Leaders Who Create LeadersBy
During my career, I’ve been lucky to have bosses with good—even great—leadership skills. And at Cummins, I’ve had two bosses who definitely have shaped my career trajectory and helped mold my leadership style.
The first is Dan Weaver, who was my boss’s boss when I was hired for my first professional role as a cost analyst. About a year and a half later, Dan promoted me to the Southern Indiana fixed asset manager, where he became my direct boss.
In addition to being a great boss on a daily basis, Dan also supported me during a particularly challenging time, when I had to make the difficult decision to move work to Nashville, Tenn., earlier than planned. That change required the elimination of two positions on my fixed asset team, and it was a source of much pain for both the employees and me. Because of his confidence in me, Dan allowed me to lead the entire transition. Thanks to Dan’s support, I was able to resolve some of the key personnel challenges involved in the move, and the result was a transition that was considered the smoothest of the shared services transitions.
I’ve also been influenced by John Hurless, who became my boss when I was finance manager at our Seymour Engine Plant from 2003 to 2005. Early in our time working together, John and I had a very open and honest conversation. With his typically calm demeanor, John told me it was important to keep your pride in check when you enjoy success. I realized I hadn’t always abided by that advice, so after that conversation I worked on monitoring my behavior. John was also the person who encouraged me to pursue a Six Sigma Black Belt position, which grew to become one of my most challenging and rewarding roles at Cummins.
For me, a good boss is someone who makes you want to do more than you ever thought you could—and someone who gives you a job to do and leaves you to it. Not everyone feels the same way, of course. Some people work better under step-by-step supervision, for example. Each of us has a different perspective and opinion on what makes a great boss and the attributes such a boss needs to have to bring out the best performance from his or her employees.
The IMA® Leadership Academy is an excellent resource for growing your leadership skills. It’s a free benefit for all IMA members, so I encourage you to take advantage of it. You can also reach out to a local IMA chapter or council and ask to serve on their board of directors or in another volunteer position. This will allow you to hone your leadership skills in an encouraging and safe environment. What’s your perspective on a good leader? I’d like to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.