Over the past month I have found myself recommending Warren Bennis’ book, On Becoming a Leader, to a number of people. Bennis, who passed away in 2014, was a prolific writer on leadership and, according to management guru Peter Drucker, this is Bennis’ most important book. I find it intriguing that I am now recommending it so often.
As per Bennis, ingredients of leadership include vision, passion, integrity, self-knowledge, constant learning, curiosity… even daring. Bennis writes: “Good leaders engage the world. Bad leaders entrap it, or try.”1
One of Bennis’ most popular quotes illustrates his perspective on how leaders can be creative: “There are two ways of being creative. One can sing and dance. Or one can create an environment in which singers and dancers flourish.” Visit Freedom Inc. to hear Mr. Bennis expand on this quote in a video interview.
In the ideas he set forth in this book, originally published in 1989 now a classic, Bennis lays a foundation for authenticity and personal ethics in leadership.
Since a capacity to develop leadership qualities in all family members is characteristic of family businesses, I strongly suggest On Becoming a Leader as productive holiday reading for all. It’s on my list to re-read in 2017.
1.Warren Bennis, Becoming a Leader (Basic Books, 2009), 38