Archives For James F. Bender

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)

The Leader as Hero.

Here was a leader who was busy, but not too busy to invest some real interest in a personal problem of one of his men. He could have called him in, patted him on the back, and said, “Buck up, old man, or else”, and let it go at that. But being wise, he practiced intelligent kindness. He directed his sympathy to a solution. That is why perhaps, he is such a successful leader in the business community. Like Henry Kaiser, he believes that “men’s hearts must be right: before they can give their best. The good executive practices one of the basic principles of good human relations—intelligent kindness. He accents intelligence in dealing with others.

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

Your Personality Is a Triangle

Let’s compare the leader’s personality to an isosceles triangle. One side is the body: bones, flesh, blood, nerves, glands, posture—all things that make up physique and appearance. In other words, the physical “I”.

Another side of the triangle is the mind with its complicated processes of memorizing, reasoning, spelling, comprehension, and many others. The third side is temperament, including moods and emotions, and also attitudes.

All three sides are, of course, interdependent. Every time you speak, all three get busy. For example, when you say the simple word “well,” you move parts of your body; you use your mind; you reveal a mood. For the human voice never lacks feeling; neither does a gesture nor a posture.

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

Eight Guide Posts to Courtesy

I like to think of eight building blocks of courtesy for leaders:

C stands for the courage to be kind when things go wrong.

O stands for the other fellow’s point of view, to keep in mind.

U stands for urgency to say and do pleasant things.

R stands for rules of conduct that make us pleasant to be with.

T stands for temper, to be held in check.

E stands for everyone, to be treated politely.

S stands for sincerity—of smile, handclasp, word, that help so much.

Y stands for you (and me) whose duty is to deal with others as we wish to be dealy with.

Courtesy is only one of more than 17,000 traits of temperament. At least you can count that many trait names in Webster’s New International Dictionary. Of course many of them overlap; for example, cheerfulness and lightheartedness. When you try to differentiate some of them you get lost in the mists of semantics.

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

Leaders develop certain habits of thinking to an extraordinary extent. Let’s turn to these specific kinds of thinking or habits of mind. We find that leaders are strong on five main points: word power, information, memory, the ability to make sound decisions, and the habit of reading widely. You can cultivate these strong points.

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

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)