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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

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Archive: Leadership

Voters don't know or care about the 'traditional process'

Currently most voters are unhappy with their lot and with the direction of the country. Accordingly, anyone in office, irrespective of what office or what they've done in office, will be on the defensive. Rest assured, no matter what they had done or not done, Fenty and Obama would be on easy street if unemployment were at 4%.

By Howard Gardner | September 15, 2010; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Top leaders must 'cultivate a unity of purpose'

The findings of the 2010 Best Places to Work survey are quite encouraging. They demonstrate that workers are, in fact, eager to support the top leaders in their organizations if given sufficient reason to do so. What that means from a management standpoint is that...

By Robert Goodwin | September 3, 2010; 10:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Direct managers are still key to productivity

The first question any leader should ask is "what am I trying to get done?" Generally with regard to human capital, there are three basic objectives: recruiting terrific people to the organization, getting the highest contribution out of the people I have, and engaging and retaining the high performers.

By Tom Monahan | September 1, 2010; 02:27 PM ET | Comments (1)

Don't underestimate the employee-supervisor bond

No one would question the importance of top management. But a recent study of the financial industry, undertaken by Harvard undergraduate Evelyn Chow, underscores the important role played by immediate supervisors...

By Howard Gardner | September 1, 2010; 01:32 PM ET | Comments (1)

Becoming a leader your team is proud of

If you're a top leader, you need to understand that your words and your behavior set the tone, the culture, and the values within your organization. If you seem distant and detached, the organization will take on...

By Yash Gupta | August 31, 2010; 01:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Middle managers just as critical as senior leaders

This year's Best Places to Work in federal government survey finds that top leadership has a stronger impact on worker satisfaction than immediate supervisors. At the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), however, various research projects over the years confirm that immediate supervisors also have a major influence on employee satisfaction and engagement...

By John R. Ryan | August 31, 2010; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (1)

Understanding the stakeholders

The key lesson for both public and private leaders is the significance of an in-depth understanding of their clogged cartography of stakeholders. For federal leaders especially, the media have to be among the top 5% of stakeholder salience. Why? Because their employees...

By Warren Bennis | August 31, 2010; 10:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Provide a narrative for your organization

A primary job of leaders in these organizations is to provide a sense of purpose, a narrative for what that organization stands for and how it contributes to making the world a better place. Their job is to...

By Sally Blount | August 31, 2010; 08:47 AM ET | Comments (2)

Leaders engage top to bottom

Managers at every level are often asked to do more and more with shrinking resources and escalating time frames. And it is for precisely those reasons that leaders at the top need to leverage the talents and skills of their people to allow them to think and do more to help the organization achieve its mission.

By John Baldoni | August 31, 2010; 08:39 AM ET | Comments (2)

Connecting everyone to the mission

The two key elements of all leadership are simply: 1) to connect everyone to the mission, and 2) to each other. Other aspects of leadership may be critical, but not as indispensable as these two. Connecting everyone to the mission takes identifying that mission. Only top leaders can do that. Only they can set the whole organization's direction, and give it meaning.

By Ken Adelman | August 31, 2010; 08:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Time is now for imam to speak on mosque

The motivation for leaders to speak varies. It might be a matter of conscience, the heat of political pressure, affiliation and loyalty to a group, an opportunity to influence, a chance to exploit the situation for personal gain, or just flagrant egotism. We have observed behavioral manifestations of all of these in the past year. The controversy over the Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque ...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | August 24, 2010; 02:54 PM ET | Comments (14)

Warren Bennis: Still surprising at 85

It is not an accident that Warren was chosen to lead other soldiers in battle when he was barely 20 years of age;that Warren's dissertation and first papers were widely acclaimed; that he was offered tenure at MIT at a tender age; and that he has an unequaled set of friends and admirers.

By Howard Gardner | August 11, 2010; 10:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

Compromise is not for sissies

Compromise is not for the faint of heart; it takes guts to work with people with whom you disagree. When the problems are significant, recall what Henry Ford once said. "Don't find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain."

