president, CTO

Delta Technology Inc.

Atlanta

"I believe exceptional leaders have developed a unique balance of at least five key characteristics: 1. They have a vision of what the future can be and have the ability to get others to see that vision and align everything they do to achieving the future state. 2. They are rarely satisfied with the way things are. They constantly look for ways to improve the status quo and as a result, keep an organization moving forward. 3. Exceptional leaders all seem to have the ability to motivate the organization to achieve greatness by including the entire team. They get everyone involved and give credit to the entire team for achieving the goals. 4. Great leaders set an example of behavior for the whole organization. They exhibit the behavior they want from the organization every day and in everything they do. 5. Great leaders seem to love what they do and find many opportunities to celebrate the successes of the organization in such a way that the team is further encouraged to achieve even greater success. They have a unique way of getting people excited about their job and what they have done. More importantly, truly great leaders seem to have a unique balance of these attributes that allow them to have great influence on the entire organization. As a result, everyone feels involved, enthused and proud of their accomplishments. "



Dennis Roell, 38

IT manager

Betts USA Inc.

Florence, Ky.

"Listen to the people doing the work. Learn how to separate the real problems from the perceived problems. Help your people put together solutions that work for you both so they have ownership in the problem resolution. Avoid the temptation to let your people view you as the guru who will provide the solution; titles mean nothing, and labeling someone else as the expert is a way many people avoid learning and taking risks themselves. Get to know your key people on a personal level so you can get a feeling about what they can handle and how far you can stretch them. Find out what other kind of stuff your key people know about; needed talents may be lurking that could help you get that next big project done. Deliver the goods; many projects make it to 80% quickly but never seem to get totally complete. Be known as the finisher."



Alan Rosa, 30

Director, NT systems and engineering

Quest Diagnostics Inc.

Teterboro, N.J.

"There is no attribute more important to an exceptional leader than the willingness (not the ability) to embrace multiple perspectives and truly make an effort to understand its implications. It is extremely rare to find that unique individual who can take a disparate opinion, adapt it into their mind-set and truly implement ideas that derive from that. A leader with that unique introspective can relate to associates on multiple levels, bridge differences between functional groups and succeed in driving the accomplishment that makes a department stand out. They can identify with the hesitations of those around them and facilitate progress in areas that are hampered by personnel discontent."



Michael J. Ragunas, 37

CTO

Staples.com

Framingham, Mass.

"Exceptional leaders recognize that their effectiveness ultimately comes from their teams and not from themselves. An exceptional leader will focus on getting the right people on the team, will set clear goals that are tied to a long-term vision and will empower the team and personalize goals to allow each individual to contribute to his or her maximum potential. Exceptional leaders create positive energy on their teams through encouragement and praise when things are going well and through coaching and mentoring (but not blaming) when things are not. Exceptional leaders build a team that is much more valuable than the sum of its parts and accomplishes more than the individuals on the team thought possible."



Paul S. Raines, 41

Global head of information risk management

Barclays Capital

New York

"Be an example to your people, both in your job and in private life. Never spare yourself, and let your people see that you don't in your endurance of hardships. Always be courteous and tactful, and teach your subordinates to be the same. Avoid excessive harshness or sharpness of voice, which usually indicates people who have shortcomings of their own to hide."



Rich Sadowsky, 39

Senior vice president of technology

RadioCentral Inc.

San Francisco

"I can be tough and soft at the same time. I am kind, but demanding. I lead by example. I model the work habits I expect from my staff. I work hard, but I play hard and laugh a lot. I'm not too proud to learn from my mistakes and admit when I'm wrong. I surround myself with a very diverse team and take the time to hear the different perspectives on an issue. I manage both up and down the hierarchy. It is just as critical for me to manage the CEO's and board of directors' expectations as it is to manage my staff. I work well in cross-functional situations and take the time to understand how all the functional areas of the company operate. I know every employee's name and find a way to relate to each one. I want my staff to succeed and excel in their careers and personal lives. I help mentor them. I listen to what they want to do. I let them get public attention for their accomplishments."



Jack J. Santos, 46

Director, IT and facilities

Bowstreet Inc.

Portsmouth, N.H.

