The Softer Side of Leadership – Three Responsibilities that Might Be Easy to Overlook

Amber Johnson Care for people, Culture, Ethics, Leadership

What makes an executive good? Or great?

The surface level response to that question often focuses on pleasing shareholders: keeping profits high and expenses low, moving the needle up and to the right at a steady pace. The best leaders do this, consistently, even in tough circumstances like the current economy.

But truly great executives know leadership takes more than just a generous bottom line. It requires people skills, emotional intelligence, and a clear sense of vision and trust.

Few leaders have managed this balance of exceptional financial performance coupled with emotional intelligence better than Bill Pollard, former CEO and Chairman of ServiceMaster. During his tenure at the company, ServiceMaster was consistently ranked as the number one service corporation on the Fortune 500. And Bill literally wrote the book on keeping humanity in the company.

Late last year, the Center for Values-Driven Leadership asked Bill Pollard to share some of his observations of leadership. Bill focused his thoughts around three responsibilities of a leader – and none of them have to do with the obvious balancing of the bottom line. You can view Bill’s comments in these short videos, part of our Champions of Responsible Business video series.

#1: Care for People

#2: Recognize Your Indebtedness

#3: Build a Transparent Culture

For more on videos in our Champions of Responsible Business series, visit our YouTube channel at

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