By John Baldoni | July 8, 2010; 10:23 AM ET | Comments (2)

Salad days for our Senators

If they choose an old geezer, let 'em.

By Ken Adelman | June 29, 2010; 05:03 PM ET | Comments (1)

Federal fatwas not necessary

Elected leaders don't decide for themselves when to step down.

By West Point Cadets | June 29, 2010; 10:38 AM ET | Comments (14)

What the Founders rejected

In a democracy, the decisions of the voters, not arbitrary age limits, ought to control who serves in Congress.

By Kathryn Kolbert | June 29, 2010; 10:34 AM ET | Comments (4)

A term too long

Senator Byrd, like Senator Thurmond ahead of him, served at least one full term too long, both for the institution and for their states, mostly as a result of ego and/or record seeking.

By Slade Gorton | June 29, 2010; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (7)

No time for 'throw-away' leaders

If we identify leadership capacities as the primary criteria for judging an individual's ability to lead, we would have far more age diversity in the workplace and in public life.

By Katherine Tyler Scott | June 28, 2010; 03:14 PM ET | Comments (1)

Finding a place for wisdom

There should not be an age limit to leadership but there should be limits to service.

By John Baldoni | June 28, 2010; 03:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Test for competence

With improvements in medical science and in health generally, we need to be flexible about retirement ages.

By Howard Gardner | June 28, 2010; 02:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

Knowing when to move on

We'd probably lose more good leaders by imposing "term limits" than we would benefit by forcing some to go after some arbitrary period of time.

By Barry Posner | June 28, 2010; 02:48 PM ET | Comments (3)

Baron von Steuben's example

At Valley Forge, Baron Von Steuben quickly adjusted the Prussian training methods to meet the realities of non-professional force of colonial troops

By Col. Charles D. Allen | May 14, 2010; 05:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Not one of the 'old boys'

In 1960 when Elena Kagan was born, five of nine Supreme Court justices had no previous experience on the bench.

By Amy M. Wilkinson | May 12, 2010; 11:39 AM ET | Comments (9)

No time for a safe bet

Coming up the ranks traditionally may be safe. But we are not living in a safe world where safe still works.

By Columbia University students | May 12, 2010; 11:29 AM ET | Comments (0)

Infusing new blood

In nominating appellate court-outsider Elena Kagan, President Obama is sending the message that having good judgment -- rather than having actually served as a judge -- is the key quality for a justice.

By Robert Goodwin | May 11, 2010; 04:55 PM ET | Comments (1)

Entrepreneurship and sweat

There is no longer a set résumé for the modern military officer. The proper tonic simply seems to be a mixture of entrepreneurship and sweat. Same goes for our Supreme Court justices.

By West Point Cadets | May 11, 2010; 04:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Caring for society

A justice has to care about the law, but I think a justice also must care about society. Ms. Kagan's background in academia speaks to this requirement.

By Yash Gupta | May 11, 2010; 02:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

In praise of legal diversity

The idea that Justices "follow the law" and "don't make law" is silly. Yet this is the catechism that recent nominees have been forced to recite before the judiciary committee.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | May 11, 2010; 12:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

She can fill O'Connor's shoes

Being a Supreme Court Justice is a life-long calling. Elena Kagan has the experience, the "moxie," the devotion to pubic service, and intellectual fire power to follow in Sandra Day O'Connor's footsteps.

By Juana Bordas | May 11, 2010; 05:56 AM ET | Comments (1)

Want change? A woman can bring it

We go to outsiders when we want change, and when the change we want is for more of us to be insiders, we go to women.

By Marie Wilson | May 11, 2010; 05:44 AM ET | Comments (9)

'To unmask falsehood'

The clearer a nominee's views, the more controversial that nominee could become. See 'Bork, Robert' for elaboration.

By Ken Adelman | May 11, 2010; 05:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Sufficient intellectual gifts

Every Justice does not have to have the same background.

