Sometimes, Leaders Have to be 'Nasty SOBs'

LAS VEGAS—’s “The Corner” is dedicated to leadership and advice on management and lessons learned. So we’re sharing the insights of Bob Lutz, the former vice chairman of General Motors and an icon to many in the auto industry, as shared during the recent CU Direct Drive 15 Conference. The full interview with Mr. Lutz can be found here.

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Lutz was asked by an audience member this question, “You’ve had a successful career in leadership: Any advice on how to emulate that career? Here’s how he responded:

“I think you have to be passionate about what you’re doing. If you’re in a job just because you have to do something, you’re not going to be successful or a good leader. Then you have to have the capacity, orally or in writing, to transmit that vision and passion to others. I find empowerment works, but you have to empower the right people. And when you empower people or teams you have to make sure they fully understand the parameters of the empowerment. If you say the deadline is three weeks, it can’t be four. And this idea of meetings and ‘listening to each other with great respect’ is also something that has to come to a stop at some point. In our kinder, gentler, can’t we all get all get along United States, we’ve forgotten to get tough. We need to be tough. None of us likes to be the nasty SOB, but believe me, if you’re a leader, it comes with the territory."

Section: Standard
Word Count: 351
Copyright Holder:
Copyright Year: 2019
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