The one thing I can say for certain is that successful leadership is equally dependent on the perspectives of not only what the leader does but also of that of the followers.
That being said, I will once again steal from one of my favorite shows, CBS Sunday morning. Today they did a tremendous story on Haruka Nishimatsu, the CEO of Japan Airlines (JAL). I have pasted the small excerpt of the story they did on him this morning, and I will keep checking in hopes of them posting the full video of this story.
Mr. Nishimatsu understands that he, as "the boss" he is no better than any employee and takes the successes, and more importantly, the failures of his company in the same way he asks his employees to take them. In the current state of the world economy, I can think of no better reflection of being part of a team and understanding how to build the corporate values that matter: loyalty, trust, and camaraderie.
Mr. Nishimatsu does all levels of work, takes salary cuts when his employees do, and wears suits that he buys from a discount department store. Just because he is a boss makes him no more or less immune to the same experiences, intelligence or emotions of his employees. I have been an "employee" and i have been a "boss", each is a side of the same coin. To remember to know that we are all working together, towards the same goal can make anyone act and think like a genius.
Here is the summary from CBS, and I encourage you to continue to check back on their web site (as I will be doing) in hopes that they post the full video)
ECONOMY CLASS: CEO of The People
When Detroits Big Three CEO's came to Congress begging for a bailout, they got a lecture for arriving in their private jets. There's a lot of resentment these days against executive compensation and all their perks. Does any CEO anywhere set a good example? Barry Petersen says maybe they could learn something from the boss of Japan Airlines. When Haruka Nishimatsu had to cut salaries at the world's 10th largest airline, he also cut his own, to just $90,000. He also takes the bus to work, did away with his private office, and even sorts out the newspapers for passengers on flights.