By Marshall Goldsmith | May 11, 2010; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The qualification of integrity

Numerous leaders have brought in new ideas, but failed in their inability to stay true to a core set of values or principles.

By Coro Fellows | May 11, 2010; 02:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

The diversity we need

The advantages of selecting a leader with non-traditional qualifications are the fresh perspectives they bring to familiar problems.

By Beth A. Brooke | May 10, 2010; 03:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Alan Mulally's example

Alan Mulally, who became CEO of Ford Motor Company after a career at Boeing, has engineered the company's turnaround. A savvy leader will be a quick study.

By John Baldoni | May 10, 2010; 03:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

A poor choice

Kagan's nomination reinforces a group already overwhelmingly composed of those from a single academic background that has given them not the slightest inkling of how the vast majority of Americans think and live.

By Slade Gorton | May 10, 2010; 02:56 PM ET | Comments (3)

Power of the outsider

Today, what truly qualifies a leader is the capacity to bring fresh eyes, a fresh voice, and a fresh point of view to his or her "organization" along with the smarts and expertise to be an unquestioned master of the organization's work.

By William C. Taylor | May 10, 2010; 01:25 PM 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)

More than just a liberal

I doubt that President Obama nominated her because she is a liberal; there are many judges far more liberal than Kagan.

By Bill George | May 10, 2010; 01:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Where does she stand?

There is however a substantial downside to having a nominee who has been neither a judge nor an elected official: a lack of familiarity with the nominee's views on some very important matters, including the limits of presidential power.

By Mickey Edwards | May 10, 2010; 01:08 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)

Kagan's symbolic choice

That act demonstrated her commitment to the highest standards of professional achievement, and it also signaled her commitment to the ongoing quest to achieve equal justice under law for all citizens regardless of race or gender.

By Kurt Schmoke | May 10, 2010; 12:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Not a contest

Authentic leadership is not a popularity contest. Nor should leadership be media driven - constantly responding to moment-by-moment reporting and second guessing.

By Juana Bordas | April 16, 2010; 11:23 AM ET | Comments (3)

Guided, not governed, by popularity

Because leaders often can't generate the results they seek without a broad base of support, they must always be attuned to the public sentiment to know when greater efforts at compromise or communication are required.

By Robert Goodwin | April 16, 2010; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Trust results, not applause

Leaders must find the right advisors for feedback they can focus on results and execute without being distracted by popular opinion and talking heads on TV.

By Lisa Larson | April 15, 2010; 02:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mom was right

After three years at West Point, as a witness to both inspiring and repulsive leadership styles, I've concluded that popularity is irrelevant.

By West Point Cadets | April 15, 2010; 12:53 PM ET | Comments (2)

'All glory is fleeting'

What military officers have in common with other leaders that reach celebrity status is that their celebrity status will eventually fade or come to an abrupt end.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | April 15, 2010; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (1)

Unforseen events

Elected leaders cannot always control the public's feelings about them. Often it's events that determine their popularity.

By Michael Maccoby | April 15, 2010; 12:07 PM ET | Comments (0)

Listen to the crowd

Tim Geithner and everyone else in a leadership position must be concerned about their level of support. Without followers, they aren't leaders.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | April 15, 2010; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Beating around the Bush

When popularity is high people are more inclined to follow and give you the benefit of the doubt -- even if you are wrong.

By Coro Fellows | April 15, 2010; 12:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Leadership, made in India

A new book argues that India has developed a unique style of leadership, whose four principles are holistic engagement of employees, improvisation and adaptability, creative value propositions and broad mission and purpose.

By John Baldoni | April 13, 2010; 12:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Gray Zone: West Point on Leadership

Very little about leadership is black and white, and these thirteen West Point Cadets are discovering how to become leaders of character. Who better to explore the gray areas of leadership than members of The Long Gray Line?

