Legendary CEO Jack Welch shares his best advice for a successful career

Business icon Jack Welch: This is the secret to a successful career

Legendary GE CEO Jack Welch is considered a modern management genius.

His dynamic and candid leadership style during his years at the helm of GE has served as a model for aspiring leaders throughout the business world. Today, he is executive chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute, ranked by Princeton Review as one of the Top 25 online MBA programs in 2019.

Welch has stopped by CNBC multiple times over the years, and we rounded up his best career advice for anyone looking to get the most out of their job:


When your boss asks you to do something, it's not enough to just hit the minimum requirement. "Always do more than you're asked for. Don't just do the homework assignment — do more," Welch says.

Consistently overdelivering on your assignments demonstrates that you go the extra mile and can be trusted with bigger projects and responsibilities.

Everyone is a mentor

Finding a mentor to help guide you through the obstacles and challenges that arise throughout your career can be key to your professional success.

But Welch says you shouldn't just look to your superiors or older colleagues for guidance. Finding a mentor can mean identifying someone with a skill you want to learn, not just someone with a better job title.

"Everyone is a mentor. You see somebody speak, you say 'I like the way that person speaks,' you adapt your way of doing it," Welch says. "Translate it into your way of doing things."

Be authentic

Being true to yourself as you grow professionally, rather than imitating others, can open doors.

"Authenticity is such a value that people lose sight of," Welch said. "Learn from everybody, but be yourself."

Ask how you can improve

It's one thing to work toward self-betterment, but how can you know what to improve on if you don't ask?

Welch says the first step in improving your performance is having the confidence to speak up and ask where you're lacking in the first place. "You've got to have the self-confidence to get in and say, 'What do I have to do? What am I doing wrong?'" says Welch. "Bring candor to the party right away, develop a dialogue."

If you feel your boss or job isn't contributing meaningfully to your development, even after you've asked for guidance, have the confidence to pack up and move on to your next challenge.

Don't go around your boss

Even if you're not getting satisfaction, you should never try to circumvent your boss — getting on their bad side can have lasting repercussions, even beyond your current job.

"Going around your boss is a losing strategy. It's not going to work," Welch warns.

Former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink recommends becoming your boss' ally. "Regardless of whether my boss is an amazing human being or a horrible human being," says Willinik "what I'm trying to do is build a relationship with them."

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