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What It Takes to Convince Jamie Dimon You're a Leader

Hope to lead a bulge-bracket bank some day? Then listen up: Jamie Dimon just set out in detail the qualities he sees as essential for a leader in a large multinational corporation like JPMorgan Chase.

Dimon's 36-page letter to JPM shareholders released with the firm's annual report devotes three pages to outlining individual and corporate-culture aspects of successful leadership.

The description begins with "Being true to oneself and avoiding self-deception ... having people to turn to for thoughtful, unbiased advice... social intelligence and 'emotional quotient,' or EQ, ...(which) can include empathy, clarity of thought, compassion and strength of character."

Here's what else a good leader, needs, according to Dimon:

Discipline - from regularly reviewing subordinates and business plans to having a strong work ethic to " making lists and doing real, detailed follow-up."

Fortitude. Leaders, says Dimon, must have "a fierce resolve to act," and drive change that can spark conflict within an organization.

High standards that embrace integrity along with performance.

Ability to face facts. That often means being the "bad guy" at management meetings, focusing on what can be improved.

Openness. Good leaders kill bureaucracy and cliques, according to Dimon. They get out in the field to avoid losing touch, and create a culture where no one holds back from telling the truth for fear of giving offense.

Loyalty, meritocracy and teamwork. Loyalty, he observes, "should be to the principles for which someone stands and to the institution. Loyalty to an individual frequently is another form of cronyism."

Fair treatment. The best leaders treat all people properly and respectfully, from clerks to CEOs, says Dimon.


Near the conclusion of the section on leadership, Dimon says:

While there are possibly innate and genetic parts of leadership (perhaps broad intelligence and natural energy), other parts are deeply embedded in the internal values of an individual; for example, work ethic, integrity, knowledge and good judgment.

AUTHORJon Jacobs Insider Comment
  • Bo
    Bonnie Chalek
    5 April 2010

    How nice - now if only they paid us interest at the bank for holding our money!

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