Leadership in the Compliance Department

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One of the dynamic tensions in any corporate Compliance, or Legal, Department is when to lead by fiat and when to lead by consensus. I was reminded about that dichotomy when reading a recent article in the New York Times (NYT) Corner Office section, entitled “Before the Meeting Adjourns, Tell What You’ll Do Next”. In an interview by Adam Bryant with Bill Flemming, President of Skanska USA Building Inc., said that the former is “not leadership; that’s a boss.” Flemming used a quote from Russell Ewing to capture some of his thoughts on the difference: “A boss creates fear; a leader, confidence. A boss fixes blame; a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all; a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery; a leader makes it interesting. A boss is interested in himself or herself; a leader is interested in the group.”

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