Kenneth Chenault on Leadership / by Derek Devine

Kenneth Chenault was CEO and Chairman at American Express from 2001 – Feb 2018. Kenneth was CEO for over 16 years and was with the company for over 36 years. I have been following him throughout the years and extremely fond of his leadership ability.  He's straight-forward, engaging, speaks from years of experiences, and has great leadership principles that I practice. Below are the 6 characteristics Kenneth shared that great leaders exhibit. 

  1.   Integrity: Consistency in behavior, actions, and words  

  2.   Courage: Speak-up and give your view. Show that you take things personally  

  3.   Team-Player: Be independent, but STILL a team player  

  4.   Strong Execution Skills: You have to perform and EXECUTE 

  5.   Interested in Developing Others: Do you help develop your peers. Your success depends on your team. 

  6.   Adaptable: Be flexible of solving problems in different ways. The strongest and smartest species don't survive, the ones who adaptive do. 

I can't stress how important these characteristics are, especially #1 & #6. 

Kenneth Chenault Quotes: 

  • On Leadership: "Define reality and give hope” 
  • On Diversity: "When you hire people that are different, you tend to see more people that are different at your company" 
  • On Communication: “Tell people the truth, and don’t talk down to people” 
  • On Building a Good Brand: "Brands are about bringing an emotional and rational connection together"  
  • On Feedback: "Internal and external feedback are important. For external feedback I ask people, ‘What do you think we’re doing wrong?' to get other perspectives" 
  • On Personal Growth: “You are your personal brand” 

Sources: 1234