Archives For James F. Bender

Dr. Daniel Starch asked 150 outstanding business leaders to list the traits they believed were responsible for their remarkable success. They put ability to think near the top. But hold on: everybody thinks—men, women, children, geniuses, the man in the street—followers, as well as leaders. Thinking is to a brain as breathing is to a lung. Neither is ever inactive, not even in sleep. You don’t teach a brain to think; it already does it, naturally.

Of course we don’t always think (or breathe) as well as we might.

~ James F. Bender, The Technique of Executive Leadership

Ten Commandments for the Leader

  1. Never criticize anyone before others.
  2. Put spoken directions I the form of attractive questions whenever possible.
  3. Train your facial muscles to respond in sympathy to those who speak with you.
  4. Avoid tense, military postures: let your relaxation be contagious, particularly when you chat with subordinates.
  5. Say to yourself many times a day: “I love people; want to see them happy and successful.”
  6. Remember the days when you were on the way up from the bottom rungs of the ladder, and the problems you faced then.
  7. Keep in close touch with your followers and their welfare – on and off the job.
  8. Be available; don’t hide behind your secretary’s skirts.
  9. Stand in the other fellow’s shoes; imagine him in your place.
  10. Ask for guidance and growth and the capacity to understand yourself and others.

Yes, the wish to understand yourself and to understand others – the first leads to the second. You may say, isn’t this the mental side of the isosceles triangle? Of course, understanding depends on thinking as well as temperament. We can agree to call it an attitude more than anything else.

~ James F. Bender, The Technique of Executive Leadership (1950)

Leaders read for relaxation. They read for general information. Above all else, they read a lot in the field of their work. If, for example, you are the head of a shoe store chain, or if you aspire to become the head, you must read about hides, lasts, new tanning methods, merchandising, house publications, management-labor problems and developments, government reports, tariff scales, foreign trade, window dressing and decoration, real estate management, sales training, personnel selection, cost control, and hundreds of other subjects—short of cabbages and kings. For you as the leader of such a vast enterprise must keep your fingers on the pulse of all departments and keep up with the information they depend on. Competition is too keen to let you enjoy the bliss of ignorance.

~ James F. Bender, The Technique of Executive Leadership (1950)

The speech inspiration leans heavily on sincere convictions. For unless the speaker feels deeply about his subject, how can he move his audience? So, if you have developed a philosophy of living; if your beliefs means a great deal to you and you can be proud of them; if you take joy in sharing your credo publicly—or feel impelled to do so—you probably have that conviction. It provides the tinder to set you and your audience in a glow or perhaps a conflagration.

~ James F. Bender, The Technique of Executive Leadership (1950)

The world desperately needs champions; the world desperately needs leaders—more leadership. Only you and the thousands like you can supply this. Hard work, intelligence, sincerity of purpose, and the continuance of your own personal improvement as long as you live—these and these alone will provide leadership. No one else can do it. It is yours, and you yourself control your own destiny.

~ James F. Bender, The Technique of Executive Leadership (1950)

Can you stir an audience? Persuade them to go your way? If you can, you have a heavy responsibility. For your ability to play upon human emotions must be directed toward worthy goals, to justify the good meaning of leadership. You will use your eloquence, therefore, only in a positive and never in a negative way. You will urge your followers to work in harmony—to think more often about things of the spirit—to be more thoughtful of others—to make the most of their abilities.

On the other hand, if you do not possess the power to sway an audience, you will want to work hard to become a persuasive speaker. For the higher you go, the more often you will be called upon to make formal speeches, especially speeches of inspiration. Indeed, in the world of work, the inspirational type of speech is expected of the leader. He finds it a useful way to crystallize the thinking of his group. He discovers that inspiration moves men in the way they should go.

~ James F. Bender, The Technique of Executive Leadership (1950)

Occasionally you meet a business leader—he is ordinarily insecure emotionally—who falls into the habit of saying unkind things about one subordinate to another subordinate. It’s hard on morale, or course, because you never know when such a chief may say something about you in your absence. The point here is that the loyalties the leader practices or fails to practice are under steady surveillance. The wise leader therefore makes them worthy of imitation. The prompt leader, the neat leader, the persevering leader, the leader who keeps his promises and does his best to be just, practices the kind of loyalties he may expect his followers to practice also. This idea us to see the truth in the old adage that “An institution is but the lengthened shadow of its leader.”

~ James F. Bender, The Technique of Executive Leadership (1950)

The small man flies into a rage over the slightest criticism, but the wise man is eager to learn from those who have censured him and reproved him and “disputed the passage with him.” Walt Whitman put it this way: “Have you learned lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who rejected you, and braced themselves against you, or disputed the passage with you?”

~ James F. Bender, The Technique of Executive Leadership (1950)

Great Expectations Are Justified.

Did you know that impatient workers have wavering leaders—supervisors who hem and haw? Study employees who don’t persevere on the job and you soon find the bottom cause: too many unnecessary checks on them. Or review the history of firms hiring secretaries on an opportunistic basis; firms that pay this one five dollars more per week than that one for the same work and length of service. You uncover much justifiable resentment. Instances like these all reflect leader’s attitudes and policies.

~ James F. Bender, The Technique of Executive Leadership (1950)

Ten Commandments for the Leader.

  1. Never criticize anyone before others.
  2. Put spoken directions I the form of attractive questions whenever possible.
  3. Train your facial muscles to respond in sympathy to those who speak with you.
  4. Avoid tense, military postures: let your relaxation be contagious, particularly when you chat with subordinates.
  5. Say to yourself many times a day: “I love people; want to see them happy and successful.”
  6. Remember the days when you were on the way up from the bottom rungs of the ladder, and the problems you faced then.
  7. Keep in close touch with your followers and their welfare – on and off the job.
  8. Be available; don’t hide behind your secretary’s skirts.
  9. Stand in the other fellow’s shoes; imagine him in your place.
  10. Ask for guidance and growth and the capacity to understand yourself and others.

Yes, the wish to understand yourself and to understand others – the first leads to the second. You may say, isn’t this the mental side of the isosceles triangle? Of course, understanding depends on thinking as well as temperament. We can agree to call it an attitude more than anything else.

~ James F. Bender, The Technique of Executive Leadership (1950)