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Michael Useem
Scholar

Michael Useem

Michael Useem is Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Leadership and Change Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Archive: Michael Useem

What you get when you give power away

Not that we want any of the autocrats to retain state power. They should all consider packing their carry-on bags for a one-way trip to the Maldives. But if they had wanted create a reputational power...

By Michael Useem | February 22, 2011; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (8)

The brave: Salvatore Giunta

Staff Sergeant Salvatore A. Giunta represents the potential in all of us to take actions than transcend our self-interest when the moment requires the best from us...

By Michael Useem | December 22, 2010; 05:38 PM ET | Comments (2)

Appraise the past to build the future

There is no better avenue for swift strengthening of one's leadership than to uncompromisingly review the immediate past. If President Obama and his team can dissect what went well and what did not in the first two years, their leadership of the second two will be far better for...

By Michael Useem | November 1, 2010; 06:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Step up or step aside

Fred Smith founded Federal Express in 1971 - and he still runs it today with 280,000 employees.

By Michael Useem | June 8, 2010; 05:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

'Not in my term of office'

The art of leadership includes preparing for the unexpected. In an unpredictable world, that's more valuable than ever.

By Michael Useem | April 14, 2010; 09:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Patient leadership

If Obama's toughness appears autocratic, and if his patience suggests indecisiveness, his leadership will falter both at home and abroad.

By Michael Useem | March 16, 2010; 05:40 AM ET | Comments (3)

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)

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)

Surviving the Good Times

Given that we suffer from over-confidence when things are going well, company executives and directors can require a culture of caution and a mindset of continuous improvement.

By Michael Useem | September 15, 2009; 11:51 AM ET | Comments (1)

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)

Give a Billlion Dollars

With the banks' financial deficit erased with federal assistance, now is the time for their executives to also erase an enormous leadership deficit.

By Michael Useem | July 20, 2009; 12:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

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)

Governance Traditions

Short of a crisis, owners try to keep their hands off the operations they own. But well-established precedent shows that even hands-off owners must stay vigilant to ensure their mission is achieved.

By Michael Useem | June 1, 2009; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Critical Moments

On most days, what is good for our organizations is good for us too. But when collective purpose and self-interest diverge, that is when a person's leadership qualities are laid bare.

By Michael Useem | April 14, 2009; 07:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Officer Should Eat Last

When executives take pay cuts, it makes a more powerful statement about their leadership than words could ever convey.

By Michael Useem | March 16, 2009; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (2)

Fire Yourself

If you are doing the firing, take a moment to imagine you are on the receiving end. Such exercises in compassion, research shows, can lead to better practices.

By Michael Useem | February 9, 2009; 12:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Listen to the Team

Who can best evaluate leadershhip potential? According to research, it is a person's subordinates -- not the boss.

By Michael Useem | January 27, 2009; 08:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Optimism Paradox

For General Lee at Gettysburg, optimism turned out to be fatal. Every leader must balance the need for confidence with clear-eyed realism, and Obama tried to do that in his inauguration speech.

By Michael Useem | January 22, 2009; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Gifted Speaker

In his direct, sober, calm, deliberative, informed, uplifting, stirring and -- of course -- hopeful -- way, Obama displays naturally what many of us work painstakingly for: the gift of public speaking.

By Michael Useem | January 12, 2009; 01:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Decisions Without Reflection

Though sometimes mocked, Bush's description of himself as the chief "decider" captured a willingness to make tough decisions. Yet even the best decisions, when unreviewed, can become the worst mistakes.

By Michael Useem | January 6, 2009; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (2)

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)

Try the Warren Buffett Way

Even a hint of an ethical lapse can destroy a reputation of integrity. When scandal hit Salomon Brothers in 1991, Warren Buffett set a gold standard for restoring a culture of integrity.

By Michael Useem | December 15, 2008; 02:26 PM ET | Comments (1)

Learning From Missed Opportunities

Four leadership failures in GM's past paved the way for today's life-or-death crisis.

By Michael Useem | December 8, 2008; 07:41 PM ET | Comments (1)

 
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