Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, Leaders (1985)
Bennis was an American professor, leadership expert (pictured right) and adviser to four America presidents
Bennis died in 2014.
Nanus (pictured right below Kennedy) is a professor at the University of Southern
Warren Bennis in the Management Gurus
How leaders can inspire people
Successful leaders are “transformative”.
In other words, they inspire people to transform their performance by doing four
1. Attention through vision
Defining a vision (a future ideal for the organization) and achieving it through:
- corporate culture (ensuring employees share the same values).
- organizational restructuring.
- effective communication (see point 2).
2. Meaning through communication
Effectively communicating the vision – but successful leaders don’t have to be
3. Trust through positioning (or empowerment)
Empowerment (taking responsibility for excellent performance) requires:
Feeling you're making a difference
Ability to do the job.
Co-operation and teamwork to achieve a common purpose (helped by a belief in the leader’s vision and mutual
Having fun at work.
4. Positive self-management
Leaders maximizing performance through:
a) continual learning
- creation of a learning organization
- accepting the possibility of failure.
b) self-knowledge and challenging aims
- knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
- stretching yourself to fully exploit strengths and overcome weaknesses.
c) persistence and risk taking
d) positive thinking
The “Wallenda factor” - never accepting the possibility of failure.
e) contacts with other people
The five myths of
1. Leadership is a rare skill.
2. Leaders are born, not made.
3. Leaders have to be charismatic.
4. Leadership exists only at the top of the organization (groups and business units also
5. The leader controls and manipulates (empowerment is much more important).
Key quotes on leadership and management
Managers are the people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing.
The new leader...is one who commits people to action, who converts followers into leaders.
Leading is a responsibility, and the effectiveness of this responsibility is reflected in the attitudes of the
The role of the leader is much like that of the conductor of an orchestra.
Key quote on the learning
Leadership creates a commonwealth of learning, and that, in turn is what effective organizations are.
Key quote on human resource
The real work of the organization is done by the people in it, just as the music is produced only by the members
of the orchestra.
Key quote on empowerment
Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.