Summary of The New Global Leaders

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Authors Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries and Elizabeth Florent-Treacy idealistically foresee a new era where visionary, innovative CEO’s will lead a new type of employee. Through insightful interviews, they position Richard Branson of Virgin, Percy Barnevik of ABB and David Simon of British Petroleum as icons of the modern, improved CEO. Certainly, Branson and Simon seem to be valid role models and their leadership of European global companies presents interesting alternatives. Although it is not reflected in this 1999 book, today Barnevik’s reputation is tarnished in the wake of a 2002 severance pay scandal and problems that BusinessWeek refers to as “the mess at ABB.” For good or ill, this book will provoke you to ask if emphasizing a leader’s charismatic ability to motivate distracts attention from critical core business issues. Despite their varied outcomes, these charismatic visionaries created family-like corporate cultures and inspired their employees. Thus, they demonstrated that the new economic era requires a new type of leader. Whether they together constitute a composite of that leader is another question. getAbstract recommends this solid book to management students and to upcoming executives.

About the Authors

Paris-based Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries is a professor at one of the world’s leading global business schools, INSEAD. The author of 15 books, he is also a practicing psychoanalyst and consultant. Elizabeth Florent-Treacy is a specialist in management and leadership at INSEAD.



New Leaders for New Times

Don’t look now, but one of the biggest changes taking place in business is the new kind of leader in the executive suite. Richard Branson of Virgin, Percy Barnevik formerly of ABB and David Simon of British Petroleum are but three examples. Their companies represent a fresh international paradigm for successful business ventures.

These leaders demonstrate the ability to create multinational corporate systems, and possess the psychological insight to instill vision and purpose in their employees. This gives their organizations an energy that few can rival. They have fashioned a new psychological contract with their employees and, remarkably, are able to address the age-old search for meaning in one’s work. By addressing that need, they have become the pioneers of a new generation of global business leaders.

These leaders’ success hinges on their ability to inspire employees’ enthusiasm. Their companies tend to reject hierarchy in favor of teamwork. They recognize the modern corporation’s important role in contributing to social welfare and values. Indeed, the way they motivate their employees is by identifying their firms with social ...

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