There is no prouder boast, but also no better prescription, for executive leadership than the words Andrew Carnegie, the father of the U.S. steel industry, chose for his own tombstone: “Here lies a man who knew how to bring into his service men better than he was himself.”
This epitaph captures succinctly so much of leadership: the ability to articulate a vision and convince others of the importance of that mission; the self awareness of knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses; the desire to be the dumbest guy in the room; and the capacity to build and maintain those relationships during a life’s work.
Carnegie’s noble idea of leadership is one that every manager, founder and VC can aspire to. But it all starts with humility.
NB: first paragraph paraphrased from the Effective Executive
09 January 2013