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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

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Archive: Leadership personalities

The man of all seasons: Sidney Harman

"If and when I die," he once said to me, during a tennis match years ago. I took that seriously. When the business world, in particular, is desperately looking for leaders with...

By Warren Bennis | December 22, 2010; 04:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

When what you do outweighs who you are

A cloud of allegations hovers over this year's Heisman recipient, and a shadow has been cast on his character and on the integrity of those who chose him. In his case, fact and fiction are somewhat muddled; but what is clear is...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | December 16, 2010; 09:26 AM ET | Comments (2)

Cam being Cam

Once in an interview in response to the question '"How do you manage all those newly rich, testosterone-rich, self-absorbed men on a professional football team?" Bill Parcells answered exactly the opposite...

By Marty Linsky | December 15, 2010; 01:47 PM ET | Comments (1)

Recruiting character and talent

When Joe Gibbs was building the Washington Redskins into Superbowl champions, his stated criteria for drafting players was...

By Michael Maccoby | December 14, 2010; 03:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

One strike and you're out

No exceptions, no matter how high your station, no matter how important you are to the organization. When you violate the fundamental rules of the institutional culture...

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | December 14, 2010; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (1)

The meaning of an asterisk

Add Cam Newton's reception of the Heisman Trophy to the long list of examples of athletic "excellence" coming before sports "integrity." Many names come to mind, but the quintessential example...

By Coro Fellows | December 13, 2010; 11:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Strong character trumps perfection

As a veteran executive once told me, hire for character. Don't expect to develop something that is not there. If a person lacks a moral compass, don't think you...

By John Baldoni | December 13, 2010; 06:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

Creating a Benedict Arnold

As with the Benedict Arnold example, star performers can move up the organization to positions of great responsibility, without a clear understanding of the value of ethical behavior and institutional rules and...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | December 13, 2010; 03:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Losing sight of Lincoln: A mid-course resurrection to save Obama's presidency

Remember, back in 2008, when everyone compared Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln? After he was elected president, Obama himself talked about what he was learning from the 16th president. Fast forward to today: no one is talking about those parallels. Only the most foolish among us would put Obama anywhere near the rarefied stratosphere reserved for our most revered leader.

By Nancy Koehn | December 8, 2010; 01:04 PM ET | Comments (19)

Know when to let your members off the hook

She has become the issue, rather than keeping front and center the issues she says she cares about--such as restoring the Democratic majority and keeping the White House in 2012. Her seeking re-election to the post is another example of her putting herself above her party and, once again, doing what no legislative party leader should ever do: forcing her members to make a bad vote that is likely to haunt them two years from now. It is as if she has learned nothing at all from...

By Marty Linsky | November 11, 2010; 05:26 PM ET | Comments (4)

Why Pelosi didn't fail

Women and men need to see an example of a woman politician who has had to face a loss but refuses to back down. Too often, women leaders become discouraged after an initial loss, or are encouraged by others to step down following a failure. What would happen if instead of backing down, we came back with even more fire in our...

By Marie Wilson | November 10, 2010; 01:48 PM ET | Comments (7)

Pelosi deserves plaudits

I resist the temptation to jump on the Megabus that is driving the trash talk against Nancy Pelosi. The campaign of vilification orchestrated by Republicans with millions of dollars in often anonymous campaign funds was masterful, but Dems should not be swayed by their opponents' propaganda. Pelosi...

By Kathryn Kolbert | November 10, 2010; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (5)

Things fall apart

How can Congress make the best use of the next two years? To answer that question it is important to note that the interests of the Democratic Party should not supersede the interests of our nation. Rather, our next minority leader must further bipartisan decision-making. As such, there is no need to look at whether Speaker Pelosi is the best person for the...

By Coro Fellows | November 9, 2010; 04:10 PM ET | Comments (3)

Dems need new blood

If the Democrats' congressional leadership is unchanged after the party has taken such a hit, it might well create the additional problem of discouraging frank and open conversation about the necessary changes that the Democrats must consider. They just can't stick to the same old recipe...

By Yash Gupta | November 9, 2010; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (3)

'A wish for leaders'

There are some key questions that should be considered by both, even though Senator Reid has retained his formal position and Speaker Pelosi's fate is now dependent on the votes of her peers. In the final analysis, both will have to be authorized by those they want to influence. Can they present and represent their positions...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | November 9, 2010; 02:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

How Pelosi is like KU's Coach Gill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces a situation many authority figures face when they are linked to poor results. But Pelosi can take heart, she has a kindred spirit here in the Heartland. University of Kansas head football coach, Turner Gill, isn't a politician, but his job is political. As does Pelosi, Gill makes his living in a full-contact activity. Each also faces a growing chorus of detractors wanting...

