Our search for great companies has us constantly seeking out great leaders. We got an extra treat on that quest when Rajeev Peshawaria, author of the book Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders, visited Fool HQ. I spoke with Peshawaria about the differences between bosses and leaders -- and he identified seven traits of extraordinary leaders.
1. Find the energy to create a better future
David and Tom Gardner both love to find companies run by people who are leading the world forward. And there can be no doubt that leaders such as Amazon.com's
2. Be clear about your purpose at all times
Great leaders tend to be great communicators, and we have no problem knowing where they want to go. Few are better at getting their message across than Ford's
3. Lead with values
I'm looking past all the companies in our Foolish universe to pull directly from our day-to-day experiences here at Fool HQ: Be collaborative, innovative, fun, honest, competitive, and motley. These are the core values we live each and every day here at The Motley Fool, and our CEO and co-founder Tom Gardner never fails to keep the light shining for us.
4. Know how to manage grief and learn from failure
5. Forgive and move on
Forgiveness can be a tough one; after all, only the forgiver really knows. And moving on is easier said than done. But living in the past is a major hurdle that can prevent great leaps forward. When well-known investor Whitney Tilson penned a very long and very public article calling out the number of reasons his firm was short Netflix
6. Be willing to recruit co-leaders and share authority and responsibility
This is perhaps what Berkshire Hathaway's
7. Successfully move from "I" to "we" thinking, and create conditions to maximize collective success
More than a list
Beyond the seven traits Peshawaria identifies, here are three essential principles for leaders to be truly extraordinary:
- First, they need to be in it for the long haul regardless of what challenges may arise.
- Second, leadership is a team sport more than ever before, and great leaders need to be able to compile and effectively use the wisdom of their teams.
- Finally, great leaders must be able to energize their teams and inspire them to achieve.
At The Motley Fool, we think great leaders offer companies -- and investors -- a genuine competitive advantage that can't be replicated. It's extremely difficult to find leaders with all seven traits and three principles; we know that. But we can use these criteria as a checklist and a guide as we continue to identify the market's best stocks.