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38 Fabulous Warren Bennis Quotes

Warren Bennis was a scholar and organizational consultant widely known for his work in the contemporary field of leadership studies. Authoring and co-authoring in more than 30 books, Bennis is widely recognized for his bestseller, ‘Leaders’ and ‘On Becoming a Leader.’ Here is a look at some of the most notable Warren Bennis quotes ever recorded.

“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it is also that difficult.”

“Charisma is the result of effective leadership, not the other way around.”

“Emotional intelligence, more than any other factor, more than I.Q. or expertise, accounts for 85% to 90% of success at work… I.Q. is a threshold competence. You need it, but it doesn’t make you a star. Emotional intelligence can.”

“Excellence is a better teacher than mediocrity. The lessons of the ordinary are everywhere. Truly profound and original insights are to be found only in studying the exemplary.”

“Failing organizations are usually over-managed and under-led.”

“Followers who tell the truth, and leaders who listen to it, are an unbeatable combination.”

“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery.”

“Growing other leaders from the ranks isn’t just the duty of the leader, it’s an obligation.”

“I am reminded how hollow the label of leadership sometimes is and how heroic followership can be.”

“I used to think that running an organization was equivalent to conducting a symphony orchestra. But I don’t think that’s quite it; it’s more like jazz. There is more improvisation.”

“I’d always rather err on the side of openness. But there’s a difference between optimum and maximum openness, and fixing that boundary is a judgment call.”

“In life, change is inevitable. In business, change is vital.”

“Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right.”

“Leaders do not avoid, repress, or deny conflict, but rather see it as an opportunity”

“Leaders keep their eyes on the horizon, not just on the bottom line.”

“Leaders learn by leading, and they learn bestby leading in the face of obstacles. As weather shapes mountains, problems shape leaders.”

“Leaders must encourage their organizations to dance to forms of music yet to be heard.”

“Leadership has become a heavy industry. Concern and interest about leadership development is no longer an American phenomenon. It is truly global. Though I will probably be in less demand, I wanted to move on.”

“Leadership is like beauty – it’s hard to define but you know it when you see it.”

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”

“Learning to be an effective leader is no different than learning to be an effective person. And that’s the hard part.”

“People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out.”

“Recognize the skills and traits you don’t possess, and hire the people who have them.”

“Taking charge of your own learning is a part of taking charge of your life, which is the sine qua non in becoming an integrated person.”

“The art of leadership is knowing how much information you’re going to pass on – to keep people motivated and to be as honest, as upfront, as you can. But, boy, there really are limits to that.”

“The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.”

“The leader…is rarely the brightest person in the group. Rather they have extraordinary taste, which makes them more curators than creators. They are appreciators of talent and nurturers of talent and they have the ability to recognize valuable ideas.”

“The learning person looks forward to failure or mistakes. The worst problem in leadership is basically early success.”

“The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.”

“The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.”

“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born…”

“There are two ways of being creative. One can sing and dance. Or one can create an environment in which singers and dancers flourish.”

“There is a profound difference between information and meaning.”

“To become a leader, then, you must become yourself, become the maker of your own life.”

“Trust is the emotional glue that binds followers and leaders together.”

“Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.”

“Trust resides squarely between faith and doubt.”

“You are your own raw material. When you know what you consist of and what you want to make of it, then you can invent yourself.”

Here is a special series with Warren Bennis, Chairman of the CPL advisory board and University Professor at USC as he speaks about the future of leadership.

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