By Ed O'Malley | November 9, 2010; 07:53 AM ET | Comments (1)

Good leaders never give up? Nonsense

Forget the myth nurtured on the football field that leaders never give up. Nonsense. True leaders are smart enough to know when to stop bashing their heads against opposition stronger than themselves. Even smarter ones, and may I add more courageous ones, know that the bravest thing to do is to give up...

By John Baldoni | November 8, 2010; 06:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

There is no dilemma

Thoughtful leaders should and do resign after losses far more modest than Nancy Pelosi's of last week. But Republicans, of course, are delighted at her candidacy, delighted at the prospect of her symbolizing Congressional Democrats for two more years. And House Democrats are in disarray, most of them privately wanting to see her back but afraid to say. At least for the moment...

By Slade Gorton | November 8, 2010; 05:56 PM ET | Comments (1)

Democrats should stick with Pelosi and Reid

Both Obama and Pelosi have been effective leaders for the Democrat constituency. Neither has connected with the Republican constituency. Would other Democrats do better? Should Pelosi be replaced by a Democrat considered more centrist? The danger is that this would alienate...

By Michael Maccoby | November 8, 2010; 05:51 PM ET | Comments (10)

Some force-fed humility

Congresswoman Pelosi has lost credibility by insisting on remaining the head of the Democratic caucus in the wake of the recent elections. By 'fighting' to stay in the limelight, she leaves the impression that her agenda is more about her than about the things she claims to believe in. A more credible and humble approach would be...

By Bob Schoultz | November 8, 2010; 05:39 PM ET | Comments (7)

Hope: Version 2.0?

Question: Like U.S. presidents, military and non-profit leaders often face the equivalent of "midterm elections" in which they and their strategies are subject to an initial market test or performance evaluation. What's the first thing President Obama, or any leader,...

By Coro Fellows | November 3, 2010; 02:26 PM ET | Comments (3)

The people have spoken--listen and speak back

I thought it was telling that President Obama went on Jon Stewart's show last week and complained that the public wasn't aware of everything his administration has accomplished. Who exactly is to blame for that? The president and his team, who have let their opponents define them. He's a master orator, but he needs to do a better job of communicating empathy and understanding where the problems of Main Street Americans are...

By Yash Gupta | November 2, 2010; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (11)

Obama needs to embrace his critics

One of Obama's biggest mistakes in his first two years has been disdaining his critics, beginning with his demeaning reference at that San Francisco fundraiser during his own campaign and culminating in...

By Marty Linsky | November 2, 2010; 10:47 AM ET | Comments (5)

What does it say about today's culture that we've idolized Don Draper?

Although Draper's inappropriate drinking, disregard for employees and sexually harassing behavior toward women would definitely get him fired in today's organizations, it is his unreflective steamroller approach to getting what he wants at any cost that would prove lethal to the organization as a whole. So why, if he is so ill suited for today's organizations, do we still find him so fascinating?

By Amy Fraher | October 19, 2010; 02:11 PM ET | Comments (10)

360 degrees of Don Draper

Don Draper's Machiavellian leadership style can certainly claim many successes in the show. His consistently brutal criticism motivated Draper's subordinates on various occasions to work late nights in order to seek his approval. His unbiased appreciation for quality work provided Peggy the opportunity to leave her secretary's desk and earn a position as a copywriter. However, Draper's emotional detachment and unapologetic attitude also produced some costs in his professional...

By Coro Fellows | October 18, 2010; 05:33 PM ET | Comments (9)

In both drama and leadership, character is action

Don is a flawed character, rich in dramatic power but ultimately a leader with serious deficiencies. Ask yourself this: is Don someone you would want to count on in a crisis? A likely answer would be no. His interest in self-preservation would outweigh...

By John Baldoni | October 18, 2010; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (1)

The 'Mad Women' are the show's exemplars

Don Draper is a mess. His agency is a mess. His personal life and values are a mess, and his sense of leadership has all the sensitivity and steadiness of an active volcano. His special quality of creativity may be enough to land business and help sell products, but it is hardly the glue that makes this a strongly...

