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Warren Bennis A Look At A Leader In Management

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Running head: LOOK AT A LEADER

Warren Bennis: A Look at A Leader in Management

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Abstract

This study will begin with a look at the life of Warren Bennis and gives some personal history on him. Then it will move on to some of the specific items he gave the business world such as: the 4 factors that any good manager must have, the seven attributes that are essential to excellent leaders, six competencies to successfully meet the needs of the people they lead, and the many literary works that Bennis has written. Also a look is taken at criticisms of Bennis. One example of this is if Bennis claims that good management can not be taught then why is he writing so many books about good management. This study will also look at why Bennis is nationally recognized.

Warren Bennis: A Look at A Leader in Management

This study of Warren Bennis has proven to be very interesting. He has many accomplishments, and he has written many books. This paper reviews many different areas of his life such as: where he came from, what he did before teaching, and some of the many books he has written. Bennis is a wonderful example of any one who wishes to be a more efficient leader or just a better person. Even with Bennis' lack of corporate experience he still has an awesome understanding of the business world and also of some of the best leadership theories. This shows that anyone can master anything with hard work no matter what the situation.

Dr. Warren Bennis is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Southern California (USC), in specific, Marshall School of Business. He is the founding Chairman of the Leadership Institute of USC, and has been teaching there since 1979. Other than USC, he has experience teaching at Harvard and Boston University, and was President of the University of Cincinnati from 1971- 1978. He has consulted for Fortune 500 companies, 150 CEOs, numerous corporations, the United Nation, and has advised four U.S. Presidents: Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Reagan.

He was born on March 8, 1925 in New York City, New York. He joined the Army during World War II, and after he returned from war, he attended Antioch College at Antioch. While he was in school, he fell under the influence of his mentor, who was Antioch College President Douglas McGregor, also known as the founder of the School of Industrial Psychology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Bennis may not have been persuaded to attend MIT, if it was not for his mentor. He earned a Ph.D. in Economics and Social Science while he attended MIT. In addition, throughout his lifetime he was married twice, and during these two marriages he was blessed with two sons and a daughter.

According to Thinkers50, Bennis has said to be one of the top business gurus of our time because of his distinctive contributions to the leadership world. Because of his military experience, Bennis practices what he preaches, gaining the trust of business people for the past 30 years ("Warren Bennis," 2003).The Washington Speakers Bureau discussed the study Bennis conducted on 90 American leaders. His study ended with the conclusion that a good leader must exhibit four factors: vision, meaning, trust, and deployment of self. His research also provided seven attributes that are essential to excellent leadership. These contributes consist of technical competence, conceptual skill, judgment, character, track record, people skills, and taste ("Warren Bennis: Renowned...," 2005).

According to Bennis, not only are leaders supposed to have these attributes but they should be equipped with six competencies to successfully meet the needs of the people they lead. These six competencies include creating a sense of mission, engage and motivate others, build an adaptive and agile social architecture, generate and sustain trust, develop leaders, and get results. He suggests that after accomplishing this, it will provide people with a sense of purpose and vision of what they have done in the past and what they plan to do in the future. Through this, Bennis hopes to generate action toward risk, curiosity, and courage (Bennis, 1999). Bennis' goal is to help leaders build meaning and direction, trust, hope and optimism, and results ("Warren Bennis: Renowned...," 2005).

Although many people or readers believe that he is a genius in subject of leadership, some still find problems or disagreements with his principles. Bennis has listed numerous qualities of leader in his books. Bennis (1989) says that the ingredients of leadership cannot be taught. If that is true, then what is the point of him trying to write books on how to become a good leader? Bennis includes a lot of stories in his books as an example to prove his points. For instance, he gives an illustration of entertainment industry or feminist organizations etc. as an example of strong organizational leadership ("Leader to Leader," 1999). Many people believe these organizations as a bad source of example and believe that he should use different industries, political organizations, military, etc. to describe strong leadership principles. Likewise in his book "On Becoming a Leader", he mentions that Hitler was a bad leader. Many of his readers do not agree with this viewpoint. Many people believe that just because Hitler was horrific and evil does not mean he was not a bad leader. Bennis (1989) also mentions that if only we could go back to the good old days, most of the things were better than now. He emphasizes that old days when people like Kennedy or Lincoln were there, the world was better place to live because there was less scandal in politics, business and daily life. His perspective on this seems to be untrue as there were lots of political corruption

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