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JYK’s Leadership Advice: Listen (Ha!)
Here’s a quiz: would you rather hear Bill Clinton lecture on the importance of marital fidelity or Jim Kim expond on the virtue of being a good listener?
Well “Ol’ Hounddog” Clinton has some pride, so you won’t get to hear that peroration, but despite his busy World Bank schedule, Jim Kim still seems to have time to enlighten us about how vital he finds it to gather information and opinions from those around him. Some excerpts from Kim’s contribution to a LinkedIn series entitled, The Best Advice I Ever Got:
Ever since I was a boy and played on sports teams, I’ve been fascinated by the challenge of leadership. How can you inspire or guide groups of people to success - sometimes to heights that they never dreamed of reaching as individuals?…
But what I’ve come to learn in my career - starting with tackling complex health problems around the world, during my time at the helm of Dartmouth College, and now leading the World Bank Group — is that while everyone acknowledges that leadership is important, few put in the time and effort it takes to become a more effective leader.
Creating a sense of shared purpose within often very diverse groups can be extraordinarily difficult, but when it happens, even large, unruly groups can tackle just about anything. That sounds simple, but it’s not easy…
For anyone who has been through a 360 review, as I have, the results can be humbling, sometimes even devastating. After reading some of the reviews of my performance, I found myself saying, “They weren’t supposed to see that.” I knew that I had a lot of work ahead of me to become a better leader…
So how should you react to this kind of feedback? That gets us back to [Kim’s leadership coach] Marshall [Goldsmith]’s advice: The most fundamental commitment you have to make as a leader is to humbly listen to the input of others, take it seriously, and work to improve. Again, it sounds simple, but it’s not easy. [Emphasis added]
What pap! But I did appreciate the inadvertent honesty of the bolded text above. At least Kim can admit that he has things to hide, that he was faking it a good part of the time. And how good to know that the people around him were able to see through his flimflam.
If there was one thing that members of the faculty can agree upon almost unanimously about Jim Kim, it is that he had little or no attention for anyone and anything that did not have to do with global health. Kim’s eyes would just glaze over, and the impassioned professors in question would see that their words were wasted. Yet now Kim gives us all advice on a subject that he manifestly does not understand at all.
As a larger question, how much of our public discourse is as false as the above? In the entire run-up to Kim’s selection to head the World Bank, I felt like I was reading Pravda: long articles were written that bore no relation at all to the on-the-ground truth that people in Hanover had lived for two and a half years.
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…