On Becoming a Leader

Warren Bennis is considered a pioneer in the field of leadership studies.  His books Leaders:  Strategies for Taking Charge and On Becoming a Leader have been translated into more than 20 languages.

In the latter book, Bennis notes that the leaders he’s interviewed agree on two points.  First, leaders are made, not born, and they “are made more by themselves than by any external means.”  Second, no one sets out to be a leader, but merely to express himself, freely and fully.  He distinguishes the second point from being driven, as many are, and leading, which few do.

Bennis writes that just because someone has the right ingredients doesn’t mean he or she will become a leader.  Motivation, type of character and luck all play a part.  His book On Becoming a Leader is a story of process, with no beginning, middle or end.  In his interviews with individuals in business, the media and arts, and others, he finds this story has many recurring themes:  the need for both formal and informal education, the need to unlearn, the need for reflection on what is learned, the need to take risks and the need to become competent and master the task at hand.

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