5 Things Every Modern Leader Should Know

By Karen Kaplan.

Karen Kaplan is chief executive officer at Hill Holiday, the 14th largest advertising agency in the U.S. She spoke at graduation for the College of Professional Studies in 2013.

We’ve all studied great leaders through the years. Nelson Mandela. Gandhi. Napoleon. But what qualities are necessary for leaders in the world today? 

Just ask Karen Kaplan.

Kaplan is CEO of Hill Holliday, the 14th largest advertising agency in the country. Kaplan, who was hired at the company as a receptionist in 1982 is now recognized as a true leader and one of the most influential women in advertising. 

Kaplan spoke at Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies commencement in 2013 to pose the question, “What makes a modern leader?” Here are her top five tips.

1. Stay true

A modern leader’s values are the filter through which they view decisions and determine the right action to take, whether in business or in their personal lives.

2. Find the best ideas 

Modern leaders invest time in consultation. They pull together those who will be affected by a decision and those who will have to implement the solution. The goal isn’t to get their own ideas adopted; it’s to get the best ideas. 

3. Foster collaboration and inclusion

They build productive relationships and encourage everyone to contribute to discussions. And they focus on synthesizing all ideas into a common solution that is stronger and more creative than the solution any one individual might develop.

4. Create shared goals 

They help employees understand how each can contribute to the success of the company.

5. Generate trust 

Modern leaders get to know their employees. They see potential in the people they work with and help them develop that potential.