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Knock down those office walls!

And so goes a great leader. The clip is of the CEO of Japan Airlines – Haruka Nishimatsu – and his innovative leadership practices. It’s interesting to see the ticket agent in the video speak of Mr Nishimatsu’s approachable qualities and to witness her genuine affection for her leader.

Great managers get people to do things but great leaders inspire followers. Where communication is concerned, our effectiveness as leaders is based on what we do, what we say, and how we say it. Any one of the three out of alignment and we create distrust.

Instead of merely saying “We need to tighten our belts”, Nishimatsu cuts his own salary. Instead of just stating the importance of communication, Nishimatsu makes himself accessible by eating lunch in the company lunch room. As the invertviewer points out “Nishimatsu doesnt just talk the talk, he walks the walk”. And isn’t that the point? As we in the US are facing another presidential election, we are bringing all these factors to bear in evaluating leadership.

I’ll end with a quote from Nishimatsu. “If management is distant, up in the clouds, people just wait for orders … I want my people to think for themselves.” It’s one thing for leaders to want to cultivate growth and inovation and leadership in others, but the question remains, what are they doing to foster it?

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