Ginni Rometty – former IBM CEO – on how to lead with respect and compassion

What does it take to be a great leader? Is it all about profit and personal glory? Not according to Ginni Rometty, former IBM CEO and one of the world’s most respected leaders.


In her recently published book – Good Power – Rometty champions hard work, respect, and compassion as key attributes of successful leaders. Detailing the valuable leadership lessons she learned on her ascent up the corporate ladder, the book educates and inspires readers about how they too can drive positive, meaningful change.


Interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Rometty shares a number of pointers on the subject.

Learn from those around you about how to lead as well as how not to lead. Rometty’s first boss at IBM showed her the importance of being respectful, kind, and clear about your expectations. Other managers taught her the value of asking questions, listening to learn, and helping employees develop their careers.

Claiming that “…growth and comfort don’t coexist,” Rometty points to the importance of operating outside your comfort zone. She says hard graft is the best way to power through your insecurities and worries and move up the corporate ladder.

Rometty names the ability to question the status quo – and have the courage to act on your convictions – as vital. She demonstrated this attribute when she decided to expand the company’s pool of tech talent by hiring for skills rather than qualifications and experience. At the time, this was an untested, risky approach. Now, following its huge success, skilled-based recruiting has become somewhat of a norm.

–  Rometty insists that business leaders should not be in it for the glory. They need to make hard choices, the positive impact of which may only be felt by their successors. “When you are stewarding a company, you need to come to terms with the fact that many of your decisions will benefit the future, not you,” she says.


Food for thought? We hope so! What other personal attributes, strengths, and skills do you look for in your business leaders? Please let us know. And, if you’re currently recruiting, we’ll fast-track your search, quickly and cost-effectively delivering talented, best-fit candidates. Please email us today at or call us at 020 7092 3911 to brainstorm the options!