By West Point Cadets | March 22, 2010; 05:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Ben Franklin's Town-Hall Advice

Ben Franklin helped sealed the deal on the U.S. Constitution 222 years ago this week. How did he do it? By encouraging fellow citizens do something few do today on health care: Compromise.

By Ed Ruggero | September 10, 2009; 06:19 AM ET | Comments (23)

Raise Revenues First

How many successful CEOs can you name off the top of your head who weren't associated with massively increased revenues? It is the clearest sign for followers that you are succeeding as a leader.

By Roger Martin | August 24, 2009; 08:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Be a Fear Fighter

At this point, President Obama should be fighting the public fear of health-care reform - not using fear to discipline his party.

By Joanne B. Ciulla | August 21, 2009; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (10)

Respect, Not Fear

Leaders need to be respected by people, who know that they will be held accountable for their results by their leaders.

By Bill George | August 20, 2009; 06:33 AM ET | Comments (2)

Finding the Right Sticks

Orchestrating the right incentives, both positive and negative, and holding people accountable for results, will allow President Obama to effect change we can all believe in.

By Robert Goodwin | August 19, 2009; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Wistful for W.'s Resolve

Whether or not you liked George W. Bush, you have to concede that he often showed resolve. You don't see a lot of resolve in President Obama when he speaks about policies.

By Yash Gupta | August 18, 2009; 01:05 PM ET | Comments (53)

Not If But When

Any new president faces that challenge of being at times loved and other times feared, this president is no different.

By Andy Stern | August 18, 2009; 01:00 PM ET | Comments (3)

Not a Dictatorship

Our president's role should not be to "punish" people who stand up for their own interests - or to threaten members of Congress.

By Marshall Goldsmith | August 18, 2009; 12:56 PM ET | Comments (1)

Fear of Failure

In American institutions -- whether government with President Obama, or business with the CEO -- fear of an individual doesn't instill that much fear.

By Ken Adelman | August 18, 2009; 12:52 PM ET | Comments (4)

'Rahm-ing' It Through

President Obama can resort to a Machiavellian '"stick" approach or he can attempt to educate or inspire the country to a different model of how to do business.

By Howard Gardner | August 18, 2009; 12:44 PM ET | Comments (1)

Silent Sabotage

One who bullies, is arbitrary, or otherwise instills fear, is more likely to breed failure than success and may well stir resentment that can lead to betrayal or silent sabotage.

By Mickey Edwards | August 18, 2009; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Non-Existent Whip

Leadership at this level is persuasiveness in selling sound policy, not cracking a non-existent whip. And all the more so with the private sector.

By Slade Gorton | August 18, 2009; 12:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

Credibility, Not Threats

If President Obama demonstrates skill in getting his way and gains credibility as a leader to be reckoned with, fear won't be necessary.

By Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.) | August 18, 2009; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (2)

Utter Nonsense

We don't need mountains of research to understand this basic truth: We will work harder and more effectively for people we like. And we will like them in direct proportion to how they make us feel.

By Barry Posner | August 18, 2009; 12:09 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Political Disciplinarian

Everyone gets to save face when the trip to the proverbial woodshed is a private affair.

By Ed Ruggero | August 18, 2009; 11:56 AM ET | Comments (1)

Even Pickett's Charge

Even the men who died in combat at Gettysburg's horrific struggle were led into battle by leaders who used inspiration rather than intimidation.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | August 18, 2009; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (3)

No Place for Intimidation

I categorically reject the notion that the leader should be feared in addition to being admired, trusted and respected.

By Col. Michael E. Haith (Ret.) | August 18, 2009; 11:36 AM ET | Comments (23)

Not in the Quiver

Fear won't work for this president at this this time because those Blue Dog Democrats and some Republicans are fearful but not of the president.

By Warren Bennis | August 18, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Unripe Moment

The fear factor for many in Congress at this point is voter retribution not presidential retribution.

