Thursday, October 14, 2010
A Leadership Style to Copy – Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox
There’s an epidemic going around. No, I’m not talking about the return of swine flu or another animal named disease. The world is suffering from the epidemic of….narcissism. Narcissism – it’s everywhere! I’m sure everyone has an acquaintance or even a friend that can be described as egotistic and arrogant. You know, these are the people with the “it’s all about me” personality. In a sense, arrogance is self-confidence on steroids.
Once news spread about her appointment, Burns received a flood of media coverage. Article after article talked about her race, gender, and her background. To receive that much attention can inflate one’s ego. However, Burns was not thrilled with the coverage. In an article with the New York Times, Burns was quoted as saying, “The accolades that I get for doing absolutely nothing are amazing – I have been named to every list, literally, since I’ve became CEO,” she said. “The real story is not Ursula Burns,” she said in the article. “I just happen to be the person standing up here at this point representing Xerox.”
Burns is known for her blunt directness in speech and actions. She isn't afraid to speak candidly about the company’s priorities and how it will grow in the future. Since she took the reigns of CEO, she hasn't backed away from showing her true self. After all, her assertiveness helped her rise through the ranks at Xerox. So why would she change her behavior now?
If you are a business leader, check the ego at the door and you might just gain the respect of your employees and other leaders.
Sources: The New York Times, The Huffington Post, CNN, Business Week