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Why We Trust Warren Buffett: Leadership Matters

"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.
Leadership Development Specialist, L. Todd Thomas ("Dr. Todd" Ph.D., M.S., M.A. is Founder of IMPACT Consulting and Development and a Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Devos Graduate School of Management. He led Organizational Learning at Rockwell Avionics and was the executive responsible for Organizational and Executive Development at Daimler Financial Services for 10 years. Dr. Todd has coached and consulted with over 3,000 leaders from 40 different countries spanning four continents. He is a speaker, seminar leader and the author of "Leading in a Flat World: How Good Leaders Become Greatly Valued." Other titles include "Life Lessons for Leaders" and "Stop Wasting Your Time: Creating High-IMPACT Meetings" as well as the "Leadership Integrity Quotient(TM)" leadership assessment.
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