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Are you a GSD leader? Or a GSD boss?

I am a big fan of the No Turning Back podcast with Stanley McChrystal and Chris Fussell. I was recently listening to their interview with Ruba Borno, a senior VP at Cisco. She shared a story of when she was first hired as the Chief of Staff to the CEO. She asked him what he expected of her and what her role was. He said he wasn’t completely sure but she had a reputation as someone who “got shit done” and they needed that.

That got me thinking about people in leadership positions who are noted as GSD (Get Shit Done) people. It struck me that GSD people in leadership positions fall into two categories:

    1. GSD Leaders (like Ruba).
    2. GSD Bosses

What is the difference?

GSD Leaders get shit done through:

    • Inspiration
    • Human Connection
    • Relationships
    • Making their people the #1 priority
    • Ensuring the team is clear on the vision and mission
    • Listen like every sentence matters.
    • Talk like every word counts.
    • Act like every interaction is important.

GSD Bosses get shit done though:

    • Intimidation
    • Coercion
    • Threats
    • Fear
    • Power
    • Manipulation

GSD Leaders build great cultures and build future leaders. GSD Bosses leave a wake of destruction and broken people and sadly build some future Bosses.

Being in a formal leadership position does not make you a leader. Unfortunately, too many organizations still confuse rank, position and title with leadership and refer to everyone in a formal leadership position in their organization as leaders. Some are. Some are not.

It is good to be known as someone who “gets shit done” as long as you are a GSD Leader and not a GSD Boss.

Remember that leadership is a choice and a journey and it starts with you. Choose well, keep learning and enjoy the journey.

Brian Willis

Register yourself, and your team for the Dare to Be Great: Strategies for Creating a Culture of Leading online workshop to get everyone on the same page regarding leadership and culture. If you are interested in hosting a live Dare to Be Great workshop reach out to me at