Former President Bill Clinton gave Fortune magazine an interview as part of its first list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. (Clinton also graces the issue’s cover.) Here’s an excerpt, where he succinctly describes what leadership means to him: “bringing people together.” You can read the full interview here.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means bringing people together in pursuit of a common cause, developing a plan to achieve it, and staying with it until the goal is achieved. If the leader holds a public or private position with other defined responsibilities, leadership also requires the ability to carry out those tasks and to respond to unforeseen problems and opportunities when they arise. It is helpful to be able to clearly articulate a vision of where you want to go, develop a realistic strategy to get there, and attract talented, committed people with a wide variety of knowledge, perspectives, and skills to do what needs to be done. In the modern world, I believe lasting positive results are more likely to occur when leaders practice inclusion and cooperation rather than authoritarian unilateralism. Even those who lead the way don’t have all the answers.