By Peter Hart | October 18, 2010; 11:34 AM ET | Comments (2)

What Don Draper gets wrong

Don Draper has a few things right: it is actually a huge weakness when leaders focus, either consciously or unconsciously, on being liked. It is impossible to please everyone, and sometimes difficult decisions need to be made that will hurt individuals in service of the greater...

By Doug Guthrie | October 18, 2010; 09:55 AM ET | Comments (1)

Draper's search for identity

All of the tensions that have made a shambles of his personal life, and the lives of so many people around him, have made him an award-winning idea guy. Without Don's fierce and brutal search for identity, there would be no Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and the Time-Life Building would be looking for a new tenant on its...

By Donald Kettl | October 18, 2010; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Is Don Draper a leader? Maybe. A good leader? No.

Draper seems to have an astounding ability to ignore the consequences of his behavior. A lack of moral imagination and stunted sense of right and wrong seems to insulate him from the implications of his actions. He knowingly advertises for harmful products, lives a life built upon a foundation of deceit, and...

By George Reed | October 18, 2010; 09:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Four lessons from Christie

In observing Governor Christie, we can learn how being direct and even aggressive has an appropriate place and time in the repertoire of a leader. In anxious and uncertain times, those most affected often perceive a leader's desire for collaboration as a weakness; a more authoritarian style is palatable, even preferred, by those wanting security. In these times of severe economic...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | October 13, 2010; 11:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

What can we learn from Christie?

Many Democrats, including myself, have been lulled into a begrudging respect for Christie. As much as we'd like to see new multi-billion dollar tunnels and drastic raises in education expenditures, we realize that we're no longer living in the era of the blank check, and no one can get furious...

By Coro Fellows | October 12, 2010; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (10)

Mark Zuckerberg needs to own it (and "it" is not what you think)

would feel pretty bad if I were Mark Zuckerberg. But then, if I were Mark Zuckerberg, I would look at my life, my business, and my net worth, and I would probably shrug it off (and maybe drop $100 million on the Newark Public Schools). But should he shrug it off, especially as the leader of a company which thrives off networks that purport...

By Paul Schmitz | October 8, 2010; 06:26 PM ET | Comments (2)

Zuckerberg's on his way

Facebook's popularity has often spoken for itself. But as Facebook grows beyond 500 million global users, readies one of the most hotly anticipated IPOs in recent memory, and finds itself the subject of a controversial new film, that all must change. Zuckerberg's stakeholder community has grown exponentially-and he is about to be more dependent on it than ever before. With investors...

By Robert Goodwin | October 7, 2010; 11:48 AM ET | Comments (1)

Game is good, but sometimes you can win without it

More generally, chief executive officers do not face the same "outside game" requirements as, say, political leaders. CEOs sell a product, while politicians are the product. Campaigning is inherently linked to a candidate's image because voters...

By Coro Fellows | October 7, 2010; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (1)

Matching 'outside game' to 'inside self'

Our culture still tends to equate extroversion with leadership and introversion with followership. The former is perceived as active (good), and the latter as passive (bad). Much too frequently, a quiet demeanor and reflective deliberation are not seen as leadership behaviors; while verbal, outgoing, decisive action is. I find it irresponsible to attempt to coerce someone who is being authentic into an acceptable, conventional role or societal stereotype of...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | October 6, 2010; 02:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Zuckerberg's expensive lesson

Who wants to take on such an undertaking when there are not enough hours in the day to manage a company, build a market and deliver on the organization's promise to customers, employees and shareholders? (One can almost hear executives of different stripes and spots asking themselves this under their breath.) But this is not the relevant question. The key question is: which leader can afford not to develop a good outside game? And at this moment in history, the answer is...

By Nancy Koehn | October 6, 2010; 02:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

It's refreshing that Zuckerberg focuses on 'inside game'

It is true that the CEO represents the corporate brand, so attention must be paid to appearances and image as the "marketer in chief." But this must be balanced with "inside game," working diligently for shareholders and stakeholders to whom...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | October 4, 2010; 01:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Power: Face it, you need it

Leaders are preoccupied with power because power is an essential component of leadership. So noted the late John Gardner, founder of Common Cause and cabinet secretary in the Lyndon Johnson administration. Getting things done--particularly through and with others--requires influence skills. And, in order to lead both organizational change and effective execution, you need to cultivate the leadership capacity to get your way.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | September 23, 2010; 03:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Luis Alberto Moreno: Business solutions to poverty

Meet Luis Alberto Mereno, the most influential development banker in the Western Hemisphere. In his native Columbia and as president of the Inter-American Development Bank, he is pioneering ways to counter poverty with business-based solutions.

