Warren Bennis (1925- 2014)
American professor, leadership expert (pictured right) and adviser to four American presidents including;
(1985), written with Burt Nanus (pictured right below)
(see for more detail Leaders in the Business Books section)
Successful leaders have four common characteristics:
1. Attention through vision
Defining a vision (a future ideal for the organization) and achieving this vision
- effective decision making.
2. Managing through communication
Effectively communicating the vision, so that employees are enthusiastically committed to
3. Trust through positioning
Empowering people to take responsibility for excellent performance.
Such empowerment requires
- mutual trust and respect.
- interesting, worthwhile work.
4. Management of self
Leaders must exploit their strengths and minimize their weaknesses through:
- continual learning (which they must also encourage throughout the organization).
- contacts with other people.
The five myths of leadership are:
1. Leadership is a rare skill.
2. Leaders are born, not made.
3. Leaders are necessarily 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
Managers are the people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing.
Leadership creates a commonwealth of learning, and that, in turn is what effective organizations are.
The essential thing in organizational leadership is that the leader’s style pulls rather than pushes people
On Becoming A Leader
The best leaders have:
a) guiding vision
(with mission and inspirational purpose).
(morality and recognizing and correcting personal weaknesses) -the basis of trust.
(for their work and decisions)
(through difficulty and failure)
e) communication skills
(inspiring people and giving hope)
f) curiosity and daring
(with a hunger for learning)
The leader who communicates passion gives hope and inspiration to other people.
Why Leaders Can’t Lead
Leaders must release the brain power of their employees by overcoming:
- the “unconscious conspiracy” to preserve the status quo.
People in authority must be social architects.
Hierarchical and autocratic control (what Max Weber ,pictured
right above, called bureaucracy) will be replaced by creative teams of specialists given a particular job to do (an
This is similar to Burns and Stalker’s organic structure.