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On Becoming a Leader

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On Becoming a Leader

Perseus Books,

15 minutes de lecture
9 points à retenir
Texte disponible


Becoming a leader is more than an act of will — it takes curiosity, vision, integrity and work. Lots of work.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable
  • Inspiring


In the mid-1980s, the late Warren Bennis wrote this classic model for modern leadership based on personal growth, self-expression, learning and integrity, drawing from interviews with dozens of leaders. Most importantly, he found, leaders do not seek to lead. Instead, they seek to express themselves fully. They embrace risks and mistakes, learning from adversity. They reflect on all of their experiences. With these skills, they inspire others to follow them. They turn organizations into communities which find each member’s highest potential. Bennis may have become slightly outdated, but you'll appreciate his basic, inspiring philosophy of leadership. Read this if you want to lead – and be good at it.


Leaders manage the dream by communicating a vision, recruiting carefully, rewarding, retraining and reorganizing.

Leadership rests on three key lessons: 1) Staying with the status quo won’t work, 2) The key to competitive advantage is a leader’s ability to create a social architecture that can generate intellectual capital and 3) Followers need direction, trust and hope from their leaders. Trust is pivotal for present and future leaders.

Success depends on ideas, relationships and adventure. Ideas provide the basis for change and intellectual capital. Relationships permit people to work in a harmonious, empowering environment. Adventure gives people a bias toward action, curiosity and courage. Leaders can express these ideas. They know themselves, and they learn to use their strengths to compensate for their weaknesses. They know what they want, why and how to convey those goals to gain support and how to achieve their essential purpose, their overarching vision.

Leaders agree on two basic points. First, they agree that leaders are made, not born, and made more by themselves than by the world around them. Second, they agree that leaders do not set out to prove...

About the Author

The late Warren Bennis wrote or co-wrote 19 books. A consultant for corporations and governments around the world, he was also a Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at the University of Southern California.

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