By Michael Fairbanks | June 4, 2010; 06:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

A suddenly fashionable name

Rand Paul has benefited from the perfect mixture of lineage and political climate to potentially win a Senate seat; that alone won't be enough for him to lead effectively if he gets to Washington.

By Coro Fellows | May 21, 2010; 05:58 AM ET | Comments (43)

The power of the caring adult

In our work with leaders, we frequently hear of the significance that caring adults have had in their lives.

By Katherine Tyler Scott | May 21, 2010; 05:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Not in the gene pool

If leadership were heritable, Congress would have legalized human cloning a long, long time ago.

By Kathryn Kolbert | May 21, 2010; 05:29 AM ET | Comments (0)

A breath of fresh air

Given the obvious frustration that most Americans have with politics-as-usual, any breath of fresh air, especially one as intellectually qualified as Elena Kagan, is a welcome change.

By Bill Shore | May 10, 2010; 01:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

She's got the skills

The fact that she was nominated to be a judge a decade ago indicates that even at that time, before she had been a successful law school dean, she was already considered to have the requisite skills.

By Howard Gardner | May 10, 2010; 01:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bono at 50: The leader we need

Bono seems to understand our most pressing issues today demand a new kind of leadership, one based not in status systems but in humility, an ardent desire to learn and a respect for the individuals that organizations serve.

By Nancy Koehn | May 10, 2010; 10:38 AM ET | Comments (18)

Al Haig: The leader I want to remember

He came through in a clutch moment, providing leadership when Nixon could not, but as Secretary of State under Reagan, Al Haig disappointed himself and the nation.

By Ken Adelman | February 22, 2010; 05:38 AM ET | Comments (51)

Commandant Thad Allen

We don't need leaders focused on their own organizations. We need leaders ready to focus on the big-picture problem.

By Donald Kettl | February 21, 2010; 12:06 PM ET | Comments (8)

The darkness in our spirits

The key element of any good leader is a passion for putting the needs and concerns of other people before their own.

By Yash Gupta | February 19, 2010; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

'Holdin' out for a hero'

It is time to lay to rest the "great-man" theory of leadership and stop looking for a hero.

By Juana Bordas | February 19, 2010; 05:32 AM ET | Comments (15)

Unconditional love + responsibility

The practical values Father William Wasson preached and practiced balanced unconditional love with work, responsibility, and sharing.

By Michael Maccoby | February 18, 2010; 11:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

LBJ's grand scale

LBJ's domestic achievements remind us that getting important things done is vastly more important than anodyne political or bureaucratic survival.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | February 18, 2010; 11:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

'Never had control, never wanted it'

The former CEO of Southwest Airlines embodied the difference between management and leadership.

By Carol Kinsey Goman | February 18, 2010; 11:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

'Let's make a deal' culture

The Senate has adopted a very dangerous operating style that threatens America's ability to debate the serious issue it confronts.

By Andy Stern | December 23, 2009; 10:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Jeff Immelt, head of GE

Jeff Immelt told his employees if they were frightened by the economic crisis they should leave, but if they were energized by the thrill of re-inventing GE, they should stay.

By Marty Linsky | December 18, 2009; 05:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

Mulcahy-Burns transition

In adopting a co-leadership model, Ursula Burns and Anne Mulcahy showed a willingness to forgo ego in order to provide a strong foundation for Xerox during uncertain times.

By Marie Wilson | December 17, 2009; 02:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Define 'great CEO'

When baseball pitchers are rated for a Cy Young award, the voters all know the relevant measures of performance: won-lost and era records. However, there is no accepted criteria for rating CEOs.

By Michael Maccoby | December 16, 2009; 03:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

A bad year for leadership

Fear-mongering Republicans, a president who fires a CEO, and greedy bonus-seeking executives -- Let's hope we'll see better leadership in 2010.

By Yash Gupta | December 16, 2009; 11:53 AM ET | Comments (1)

Jamie Dimon, CEO of J. P. Morgan Chase

As the invisible hand failed, steady hands became essential, and Dimon's were at the ready.

