These Leadership Qualities Improve Operations

David GoldsmithDavid Goldsmith

What do pragmatic leaders have in common? David Goldsmith, co-founder and president of New York- and Hong Kong-based Gold- smith Organization, addressed this question during the presentation “Five Common Traits of Pragmatic Leaders” on Tuesday. 

Goldsmith, formerly a 12-year professor at New York University, outlined how to identify specific winning behaviors and apply them to positively influence one’s operation.

Pragmatic leaders are optimists, he explained. They believe they can do something and that the future will be better — they look forward to it. He said most people spend time in the past and present while pragmatic leaders are future-oriented.

“Many conversations are past-oriented, but people who are builders, growers, developers are those who live in the future,” he said. “Forward-looking people question what will happen later on; they anticipate the future to make better decisions.”

Second on Goldsmith’s list is structure. Pragmatic leaders are structured, and he noted that systems and structures operations make up 80 percent of an organization, while people make up 20 percent.

“Systems and structures define the culture of a company as well as its future,” he said. “Pragmatic leaders build systems and structures that allow them to be great. From hiring the right people to overseeing your operation’s sales focus, the leader’s role is to build systems and structures to empower employees.”

Innovation is also an important characteristic of a pragmatic leader, according to Goldsmith. He said group heads must spend time being creative before asking their employees to do so.

“Being innovative starts with you,” he declared. “How can your employees be innovative if you are not?”

Great leaders are also hunters and look at opportunity differently, Goldsmith explained. They question how to change their dynamics to better prepare for the future, he said.

Finally, pragmatic leaders are thinkers and planners. Radio can be exciting, but if we don’t believe this, how can others? “Radio has tremendous room for growth. If you aren’t willing to say that you need to grow and learn, then nobody else will. You can’t plan and think if you have that type of mentality.”

Goldsmith concluded his presentation by telling the audience: “Life does not give As for effort; it gives As for results.” He stressed the importance of continuously improving oneself, learning and growing from other experiences, other places. “When was the last time you traveled to Bangladesh, India, Switzerland or Denmark so you can bring back new ideas, learn the humility of learning and at the same time change the way in which you do business?” he asked the audience.