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Warren G. Bennis
1925 -

Distinguished Professor of Business Administration and founding Chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California, former president of the University of Cincinatti and faculty member at Harvard and Boston Universities and at Massacheusetts Institute of Technology, author or editor of more than 20 books on leadership, change, and management, including Organizing Genius


In order for an organization to have integrity, it just have an identity--that is a sense of who it is and what it has to do.

1985 - from Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge
Predictability yields trust. Establish a direction and then stay the course.

1985 - from Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge
Leaders manage trust. The main determinant of trust is reliability, what I call constancy. A recent study showed that people would much rather follow individuals they can count on, even when they disagree with their viewpoints, than people they agree with but who shift positions frequently. I can not emphasize enough the significance of constancy and focus. Leaders must be constant, focused, and all of a piece.

1989 - from "Why Leaders Can't Lead"
Managers do things right. Leaders do the right thing.

1985 - from Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge
The liberal style of negotiation, of splitting differences, of bringing people together to iron out differences, will work during a time of shared values, but not in charged and polarized times. It is one thing to negotiate differences when the stakes are only economic; it is another thing to negotiate between morally antithetical viewpoints.

1989 - from "Why Leaders Can't Lead"
An unconscious conspiracy in contemporary society prevents leaders from taking charge and making changes. Within any organization, an entrenched bureaucracy with a commitment to the status quo undermines the leader. Social forces such as the increasing tension between individual rights and the common good, for example, discourage the emergence of leaders. ... Each individual feels helpless to affect anything beyond the immediate environment and so retreats into an ever-contracting private world--a phenomenon that manifests itself among the affluent as "cocooning." People don't dream, and people without a dream are less easily inspired by a leader's vision.

1989 - from "Why Leaders Can't Lead"
[Leaders] provide direction and meaning... generate and sustain trust... display a bias towards action, risk-taking and curiosity... [and] are purveyors of hope.

Jan. 1997 - from "The Secrets of Great Groups", published by the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Non-Profit Management
Failing organizations are usually over-managed and under-led.

quoted in Leadership 101: Inspirational Quotes and Insights for Leaders by John Maxwell