Characteristics of Great Leaders

Today started off with a bang at the SHRM Strategy Conference in Chicago with several great break-out sessions in which I’ll be writing about later one. I wanted to start off with the keynote of Bill Conaty, former VP of HR for GE.

This session was packed full of information and I won’t try to make you swallow all of it but I do want to give you a few take-aways.

In his “Lessons of Leadership” keynote, Mr. Conaty caused all of us to really see that smart leaders put people before numbers. That of course, is a line from his book “The Talent Masters.” I can’t wait to get that and start reading and I encourage you to go out and get a copy and if you can’t find the extra change to do so, at least go to your library and see if you can check it out.

Here are a few quotes from the maestro that I jotted down and thought I might share.

1. Great leaders balance passionate leadership with compassionate leadership and it takes both to be successful.

2. Great leaders develop and assess talent once they attract them which is how you are going to keep them.

3. Great leaders become problem solvers vs. problem identifiers.

4. Great leaders know that their company and personal values must be compatible.

5. Lighten up. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Go ahead, laugh a little. Even if you must laugh at yourself (okay, I added that last part)

I had the chance to interview a few of my friends IRL after the session and here’s what they had to say.

Preview of SHRM Strategy Conference – Chicago

The next few days I’ll be attending and blogging for SHRM We Know Next at the SHRM Strategy Conference downtown Chicago. I’ll be high-tailing it on the train every day (not the highlight for sure) to the city.

I really am looking forward to hearing the keynotes such as GE’s former SR. VP of HR Bill Conaty who will be opening the general session. And then Bridget van Kralingen, General Manager, IBM North America. There are also several breakout sessions I’m looking forward to hitting such as “Building a Leading People Culture: How to Create a Flexible and Inclusive Work Environment“.

And I must hit Jason Lauritsen‘s “The Power of a Plan” on Thursday. I love hearing Jason speak and I just gotta show some love!

I’m told a lot of these sessions will focus on strategic planning, engagement, future needs of the workforce and we can’t forget culture. These words seem to be buzzing all around the HR beehive.

I’m looking forward to learning, engaging with key leaders and blogging my heart out on site.

I’m also stoked about seeing my online friends again IRL, hanging out, and getting to know them better.

And most importantly, using  my new flip cam for some key interviews for the blog. So stay tuned for some (hopefully) great interviews, session take-a ways and much more.

Here are some great upcoming conferences you might want to attend from now until the end of the year:

October 24-26, 2011 – Diversity and Inclusion Conference & Exposition,  Washington, DC

November 8-10, 2011 – Work/Life Focus 2012 and Beyond, Washington, DC

If you plan on attending, be sure to hook up with me, grab a cup of coffee or some lunch, and let’s get better acquainted. Be sure to follow my tweets @susanavello and @weknownext. Be sure to follow the hashtag #shrmstrat.