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Yash Gupta
Business School Dean

Yash Gupta

Yash Gupta is Professor and Dean of The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

An Urgent Goal

Go back into our own nation's history and look at Lincoln's "team of rivals." Why were all those men of different views able to work together? Because the country was in great danger. We were in a civil war. Those men understood they had to put aside their individual differences and work for the general good -- keeping the Union together. Leaders always understand that people can disagree on specific policy issues but must always look for common ground.

We know this approach can work, because it helped the nation endure a civil war. Can it work in Israel? It has before. Israel has formed coalitions in the past that have made progress. It can work if the people involved want it to work. Leadership is not about position or title. It's about the ability to lead people, not simply those who work under you but also those who hold similar positions of authority, as would be the case in a coalition government. It's not about who holds the title of leader but who provides the leadership.

Leaders must be able to envision and articulate a single goal, and that shouldn't be difficult in this case. The officials in Israel and the Palestinian territories have to recognize the urgency of the situation in their region. There's great human suffering in Gaza. The poverty's immense in that part of the world. Terrorism is always a threat. The peace and security of individuals are at risk. So, the need to unite for a solution far outweighs the need for any person to put forth his or her individual policy.

Look at our government leaders and their efforts to tackle the recession. They don't all think alike, but they see the need to compromise on personal goals in order to reach a solution. This approach applies in any context, whether you're talking about business or politics or some other walk of life. Great leaders find a way to accommodate all. They find the common ground and bring people to it.

By Yash Gupta

 |  February 23, 2009; 10:08 AM ET
Category:  Followership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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