By Michael Useem | December 16, 2009; 11:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Do-right employees

Let's celebrate the true heroes of the Great Downturn--the workers who, through the toughest of times, have hung tough on their core ethics and values.

By Barry Salzberg | December 15, 2009; 02:49 PM ET | Comments (1)

Mulally, turn-around driver

Mulally, being a team player, probably credits his colleagues for Ford's remarkable progress this year - but sometimes a single leader's vision and persistence can jump-start a turnaround.

By John R. Ryan | December 15, 2009; 01:36 PM ET | Comments (1)

#Leadership in 140 characters

Biz Stone and Evan Williams have created a communications revolution with Twitter.

By Coro Fellows | December 15, 2009; 05:59 AM ET | Comments (5)

Dan Vasella, Novartis CEO

Dan Vasella has transformed Novartis from primarily a pharmaceutical company into a global leader in health care.

By Bill George | December 15, 2009; 05:53 AM ET | Comments (1)

Pete Peterson, statesperson

Pete Peterson is a model business statesperson and our nation needs many more like him.

By David Walker | December 15, 2009; 05:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Alan Mulally, Ford CEO

One of the main reasons Alan Mulally chose to lead Ford is that he loves our country - and believes the success of this historically important company is vital to the welfare of our nation.

By Marshall Goldsmith | December 15, 2009; 05:43 AM ET | Comments (1)

Captain of his team

Competence, coolness under pressure and outstanding teamwork do not happen fluently if the captain of the team chokes.

By Doug Feaver | October 21, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

'Service before self'

As legendary basketball coach John Wooden used to say, "Sports do not build character. They reveal it." The same is true in a crisis.

By Robert Goodwin | October 21, 2009; 06:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

The opposite of 'balloon boy'

Most Americans are tired of hyped-up media sensations like Michael Jackson or 'balloon boy' and inspired by stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

By Andy Stern | October 20, 2009; 04:08 PM ET | Comments (10)

If Wall Street were an airline

Captain Sullenberger exhibited the kind of can-do, can't-fail leadership that business needs if we hope to re-build it into a trustworthy enterprise.

By Barry Salzberg | October 20, 2009; 11:33 AM ET | Comments (1)

Our secret hope

Against our suspicion that leaders are self-seeking egomaniacs, we still hope that when we are in danger, a competent, trustworthy, selfless leader will emerge to save the situation.

By Michael Maccoby | October 20, 2009; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

Made in the U.S.A.

Capt. Sullenberger didn't just elevate the public's opinion of the airline industry; he also restored pride in the skill of American workers.

By Yash Gupta | October 20, 2009; 11:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

'What's my river?'

Many of us are not in roles that yield such immediate, high stakes, or tangible signs of success. Capt. Sully's success reminds me to ask: What river are we aiming for?

By Tom Monahan | October 20, 2009; 08:17 AM ET | Comments (3)

No back-seat drivers

Leadership is easier to discern Sullenberger's case, and in sports and war, than it is in politics and public policy because it is clear cut and unequivocal.

By Slade Gorton | October 20, 2009; 06:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Hero insanity

If Americans weren't so burned out by all the bad behavior by politicians and celebrities, we'd reserve the word "hero" and "leader" for circumstances that actually merit their application.

By Alan M. Webber | October 19, 2009; 09:06 PM ET | Comments (30)

Not a five-minute journey

In Sullenberger's story, we come to appreciate the highest calling of leadership: An absolute focus on the mission, whatever the chaos, fears, or even terror of the moment.

By Michael Useem | October 19, 2009; 05:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

The quiet workers

Perhaps we are fascinated because we hope there are many more Sullies out there, quietly leading and working for the betterment of us all.

By Ed O'Malley | October 19, 2009; 03:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

When nobody is looking

Everyone today who appears to be a role model or a hero ends up disappointing us. With Capt. Sully, the more we learned, the more we admired.

By Beth A. Brooke | October 19, 2009; 03:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Does hero = leader?

I am not sure people think of "Sully" as a leader, as much as they think of him as a "hero," but in U.S. politics, heroes often called upon to be political leaders.

By Howard Gardner | October 19, 2009; 02:39 PM ET | Comments (1)

The power of humility

As leadership authors, we often describe leaders who give more than they take. When a story like Sully's comes along, we are able to say, "There it is, that's what I mean."

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | October 19, 2009; 02:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

Understated leadership

In the current political environment, elected leaders are not rewarded for quiet, calm and understated leadership.