"There are four qualities that I feel are integral to exceptional leadership: 1. Vision: A leader must be able to visualize the goal line and communicate that vision. The real secret is getting groups of people to follow your path, but they won't without knowing where they might end. 2. Frankness: no BS. All people want to be treated intelligently as peers. We all have something to learn from each other. Being disingenuous or elusive does not a good leader make. 3. Tenacity: Anything worth achieving takes hard work, has its ups and downs -- otherwise, why would it be worth achieving? I believe that the journey is as important as the destination; to stay on that road and ultimately reach the destination requires a certain tenacity that true leadership needs to draw on as a strength. 4. Caring: Last, but not least, is the need for leaders to feel for their coworkers, to empathize with their fears, to encourage their best efforts. This is often characterized as being a good coach, but as a leader, I am often concerned that the coaching metaphor emphasizes winning at any cost, while caring is that best part of coaching that is really at the core of true leadership."



Klaus O. Schafer,
51

Asst. Surgeon General for medical readiness science and technology

U. S. Air Force

Bolling Air Force Base

"Vision, vision, vision! Build the vision, create the disciples, and then stand back and let it happen."



Bill Seltzer, 62

Executive vice president, CIO

Office Depot Inc.

Delray Beach , Fla.

"Leadership is many things. It's more like faith than belief; it's closer to commitment than compliance. It's treating everyone with honesty, dignity and respect. It's committed to diversity. A good leader praises publicly and gives constructive criticism privately. It's always following a moral compass that makes it easy for others to chart."



Ash I. Shehata, 34

Director, IS and telecommunications

Antelope Valley Health Care District

Lancaster, Calif.

"I think there are four fundamental things that make an exceptional leader: Great leaders take people where they should be; are willing to listen and admit when they are wrong; lead by example and give sensible advice; and remember the human factor "



Randolph Smith, 53

Manager, information security, CISSP

United Parcel Service Inc.

Mahwah, N.J.

"Exceptional leaders have the ability to listen carefully and integrate diverse experiences into decision-making. They complete the tactical work by setting clear, simple expectations. They get the strategic initiatives moving by asking the right questions instead of issuing directives. They have the patience to allow people to change their opinions and behavior at their own pace. Exceptional leaders have the humility to accept that even their best ideas won't always prevail."



Gary W. Sprague, 48

Director, IT

Marconi

Irving, Texas

"Exceptional leaders are sincere in their dealings with people. They have a vision that will spark initiative in people, have a passion for the vision and can create willingness amongst people. Leaders set a standard that the team should always be above, raising it periodically. The leader coaches the weaker ones on how to keep up, while coaching the stronger ones on how to be the next leader."



Paul Stevens,
42

Global head of technology

Barclays Global Investors

San Francisco

"Clarity, commitment, firmness, fairness, vision, decisiveness, honesty and drive. The ability to take the rough with the smooth. Support from others. A sense of humor."



James B. Stough, 50

Director, technology

Locke Liddell & Sapp LLP

Houston

"Leaders are made, not born. In reality and in practice, leadership is nothing more and nothing less than influence -- that's it. The person who thinks he is a leader and has no one following him is just taking a walk. So the question is, how do you influence people and how do you get them to follow? I have always attempted to set a positive example with the people I am tasked to lead as well as those I am tasked to follow. To me, an exceptional leader is one who is a long-term thinker, one with the ability to see beyond the crisis du jour. An exceptional leader is also one who has vision, values and above all, motivation."



Susan Sumner, 40

Executive director, IT

Alza Corp.

Mountain View, Calif.

"Exceptional leaders must have three qualities: intelligence, courage and passion. Without all three, you are not a leader."



Kirk Swilley, 42

CIO

City of Wichita

Wichita, Kan.

"Exceptional leaders are willing to lead by example. They realize that leadership isn't about reporting lines or the size of the organization but rather about influence. They are superb listeners and can inspire others with their words and ideas. Exceptional leaders realize that morale begins in the mirror and that creating a culture is more important than creating rigid rules. But perhaps most importantly, exceptional leaders dream and are able to take dreams and turn them into reality."



Kirill Tatarinov, 36

Senior vice president, CTO

BMC Software Inc.

