Both were brilliant. Both were driven. Both were well-connected in their profession. And both could be very charming and charismatic. But at that point, they separated in a key way.
“Every great institution is the lengthened shadow of a single man. His character determines the character of the organization.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Character is destiny.” —Heraclitus
Plenty of effective, powerful and wealthy bosses and managers have treated the little people with indifference at best and contempt at worst. If Heraclitus was right that character is destiny, we have to admit that the arc of destiny can be insufferably long. But if you believe there’s a difference between being an effective boss and being a good leader of a good organization, the human element needs to rise to the top.
Now let’s clean up Emerson’s 19th century quote a little for 21st century eyes and ears. An organization is the lengthened shadow of a woman or man, or a group of senior women and men. The more years they’ve been in charge, the more completely the institution becomes their lengthened shadow.
That means that, unless your senior managers are brand new, the manner in which they treat the janitor has become a part of the DNA of your organization.
Read the complete article at Forbes.com.