By Kurt Schmoke | October 19, 2009; 02:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Nominee: Gates, Kopp and Mayor Greg Nickels

If there were a Nobel Prize for Leadership, it should go to individuals and teams whose ideas, communications and actions actually improve lives or propel others to release their talent to improve the world.

By Patricia McGinnis | October 16, 2009; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Nominee: Fred Adams of Utah

Fred Adams did the improbable: Build an affordable, popular Shakespearean festival in rural America.

By Ken Adelman | October 15, 2009; 04:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

Everyday Servant Leaders

Servant leaders make huge sacrifices and risk their lives for the benefit of humanity -- often laboring in obscurity.

By Robert Goodwin | October 15, 2009; 04:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Idea Creation, Not Message Broadcast

Bringing people together just to tell them something is obsolete. Bringing people together to create new ideas is more important than ever.

By Roger Martin | October 15, 2009; 04:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Champion of the Poor and Voiceless

There's no great challenge in leading those who are able to fight their own battles.

By Bill Shore | October 15, 2009; 04:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Nominee: White House Usher

There should be a Nobel Prize for leadership for the best "servant leader" we can find, and my nomination is White House Chief Usher, Rear Admiral Stephen W. Rochon.

By Daisy Wademan Dowling | October 14, 2009; 03:22 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Best Executives

The financial crisis showed us the enormous power of corporate executives to create or destroy value. What we need is a global leadership prize to recognize the best of them.

By Angel Cabrera | October 14, 2009; 05:35 AM ET | Comments (39)

No Prize for Norwegians

If the Norwegians meant to bolster Obama's ability to change the world for the better, I doubt they have succeeded.

By Michael Maccoby | October 14, 2009; 05:16 AM ET | Comments (1)

A Burden, Not a Reward

Leaders like President Obama are under enough pressure as it is without winning a prize that places the hopes of the world on their shoulders.

By Joanne B. Ciulla | October 13, 2009; 02:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Nominee: Social Entrepreneurs

A Nobel Prize for Leadership, in my view, would be awarded to those who bring about change for the good of humanity -- today, that means social entrepreneurs.

By Howard Gardner | October 13, 2009; 02:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

A Disturbing Silence

My Nobel Prize for Leadership would recognize not achievement broadly defined, or abstract qualities of leadership, but clear and undeniable moral authority.

By Alan M. Webber | October 12, 2009; 10:35 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Best Disappointer

The Nobel Prize for Leadership should be awarded to those who have demonstrated unusual courage in disappointing their own people in pursuit of a solution to an intractable problem.

By Marty Linsky | October 12, 2009; 10:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Nominee: Ben Bernanke

Under tremendous pressure, Bernanke calmly helped fashion a U.S. policy response to the financial meltdown that brought the world back from the brink.

By Paul R. Portney | October 12, 2009; 10:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Nominee: U.S. Armed Forces

Our military is made of imperfect people who acknowledge their faults and learn from past mistakes.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | October 12, 2009; 10:20 PM ET | Comments (6)

The Pedestal Problem

By exalting singular public figures, we ordinary people tend to distance ourselves from the idea of leadership, not realizing we ourselves are capable of it.

By George Reed | October 12, 2009; 10:06 PM ET | Comments (2)

A Confluence of Traits

If you were giving out a prize for leadership, the likely recipient would be someone who possesses not just one outstanding quality but a confluence of strong traits.

By Yash Gupta | October 12, 2009; 09:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Diplomacy's Remote Chance

Diplomacy and negotiation are appropriate as long as they promise any chance of success, but our long history with such approaches show that chance with Ahmedinejad is remote.

By Slade Gorton | October 2, 2009; 04:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Hollow Language of Sanctions

We've had sanctions against the Castro regime for 50 years, and Castro remains in power, in part because the U.S. is alone in imposing sanctions.

By Yash Gupta | September 30, 2009; 09:49 AM ET | Comments (4)

Uprooting Bad Leaders

The problem of Ahmadinejad will not go away on its own. Bad leaders never do. They must be forced to change.

By Barbara Kellerman | September 29, 2009; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (104)

Don't Play His Game

U.S. leaders need to sit down and patiently try to lay out a broad framework for trade and cooperation with Iran.

By Joanne B. Ciulla | September 29, 2009; 11:26 AM ET | Comments (6)

High-Stakes Chess

While he's paying attention to our rook, our knight should be maneuvering into position to help us get what WE want.

