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leadership lab

This column is part of Globe Careers' Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at

A 33-year career with a major corporation is a long run.

The opportunities I had to play leadership roles as president, business unit VP, marketing EVP and CMO provided me deep levels of expertise and practical experience in virtually every aspect of an organization.

With an understanding of how successful results are consistently achieved.

My career yielded these leadership learning points that, looking back, were critical to my success.

Informality breeds trust. A tight leadership style begets little organizational rhythm and as a result produces spotty results. People trust people who are real and don't act out their position in the hierarchy.

Simplicity attracts followers. It's all about having an uncomplicated story line that people get, believe in and are able to execute on.

The frontline is in control. It's where the brave idea of strategy turns into the crude deed of successful performance and results.

Ego must be muzzled. When an individual suffers a setback (and everyone does at some point) the overwhelming force that pushes them to lash out against the injustice must be subdued. Respect must be shown for the winner to earn the right to compete another day.

Language captivates. Unique words for common concepts attracts attention, interest and support. Cutting through the idea clutter is an essential act of leadership. Why say "eliminate non-strategic activities" when you can say cut the crap?

First responders earn the prize. Be the first one to offer to help in times of trouble regardless of whether it's your job or not. Success is often achieved in the face of a screw-up or when the original plan falls short of expectations. Be that person who jumps into the fray to get things back on track.

Connect the dots and unleash the passion in people. Between what the organization wants to achieve and what each person must do to deliver it. Allow employees to determine their own tactical approach and inconsistency and dysfunction will result.

If you're not focused, you're done. Limited time and resource bandwidth make focusing on the critical few tasks essential to drive ahead. Chasing "the possible many" is a great way to make zero real progress.

Imperfection drives results. Seeking perfection paralyzes an organization, as unnecessary analysis and pondering prevent taking action.

Serving humans is THE critical success factor for leadership. "Commanders" create virtually no long term value for an organization. Asking "How can I help?" to destroy barriers that prevent people from doing their job is the key to engage employees and deliver unmatched performance.

Loyalty creates sustainable leadership. Personal commitment to the organization and people around them create "leaders for life" who are loved and remembered.

Ironically, I learned none of this at school.

Roy Osing (@RoyOsing), former executive vice-president of Telus, is a blogger, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead, dedicated to helping organizations and individuals stand out from the competitive herd.