"There should be more downside to the head of any institution that has to go to the federal government to be saved for reasons of the greater society," he said last week at Columbia University. He managed the risk at Berkshire in a way that avoided any need for government bailout, which gives him a bit of moral high ground for such an assessment.
I am not suggesting that we can all invest like Warren Buffett. If nothing else, none of us would be able to get the same terms he gets with the massive amount of leverage that he brings. Nor is he perfect.
As Buffett himself stated in his March letter to shareholders, "(In 2008,) I did some dumb things in investments." But it is that sort of candor that makes Buffett a unique and respected leader.
When he screws up, he says so. When he wins, he says so as well, and he wins the same way over and over again. This is the leadership lesson of Warren Buffett. Have patience, have integrity and be willing to admit your weaknesses. You don't have to have a $150 billion company to manage that.-- Written by Todd Thomas in Southfield, Mich.