By Bob Schoultz | September 29, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (48)

Obama's Khruschev

With bullies like Khruschev or Ahmedinejad, it is essential to take unambiguous, unyielding positions, or they will think we won't stand up to them.

By Michael Maccoby | September 29, 2009; 05:46 AM ET | Comments (5)

Malignant Megalomaniac

As a personality, Ahmedinejad should be completely ignored.

By Howard Gardner | September 29, 2009; 05:40 AM ET | Comments (9)

Enough Surprises!

After half-a-century of conflict, let's do our homework this time, figuring out what we want and then going about the process of influencing the right people.

By Prudence Bushnell | September 28, 2009; 05:17 PM ET | Comments (6)

Undermining the Adversary

In every case of a menacing adversary, strategy matters. That means acting with others, picking the right moment to press the case, and looking for key openings to undermine the moral, financial or political authority of your opponent

By Andy Stern | September 28, 2009; 01:57 PM ET | Comments (1)

Stabbed in the Back

One of the great weaknesses of the West (and our allies) in dealing with Ahmedinejad is our inability to execute a mutually agreed-upon, coordinated strategy.

By Marshall Goldsmith | September 28, 2009; 01:45 PM ET | Comments (1)

Made Real by Contradictions

Ted Kennedy's contradictions made him seem real, and his consistencies made lasting change.

By Patricia McGinnis | August 30, 2009; 11:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Winning Over My Mother

I grew up in a family in which Ted Kennedy was regarded as the worst politician in America, but today even my mother -- now dependent on Medicare -- is grateful for his leadership.

By Paul Schmitz | August 28, 2009; 01:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Late Bloomer

His could have been a story of the misspent life of the younger son, but Teddy Kennedy found a way to turn his life around and become a true statesman.

By Deborah Ancona | August 28, 2009; 11:49 AM ET | Comments (6)

Leading From the Front

On issue after issue -- minimum wage, children's health care, immigration -- he kept focused on the goal, neither distracted by setbacks or deterred by delays.

By Andy Stern | August 28, 2009; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

An Example Sorely Lacking

Kennedy's ability, even his willingness, to collaborate with members of the opposing party set an example that is sorely lacking in Washington today.

By Yash Gupta | August 28, 2009; 11:41 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Kennedy 'Alumni' Association

Staff in Kennedy's office and committees were among the best in the business. This can become a self-perpetuating virtuous cycle, as great people invariably cite "quality of colleagues" as a key driver in employment decisions.

By Tom Monahan | August 27, 2009; 12:38 PM ET | Comments (1)

Consistency of Purpose

The warrior from Massachusetts reminds us that, to make things stick, the leader needs to stick to what matters.

By Barry Salzberg | August 27, 2009; 11:29 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Secret of Smart Staffers

The unspoken key to Senator Kennedy's leadership is this: He was never afraid to hire people on his staff who were smarter than he was.

By Alan M. Webber | August 27, 2009; 11:25 AM ET | Comments (5)

The Playboy, the Leader

A playboy, a womanizer, a child of "royalty" -- yet Ted Kennedy still grew and developed as a leader.

By Howard Gardner | August 27, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Keep On Plugging

All leaders can learn from his willingness to keep on working under difficult circumstances and to let go of his own "need to be right" in order to find meaningful compromise.

By Marshall Goldsmith | August 27, 2009; 11:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

From Lightweight to Leader

In his life journey, he responded to devastating family tragedy and personal failure by dedicating himself to further the common good.

By Michael Maccoby | August 27, 2009; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Passion Without Invective

The senator known earlier for his free-wheeling life became a study in serious commitment to transcendent issues.

By Mickey Edwards | August 27, 2009; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Persistent But Gracious

I vividly recall our meeting exactly 10 years ago when Medtronic was working to gain his support for an FDA reform bill -- Kennedy was a persistent but gracious negotiator.

By Bill George | August 27, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Breaking Through the Gardol Screen

Ted Kennedy lived and worked behind the screen of his family name until failure pushed him to find his authentic leadership style.

By Marty Linsky | August 27, 2009; 09:24 AM ET | Comments (11)

We Still Need Visionary Leaders

Shell-shocked from the recession, we may hope for cautious, careful leaders. But ultimately the leaders we need are bold visionaries -- Freud called them narcissists -- who create something new.

