Leadership: Remembering Warren Bennis

Hola Todos!

Today we remember a true leader, Warren Bennis, who passed away last week.  Professor Bennis was a leadership scholar who penned nearly 30 books, which have explored the importance of judgment, the need for transparency, the importance of being adaptive and the secrets of genius teams.

An excellent tribute published in the Washington Post summarized many of Professor Bennis’ leadership theories:

For Bennis, leadership was a personal journey, something individual and introspective that must be learned through life’s experiences. He was a staunch believer that leaders are made not born, formed out of “crucible” moments and struggles that prepare them to lead. As he wrote in On Becoming a Leader — essential reading for anyone — leadership is about self-discovery and self-expression. “Before people can learn to lead, they must learn something about this strange new world.” For Bennis, leadership was a personal journey, something individual and introspective that must be learned through life’s experiences. He was a staunch believer that leaders are made not born, formed out of “crucible” moments and struggles that prepare them to lead. As he wrote in On Becoming a Leader, leadership is about self-discovery and self-expression. “Before people can learn to lead, they must learn something about this strange new world.”

My favorite line from the quote above is “he was a staunch believer that leaders are made and not born.”  I have linked to Professor Bennis’ ideas three times on DigNuggetville.  The first was, not surprisingly, was to stress leaders are made, not born.  The second was to stand on the shoulders of giants to highlight one of my favorite leadership quotes.  Professor Bennis said,

“Three words leaders have trouble dealing with: ‘I don’t know.’  I think good leadership will often start with questions whose answer is: “I don’t know, but we’re going to find out.”

Finally, in learning to fail…forward, I passed along Professor Bennis’ concept of the crucible.  A crucible is an intense learning experience and for almost all of the leaders profiled in his book Geeks & Geezers, their crucible was a horrible failure. Leaders learn from their (horrible) experiences. They fail, but in failing , they then moved forward with their lives to do something even better than before.  Without the their crucible, these leaders would have never reached this better place without their failure.

Go to a bookstore and pick up something excellent from Professor Bennis today…

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

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