By Kurt Schmoke | August 18, 2009; 10:24 AM ET | Comments (8)

Negative Incentives Needed

The Obama team should now be at work charting what incentives, positive and negative, they can use with Democrats who are on the fence about voting for health-care reform

By Michael Maccoby | August 18, 2009; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (2)

Moving Past the 'Anti-Bush'

Consistency is a virtue for good management. Unpredictability is a virtue for successful leadership.

By Marty Linsky | August 18, 2009; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Will They Come When You Call? Shakespeare's Leadership Challenge

Most businesses are like large volunteer organizations: The best employees have lots of alternatives. The task of the leader is to win their hearts and minds to rally around a common vision, and no one outlines that task more clearly than Shakespeare.

By Robert Bruner | July 21, 2009; 02:38 PM ET | Comments (13)

Ten Minutes of Snow-Capped Solitude

Honest Tea CEO Seth Goldman reconnects with fellow leaders from around the world at the Aspen Institute's ACT II conference -- and rediscovers "the shortness of life."

By Seth Goldman | June 25, 2009; 11:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

Video Transcript: Mandalay CEO Peter Guber on Leadership

Peter Guber, CEO and Chair of Mandalay Entertainment Group, answered questions for On Leadership after he spoke at the 2009 Wharton Leadership Conference. WATCH THE VIDEO: Why Story Is the "Secret Sauce" What movie taught you the most about leadership?...

By Andrea Useem | June 24, 2009; 09:12 PM ET | Comments (1)

Share Your Challenges

The more successful leaders I have observed do not tell stories of their great accomplishments, but rather of their personal and professional challenges.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | June 12, 2009; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

Transparency Needed

We are shaped by our past. The question is how aware are we of our filters and biases and how they influence the choices we make.

By Gail S. Williams | June 11, 2009; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bonds of Trust

Sotomayor must build bonds of trust with her constituents, based on the expectation that she will follow the Constitution and bring to her deliberations a deep knowledge of the law and an understanding of people who face hardships and barriers as she has.

By Patricia McGinnis | June 11, 2009; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

Their Stories Are Our Stories

Sonia Sotomayor's story reflects not only her biography, but American history. Like Obama, she inspires us to reflect on her achievements, knowing that her pathways to success were forged by the devotion of millions during the civil and women's rights movements of the 1960's.

By Elizabeth Sherman | June 10, 2009; 04:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Objective Interpretation

It's fine for elected officials to use their personal histories in campaigns. However, prospective justices should not boast about their pasts-their job is to interpret the law and the Constitution objectively.

By Slade Gorton | June 9, 2009; 05:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

We've Lost Authenticity

Crossing the line between selectively opening windows into personality and clear manipulation will send a public official tumbling down into the seventh circle of political hell, Spin City.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | June 9, 2009; 10:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

An Unwise Boast

Sonia Sotomayor's statement about her background was a boast to an audience that shared her Latina identity, not an explanation of her convictions.

By Michael Maccoby | June 9, 2009; 06:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

On Being "Path Dependent"

Personal stories are more authentic -- and appear more authentic -- than stories about other people, such as the "welfare queens" demonized by Ronald Reagan.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | June 9, 2009; 06:33 AM ET | Comments (1)

Roosevelt's Story

If you consider American presidents of this and the past century, almost all of our successful ones had a strong narrative which the public could identify with and made them feel understood.

By Warren Bennis | June 9, 2009; 06:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Personal With a Purpose

Leaders need to connect to people, to move them, and if you are going after their hearts, you have to display some of yours as well.

By Marty Linsky | June 9, 2009; 06:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Built on Experience

Background, beliefs, and aspirations help form the character of a leader. By sharing personal history, leaders such as President Obama and Judge Sotomayor reveal their humanity.

By Yash Gupta | June 9, 2009; 06:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Biography Is Not Destiny

Learning about a leader's personal history can us understand them, but a problem arises when we make predictions about a person's decision-making solely based on their personal history.

By Kurt Schmoke | June 8, 2009; 02:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Pride Without Put-Downs

Leaders who share their personal history can "humanize" themselves, yet it is important to focus on what you learned from that background without "putting down" someone else who has had a different background.