By Michael Maccoby | August 21, 2009; 06:05 AM ET | Comments (13)

'Precious' Advice

G.K Chesterton wrote there are three ways to enjoy leisure: "The first is being allowed to do something. The second is being allowed to do anything and the third (and perhaps most rare and precious) is being allowed to do nothing."

By Joanne B. Ciulla | August 13, 2009; 12:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Easy to Say, Hard to Do

It is an act of leadership for someone with significant responsibilities to "take care of yourself" rather than sacrifice your body for the cause. Unfortunately, as I pack my laptop for vacation, this is a case of "Do as I say...."

By Marty Linsky | August 13, 2009; 08:53 AM ET | Comments (4)

Single Dad and CEO

No leader I admire has every told me they wished they had worked harder and sacrificed their personal lives and families more for their work.

By Paul Schmitz | August 13, 2009; 08:25 AM ET | Comments (12)

Wilderness Mission Statement

Those of us who teach leadership in wilderness settings have wrestled with the communication question for decades. The answer is to choose the communication options that fit your mission.

By Rick Rochelle | August 12, 2009; 10:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Quitting Work Addiction

Taking vacations can be part of a larger discipline in "saying when" that includes eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and even napping.

By Robert Bruner | August 12, 2009; 10:37 AM ET | Comments (4)

Recess for a Reason

One need not be "plugged in" while on recess to continue learning and effectively do one's job.

By Slade Gorton | August 12, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Effectiveness, Not Exhaustion

Leaders need to free themselves periodically from work and associated stresses, and no one is too important to take a vacation.

By Yash Gupta | August 11, 2009; 12:31 PM ET | Comments (2)

Get a Real Vacation

If you're going to unplug and relax, make sure you arrange a vacation you'll actually enjoy.

By Michael Maccoby | August 11, 2009; 12:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

FedEx on the Beach

A first principle of leadership is to take care of yourself. That means making sure you are of sound mind and reasoned judgment.

By Michael Useem | August 11, 2009; 10:44 AM ET | Comments (1)

'Kill' the Leader

Solid succession planning means handing the reins to the next in charge and pulling yourself out of the daily rhythm of the business to allow others to lead.

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | August 11, 2009; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Worst Vacations

Some of the worst vacation experiences I've seen happened when leaders were unable to say to themselves and their families or friends, "Now is not the time for me to disconnect."

By Tom Monahan | August 11, 2009; 08:23 AM ET | Comments (3)

A Culture of "Busyness"

Good leaders create other leaders. Think about what it says to the next generation when leaders model workaholic tendencies.

By George Reed | August 11, 2009; 07:32 AM ET | Comments (2)

Not Whether But How

If a leader decides to take a longer break, whether clearing brush in Texas or going deep-sea fishing, as Harry Truman liked to do, the key is to not break the line of communication.

By Mickey Edwards | August 11, 2009; 07:26 AM ET | Comments (1)

Unplug So Others Can Too

If the leader can't unplug, nobody else will, and performance may suffer as a result.

By Barry Salzberg | August 11, 2009; 07:14 AM ET | Comments (12)

Relax or Else

Not only does the leader need to unplug and unwind, but the rest of the organization needs to know it can function well without the leader's constant presence, virtual or otherwise.

By Bob Schoultz | August 11, 2009; 07:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Threshold for Contact

To unwind you not only have to truly get away, but also need the peace of mind that issues will be properly managed -- including contact initiated when truly essential.

By John H. Cochran, MD | August 10, 2009; 01:51 PM ET | Comments (1)

A Safari Lesson

The reality in today's world is that leaders have to stay in touch with their organizations and with rapidly changing events on a 24/7 basis, even while on vacation.

By Bill George | August 10, 2009; 11:34 AM ET | Comments (9)

A Succession Test-Run

The only way to escape the rush of current events and to give potential successors an opportunity to fly solo in the top seat is to get away and let the leaders on the next level down run the outfit for a time.

By Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.) | August 10, 2009; 11:31 AM ET | Comments (1)

Find Your Philosophy

Put forth your own philosophy of recreation-and-renewal, apply it to the specific situation at hand, and remain as consistent as you can throughout the term of your leadership.

By Howard Gardner | August 10, 2009; 11:26 AM ET | Comments (1)

An Absolute Need

You cannot recharge the battery and use the energy at the same time.

By Andy Stern | August 10, 2009; 11:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

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