I Was Impossible, But Then I Saw How to Lead

Recently, Ruth J. Simmons, president of Brown University, was interviewed by Adam Bryant of the New York Times. She talks about her experiences and lessons learned about becoming a leader in the academic world, as well as the struggles that she faced as an African-American woman.

Q.But at some point, particularly when you became a manager, you realized you couldn’t be so impossible.

A. It was living, frankly. And the experience of understanding that the ways in which I was trying to solve problems and to interact with people were getting in the way of achieving what I want. And that’s what did it for me. Ultimately, I came to understand that I could achieve far more if I worked amiably with people, if I supported others’ goals, if I didn’t try to embarrass people by pointing out their deficiencies in a very public way. So I think it was really experience that did it more than anything else.

To read the rest of the interview, click HERE.


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