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Was Osama bin Laden a Bold Leader?

Date: May 24 2011

Salt Lake City, 24 May 2011— With the recent end of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden’s life, so ends his direct influence on his network of followers and his orchestration of large-scale events. Although his acts were terrible and unjust, it’s hard to dispute the fact that he was bold.

“The boldness of a leader has a huge impact on their success,” said
Joe Folkman, CEO and co-founder of Zenger Folkman. “Incidentally, some of history’s most effective leaders have also committed incredibly evil acts.”

In a recent study of over 27,000 leaders, experts at leadership development firm
Zenger Folkman pinpointed the traits that define bold leaders and studied the
effects of bold leadership in organizational success. The results show thatbold leaders’ teams have three times as many sales as other teams, and that individual members are more confident.

With the obvious importance of bold leadership, it’s important for leaders to identify crucial traits in order to develop them. The study identified six behaviors that clearly define bold leadership:
-       Providing clear strategy and direction
-       Driving for results
-       Inspiring and motivating others
-       Keeping focus on the customer
-       Quickly seeing problems and then innovating or changing
-       Increasing collaboration

“As leaders look through this list of capabilities, many may wonder how they stack up,” Folkman said. “Because self evaluation of capabilities is often inaccurate, leaders must get feedback from others to identify the characteristics they can improve that will have the greatest impact on their professional development.”
One of the most important results of bold leadership is the confidence it instills in team members. The study shows that bold leaders know how to inspire confidence; in fact, leaders at the 90th percentile had over 68 percent of their team classified as highly confident.

“Bold leadership is contagious,” Folkman said. “The strengths of the best leaders naturally trickle down to all those in their organizations, which leads to incredible success.”

As one of the nation’s top leadership development firms as ranked by Leadership Excellence and, Zenger Folkman employs evidence-based methods that improve organizations and the people within them.
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