Qualities of a Leader

Uncategorized Posted Apr 11, 2012 by chenpr

Last night I attended an event hosted by the Boston Bates Business Network—my first event as a Bates College Alum—that offered a conversation with Paul Sagan.

Paul Sagan, for those outside the tech world, is the CEO of Akamai, whose website proudly states, “If you’ve ever shopped online, downloaded music, watched a web video or connected to work remotely, you’ve probably used Akamai’s cloud platform.”

A successful company that survives the high demands of consumers and businesses amidst today’s economic landscape and stock market plunges must have a lot working in their favor: a smart group of workers who know how to navigate the ups and downs of business, a strong product so the technology does not falter when it is pushed to its limits, and a knowledgeable leader who understands that personally exemplifying the company’s values will solidify the company’s values. And Paul Sagan has plenty of evidence in his billion dollar company to prove Akamai has all of the above.

Paul spoke extensively about the importance of leadership in a company. Through examples and personal anecdotes about Akamai’s early days, he gave what he believed to be the most crucial focus points when leading a company:

  • The leader or leaders must always put company and team success above personal success. He noted that it is almost a rule that those who strive to achieve personal success over company success end up with neither.
  • The leader or leaders of a company must show integrity, and even a level of transparency. He explains that some of Akamai’s oldest customers are ones who, at one point, had to receive a phone call that said, “We apologize, but Akamai has made a mistake.” In the end, they are more appreciative of this honesty, and willing to give them a second chance.
  • The leader or leaders should strive to make the work of its employees easier. Paul noted that personally, he foregoes micromanaging. He understands that may not be everyone’s style, but he believes it has helped him, overall, be a better CEO for his employees to look to.

Think about some of the most successful companies you know or have been a part of. Did the leaders of those companies meet the criteria above? What do you think are the most crucial attributes to successfully lead a company?

Post by CHEN PR’s Jennifer Krupski