5 Leadership Lessons from Bob Iger

Bob Iger’s memoir covering his career and focusing on his fifteen years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company during a transformative time is excellent. Iger shared principles we can all learn from, regardless of whether we’re in a leadership role or not.

Bob Iger

Bob Iger’s Principles

  • Have Guiding Principles: stuff happens and having a set of principles to “nurture the good and manage the bad” are important. Iger shared his.
    • Optimism: no one wants to follow a pessimist. Don’t sugarcoat things, but be enthusiastic about what can be achieved and believe in yourself and others. Sharing your stress and pessimism drains morale, limits creativity, and causes defensiveness.
    • Courage: have the courage to take necessary risks and innovate.
    • Focus: spend time only on the most important things and clearly communicate your priorities.
    • Decisiveness: decisions need to be timely. Know when to seek input and when to decide.
    • Curiosity: curiosity leads to innovation.
    • Fairness: treat people well, be empathetic, and avoid a culture of fear.
    • Thoughtfulness: develop informed opinions to make strong decisions. Spend time learning and carve out calendar space for thinking about problems away from the constant email/text/phone grind.
    • Authenticity
    • The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection: don’t tolerate mediocrity when things can be made better.
    • Integrity
  • Strategic Priorities: identify your priorities and limit yourself to three, otherwise they are not priorities. Communicate those priorities clearly and often to foster morale and eliminate uncertainty.
  • Humility: Iger talked a lot about the role of luck in his career, which we should all be more comfortable acknowledging, and reminds leaders to never take credit.
  • Time Management: manage your own time well and respect other people’s schedules. Leaders need to spend time with their people.
  • Surround Yourself with the Right People: surrounding yourself with the right people is essential for all of us. Leaders need to take this one step further by making sure they are finding good people who are good at their job. Talent is key.

Suggested Further Reading

Revisiting The Last Dance – Scottie Pippen is clapping back at Michael Jordan’s view of events in The Last Dance. What does this and the friction in other great franchises teach us about leadership and investing?