Notes from ‘On Becoming A Leader’ by Warren Bennis – Chapter 8

  • “I think one of the biggest turn-ons is for people to know that their peers and particularly their bosses not only know they’re there but know pretty intimately what they’re doing and are involved with them on almost a daily basis, that it’s a partnership, that you’re really trying to run this thing well together, that if something goes wrong our goal is to fix it, not see who we can nail.”
  • You can’t lead unless someone is willing to follow.
  • Very difficult to make/force people to do things, they need to be inspired or confident in the leader and their vision.
  • 4 leadership traits that build trust:
  • Consistency: Whatever surprises leaders themselves may face they don’t create any for the group. Leaders are all of a piece; they stay the course.
  • Congruity: Leaders walk then talk. In true leaders, there is no gap between theories they expose and the life they practice.
  • Reliability: Leaders are there when it counts; they are ready to support their co-workers in the moments that matter.
  • Integrity: Leaders honor their commitments and promises.
  • Leading with your voice: taking charge without taking control; must inspire people, not order them around. The best people working for organizations are like volunteers since they could probably find good jobs in any number of groups, they choose to work somewhere for reasons less tangible than salary or position. They want a covenantal relationship, not a contractual one.
  • Competence, vision and virtue must be in careful balance (can’t only have one or two of the three).
  • The chief object of leadership is the creation of a human community held together by the work bond for a common purpose.
  • Goals are not ends, but idea processes by which the future can be created.
  • Lack of integrity (without a solid sense of ethics)
  • You should preserve the ability to say, “Shove it” and go your own way. That really frees you.
  • One of the hardest lessons any novice skier has to learn is to lean away from the hill and not into it. The natural inclination is to stay as close to the slope as possible, because it feels safer and more secure. But only when the skier leans out can they begin to move and gain control, rather than being controlled by the slope. The organizational novice does the same thing. Leans close to the organizational slope, submerging their own identity in that of the corporation. The leader stands tall and leans out, taking charge of their own course, with a clean view of where the course is going.

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