His name is Alex Gorsky and he fills his spare time with normal activities like running. He eats, he sleeps and he’s human, even though he’s the leader of a company with 117,900 employees. It’s easy to idolize people like Alex Gorsky who lead successful organizations like Johnson & Johnson. But anyone can be an impactful leader, whether they run a large corporation or not. Simply adopting confident thinking, embracing certain qualities and learning from role models enables professionals to transform into leaders every day. As a man who served as a captain in the US Military and is now the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Gorsky is most certainly a fitting role model for aspiring managers, leaders and executives to study.
Alex Gorsky’s Leadership Qualities
1) Mission driven
He speaks the words “credo” and “mission” frequently enough, that Gorsky should probably be cited next to their definitions in the dictionary. Interview after interview and speech after speech, Gorsky refers to the importance of following a mission. He answers an employee’s question about career development by explaining you don’t want to get thirty years down a career path and say “gosh, I’ve done something for the last thirty years I really didn’t enjoy that much.” Doing something your passionate about makes work less difficult and more enjoyable. He said “Love what you do.” The concept of being mission driven goes beyond his personal values and advice, as it is also a vital part of Johnson & Johnson work culture. He frequently refers to the company’s credo that encompasses a “do good, be well” attitude.
Leerink Swan & Co Analyst, Rick Wise, described Gorsky as “a thoughtful, capable and disciplined guy” (Bloomsberg). In an interview with Triarthlete Magazine, Gorsky mentioned that an employee introduced himself and spoke with him after the Johnson & Johnson team just completed running a triathlon. Not all CEO’s are so approachable that employees walk right up to them and start friendly conversations. Clearly the employee felt comfortable with Gorsky due to his personality. This seems to be the consensus among those who know Gorsky and even in interviews he exudes a sense of honesty, empathy that stems from emotional intelligence and approachability. This is a common trait among impactful leaders. One must first be approachable before they can be influential.
3) A Mentor
Gorsky once said “I have always believed a leader’s performance is best judged by how many individuals he or she has personally touched and developed along the way and, throughout my career, I have aspired to be that kind of leader” (HBA). And he doesn’t just talk the talk, he also walks the walk. He was recognized as HBA’s 2009 Honorable Mentor. Being recognized as Honorable Mentor stems from listening to others, teamwork, encouraging ideas and investing in the success of other people. The very root of leadership rests in this quality, as it is what delineates a leader from a tyrant. This is perhaps the most crucial of Alex Gorsky’s leadership qualities an aspiring leader must adopt.
Just recently, Johnson & Johnson reported a 36% jump in revenue. This is just one example of the great things happening for the company thanks to strong leadership, healthy work culture and committed employees.