By Marshall Goldsmith | June 8, 2009; 02:34 PM ET | Comments (1)

Convey Your Character

If personal histories are perceived as self-serving or conceited, all is lost. If received as a window on an appealing temperament, much can be gained.

By Michael Useem | June 8, 2009; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Beyond "Boxers or Briefs"

The best leaders are good communicators, and the best communicators use stories to help others see and share a vision of the future.

By Ed Ruggero | June 8, 2009; 11:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Judge's Special Obligation

Ironically, by emphasizing Judge Sotomayor's personal history, the Obama administration and her supporters have created controversy that need not exist.

By Mickey Edwards | June 8, 2009; 10:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Making a Virtue of Necessity

It is telling that the personal histories prove more salient in the case of women and minorities than in the case of white males, where it should be equally relevant.

By Howard Gardner | June 8, 2009; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (1)

We Need Life Stories

Our lives form a story of who we are, the road we traveled, the experiences that shaped us and our dreams and aspirations. Successful leaders draw upon these aspects of their lives to help others understand their thinking and to offer a glimpse of their humanity.

By Andy Stern | June 8, 2009; 10:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Most Natural Impulse

Voters want to like, not just respect, their leaders; this requires politicians to reveal parts of themselves they might prefer to keep private.

By Paul R. Portney | June 8, 2009; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Does Competence Trump Charisma?

People skills, or charisma, are as important as competence when it comes to being a great leader.

By Thomas S. Bateman | June 1, 2009; 12:12 PM ET | Comments (6)

Steve Jobs Is Not Dull: Why Context Matters in CEO Success

David Brooks has joined a parade of thinkers who endorse the idea that the best CEOs are "dull," self-effacing conscientious folks. In fact, context matters, and some business leaders need charisma, just as political leaders also need strategy.

By Michael Maccoby | May 22, 2009; 12:53 PM ET | Comments (10)

Leading in an Unstable World

Politics are increasingly shaping our lives -- from where we get our oil to who owns our banks -- and business-decision makers and other leaders must become more savvy about political risks, especially as the destabilizing effects of financial crisis unfold around the world.

By Ian Bremmer | March 24, 2009; 03:39 PM ET | Comments (5)

Michael Bloomberg

He represents the best of leadership in the modern era, demonstrating how business, government and philanthropy can reinforce one another.

By Roger Martin | January 5, 2009; 11:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

George W. Bush -- Not

We can only hope he won't write a book about leadership in his retirement.

By Abraham Zaleznik | January 2, 2009; 08:09 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Parents Circle-Family Forum

Leadership not always the work of a single individual, and the Parents Circle-Family Forum, which brings together bereaved Palestinians and Israelis, has provided hope where there was none before.

By Kathy Kretman | January 2, 2009; 07:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Vote for the Best Leader of 2008

Our panelists (and commenters) have made their nominations, now it's your turn to vote.

By Ben Bradlee and Steve Pearlstein | December 31, 2008; 12:08 PM ET | Comments (4)

Abraham Lincoln

In 2008, everyone from President-elect Obama to my wife's ten-year-old nephew was talking about Abraham Lincoln's leadership. Why? Because he still calls us to aspire.

By Ed Ruggero | December 31, 2008; 11:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

No one

Let's face it: 2008 was a year of utter leader-less-ness. Who in the private sector or public sector saw the economy unraveling and rallied the nation? No one.

By Alan M. Webber | December 31, 2008; 10:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Quiet Leaders

While celebrating great public figures like President-Elect Obama and General Petraeus, we should recognize that some of the best leaders toil in obscurity and would be embarrassed by our praise.

By George Reed | December 30, 2008; 04:03 PM ET | Comments (1)

Defense Sec. Bob Gates

He deftly maneuvered through bureaucratic challenges, while avoiding the mistake many new CEOs make: trying to completely overhaul their institutions all at once.

By Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.) | December 30, 2008; 03:48 PM ET | Comments (1)

Father Richard Frechette

Perhaps the best leaders of 2008 have avoided self-advertisement, and one of these is a priest-physician who leads by example in caring for Haiti's poor.

By Michael Maccoby | December 30, 2008; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (2)

Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon

Maddon brought his team out their 2007 basement to win the 2008 World Series, all while keeping costs low and demonstrating candor, taste and plain common sense.

By Warren Bennis | December 30, 2008; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (1)

Walmart CEO Lee Scott

At a time when short-term thinkers led the U.S. to the brink of disaster, Scott increased market share for Walmart while working through tough human-resource issues and grooming a capable successor.

By Bill George | December 30, 2008; 10:21 AM ET | Comments (7)

Penn State Coach Joe Paterno

After nearly six decades of coaching, Paterno has produced outstanding football teams for longer than many other leaders have been alive.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | December 30, 2008; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (1)

Gen. David Petraeus, with runners-up

General David Petraeus has brilliantly redefined the war-on-terrorism strategy to mean engagement with the Muslim world. Runners-up are: Australian PM Kevin Rudd, British PM Gordon Brown and Bill Richardson.

By Marty Linsky | December 30, 2008; 10:03 AM ET | Comments (3)

Columnist Tom Friedman

Rather than responding to issues in a canned 'liberal' or 'conservative' voice, he actually thinks!

By Marshall Goldsmith | December 30, 2008; 09:58 AM ET | Comments (17)

Gen. David Petraeus

He articulated a clear vision, built a team, inspired subordinates and colleagues, implemented a coherent plan, and produced notable results that could lead to a better Middle East.

By Walter F. Ulmer, Jr. | December 29, 2008; 05:54 PM ET | Comments (1)

An Accepting Boss

Let's face it - we have all been a little naughty and Santa has still come through for us!

By Marshall Goldsmith | December 23, 2008; 03:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Mrs. Claus Factor

Santa reports to Mrs. Claus, a collaborative leader and abstract thinker who continues to teach him everything he knows about leading through networks, infectious laughter, generosity and the power of love.

By Patricia McGinnis | December 23, 2008; 11:37 AM ET | Comments (1)

Piloting His Own Sled

Santa is a model for CEOs. Not only does he inspire hardworking employees and happy customers while promoting niceness, but he also turns down the corporate jet in favor of doing the hard flying work himself.

By Michael Maccoby | December 23, 2008; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Regulation-Free Leadership

Is Santa FAA-licensed? Do his elves wear safety goggles? Free of regulation, Santa gets the job done.

By Norm R. Augustine | December 22, 2008; 02:33 PM ET | Comments (3)

The Failed Leader We Love

A cartoonish micro-manager who exploits his employees, Santa makes all the wrong leadership moves -- and yet we still value and love him.

By Michael Useem | December 22, 2008; 11:11 AM ET | Comments (2)

Santa in the Knowledge Economy

Today's economy requires a collegial, supportive work environment. A workplace where colleagues laugh and call a co-worker names, while excluding him from "other reindeer games," just won't cut it.

By Roger Martin | December 22, 2008; 11:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

Santa in Sad Times

With the sad state of the economy, even Santa doesn't have a chance.

By Abraham Zaleznik | December 22, 2008; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

Santa's Leadership Essentials

Santa has the magic quality no great leader can do without.

By Warren Bennis | December 22, 2008; 10:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

Santa Has It Figured Out

Forget about all the process details. He always delivers!

By Walter F. Ulmer, Jr. | December 22, 2008; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Level 5 Leader

Santa demonstrates an "unwavering resolve to do whatever must be done to produce the best long-term results, no matter how difficult."

By John H. Cochran, MD | December 22, 2008; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (0)

Santa for CEO

Santa is the leader we need: He's contagiously happy, he keeps it simple, and he knows that quality matters.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | December 22, 2008; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (1)

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