Jay Conger, Prolific Writer, Educator & Leadership Guru

Spend five minutes with Jay and you know—he is one of those rare leaders who effortlessly embodies paradox. He is the professor and the practitioner. He is the expert and the student. He is the visionary and the pragmatist. Jay serves as the Henry R. Kravis Research Chair in Leadership Studies at Claremont McKenna College and is a visiting professor at London Business School. With numerous books and more than 100 scholarly articles under his belt, he’s recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts on leadership. Yet, in describing his work, he talks about himself as a student of leadership. No esoteric, Jay’s advice is grounded in a keen sense of reality: He knows from experience what it takes to actually make something happen in large, complex organizations.

June 2015

Most of all, though, sitting with Jay you’re reminded of the joy that comes from doing what you love. He emanates positivity that stems from a simple, but profound belief: “We are all well-equipped.” In this context, leaders’ job is to help people see, express and channel their inherent gifts. It’s that spark of insight that creates and sustains momentum behind your strategy.

How You Show Up as a Leader (3:53)
Your energy is contagious. You will either fuel or kill momentum in how you show up.
Not Everyone is Meant to be a Leader (4:04)
Not everyone wants to lead. Not everyone is meant to.
On Corporate Vision (3:42)
Having a vision is not enough. To lead, you must communicate it in a way that inspires action.
On Letting Go of Insecurities (3:31)
I'm always reminded of a Chinese philosopher named Lao Tzu, here is the famous quote, and I'm just gonna paraphrase it, The evil leader is the one who forces you to do everything. The good leader is the one we say thank goodness we had him or her cause without her we wouldn't be where we are today. But the exceptional leader is the one who we say, we did it ourselves.
On Your Influence as a Leader (3:39)
Well if you think about it our gift as creatures on the planet is that we have the most sophisticated verbal skills of any other creature. We are endowed with that gift. Yet we forget it every day. We actually don't use that gift. I guess what we've learned is that we have analytic tools. And they're important you know, I'm not gonna throw them out. But we've come to rely so heavily on those analytic tools we aren't using our communication tools.
The Best Leaders are Catalytic Learners (3:34)
It’s very important as a leader to have a very powerful learning capacity and when we were doing a study of high potentials, these are individuals who over their career continued to adapt and learn and went on to very successful leadership roles.
On the difference between leading and managing (3:39)
You look at managing actually as looking at a short-term focus, annual focus and that's really about doing things efficiently or more incrementally. So how do we take product A and make product A+. Leadership on the goal side is saying product A is great we live on product A today.