CEOs are often sought after for their insight on innovation and strategy, but business speaker Adam Bryant took a different approach when he interviewed over 200 leaders of the world's top companies. In his breakaway “Corner Office” column in The New York Times—and his book of the same name—Bryant analyzes what that the heads of these massive companies are doing 24/7: leading, managing, building a team, fostering a high performance culture, and creating a mission statement. As our newest exclusive speaker on business and leadership, Bryant shares the lessons he's learned from two decades of journalism experience.
“What I really tried to do is understand what is it about these people that explains why they kept being promoted to the corner office,” he says in a recent interview. “Not so much 'what's your secret to success' but really trying to understand why they kept getting promoted.” Bryant's ability to translate these lessons into his Pulitzer Prize winning journalism and engaging talks makes him an in-demand speaker for people in any industry who are looking to sharpen their leadership skills.
For example, here are the five key leadership qualities that Bryant has uncovered from his plethora of in-depth research:
1. Passionate Curiosity: The top leaders had a deep connection with the world and a curious mind that was always seeking to understand how things work and how we can do things better.
2. Battle-Hardened Confidence: They all possessed a track-record of facing down adversity, and a natural confidence and assuredness in their capabilities.
3. Team Smarts: This is what Bryant refers to as the “organizational equivalent of street smarts.” Effective leaders have a good sense of how to connect with their team, bring people together, and produce results.
4. Simple Mindset: They all had the ability to distill a great deal of information into the few key points that are relevant to the organization or project at hand. Breaking down goals into a few straightforward points makes it easier for a team to focus.
5. Fearlessness: Having “a bias toward action,” Bryant says. This doesn't mean being reckless. Rather, it refers to the ability to take risks and know when something needs to be turned on its head in order to function better.