Houston

"A great leader needs to have exceptional people skills and be able to relate to everyone, from the executives to the newest and most junior members of the team. The ability to both create and clearly articulate a strategy and a vision is also an important skill. A good leader then needs to be able to communicate this vision to large groups of people to make them both believers and followers of the vision while giving them room to contribute their talents and ideas. In the area of IT, it's also important to have a deep understanding of the technology details and yet be able to move quickly to the highest level of abstraction."



Lari Sue Taylor, 39

Senior vice president, enterprise risk management

FleetBoston Financial Corp.

Ridgefield Park, N.J.

"Exceptional leaders can motivate and inspire others in all types of situations. They possess the ability to think strategically, grasp the big picture and translate vision into action. Exceptional leaders demonstrate a high level of integrity and possess poise, confidence and strong communication skills. Exceptional leaders will interact comfortably with individuals of all levels and consider the human element in business decisions. They must make tough decisions and be willing to take risks. Exceptional leaders always accept accountability for their actions."



M. Lewis Temares, 60

Vice president, CIO, dean of engineering

University of Miami

Coral Gables, Fla.

"Exceptional leaders are only as good as the people they hire. Every employee who works for me can do their job better than I could. Exceptional leaders' responsibility is to provide the support and resources necessary for them to succeed. One cannot be a successful leader without constantly looking over one's shoulder to make sure someone is following."



Adam Wallace, 31

CIO

Flashline.com Inc.

Cleveland

"An exceptional leader requires the right combination of skills to not only make things happen, but to also make the right things happen by drawing out the best in those being led. This requires several strengths that are equally important to successful leadership. Having a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished is crucial to arriving at the right end. To get there, a leader must command the respect of their followers by being adept in the appropriate arena."



Maribeth Ward, 47

Vice president, IT

Parson Group

Chicago

"I think an exceptional leader is someone who knows how to read a situation quickly and act on that knowledge. Books on leadership can never teach you how to size up a situation quickly and adjust your behavior to leverage that situation. Leadership is really an art, and what works on one team will backfire on another. I am far from perfect, but I have an uncanny ability to use the right style for the right team. I also can admit when I am wrong, and that is a critical skill for an exceptional leader."



David Watson, 43

CIO

Enfrastructure Inc.

Alison Viejo, Calif.

"Here's what I consider the key ingredients: Honesty -- if you can't be honest with your people, they will know it and you will never have their loyalty. Loyalty -- up and down. It's a bit of a Catch-22, but if you're not loyal down, honesty will suffer (see above). Trust -- if you are honest and earn loyalty, they will trust you. Violate any of them at your peril. Ability to communicate with clarity and passion. Writing down visions is OK; living them is both better and more fun. If you live it, you will communicate it. Luck -- What's the proverb? 'Whether you think you're lucky or think you're not lucky, you're right.' Make your own luck by planning, communicating, executing -- in that order! Know when to change the rules. Sometimes you need to be able to recognize a good rule has gone bad and be humble enough to change it. The essence, say what you do, do what you say -- and have passion and fun in what you do. It's infectious."



Ed Winfield, 43

CIO

F.X. Coughlin Co.

Southfield, Mich.

"I think an exceptional leader is someone who can excel along several different aspects -- being a visionary, being able to execute and being admired as a person. In terms of vision, a leader must possess the ability to take information in on many different fronts, consolidate it in their mind and frame a strategy that effectively represents the information and the desired future state. Then, with a combination of graphics and concise text, they are able to explain or present the strategy in simple terms to both an executive-level audience as well as the general business population. Regarding IT, they should be able to leverage this ability to produce an IT strategy that factors in many different variables, including industry trends, corporate initiatives, customer requirements and most importantly, overall business plans."



Mahvash Yazdi, 49

Senior vice president, CIO

Edison International and Southern California Edison

Rosemead, Calif.

"One of my mentors once told me that exceptional leaders usually take one piece of advice to heart: When you are leading, make sure people are following you. And for me, this means several things. I see leadership as a puzzle with all the important attributes of a leader as pieces in that puzzle. You have to know how to put those pieces together to get the full picture or results you're looking for. And when you do that successfully, you are going to have people following you."



Bill York,
43

CTO

Comergent Technologies Inc.

Redwood City, Calif.

"Someone who gets and keeps everyone in their organization focused and aligned with the company's goals and objectives while inspiring and supporting their self-motivation and creativity."

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