Leadership from the Boardroom to the Classroom
Jeffrey Shames, SM '83, Executive in Residence, MIT Leadership Center ; Former Chairman, MFS Investments
Description: There is no single style of successful leadership, says Jeffrey Shames, but in fact lots of good ways to approach the job. The key is understanding what type of leader you are. Shames cites six categories of leader described by Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: the coercive leader ('my way or the highway'); democratic leader ('what do you think?'); the visionary; pacesetter; coach; and happy workplace shaper. Shames counts himself in the final category. He fell into management after being named the head of investment at an "old Boston Brahmin firm" at the callow age of 32. He had never managed anyone before, and was suddenly responsible for 100 people older than himself and for an area of the organization that generated 90% of its revenues. But, he says, "Most CEOs will tell you they learned the most when thrown into a situation they were unqualified for," and it was true for Shames. He led the company from $100 million in revenues to $1.2 billion, and transformed MFS Investments into one of Fortune Magazine's top 100 companies to work for. His advice to newly minted MBAs: lose your "negativity bias" and "spread confidence in an organization -- communicate that people can accomplish anything."
About the Speaker(s): Shames joined MFS in 1983 as an industry analyst and was named a portfolio manager in 1985, Chief Equity Officer in 1987, President and a member of the board in 1993, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1998. In September 2002, he retired as CEO and retained the title of Chairman until his retirement in February 2004. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1977 and the MIT Sloan School in 1983. In between college and graduate school, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Fiji and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Berklee College of Music, the Board of Trustees of City Year, and a trustee of Hurricane Voices, a breast cancer foundation.
Host(s): Sloan School of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management
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