Friday, June 3, 2011
On Leadershp: Bennis Post #6
Crucibles of Leadership by Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas (originally published in the HBR, 2002). Every great leader has had his or her butt kicked at least once, often many more times. The authors call such attention-getting incidents “crucibles” or transformative events. Interestingly, the Marine Corps (one of my alma maters) calls one of its basic training exercises ‘The Crucible’ (the rite of passage for Marines). Great leaders go through such crucibles and come out the other side, bruised, tried and “transformed.” The authors offer insights into these mostly unplanned but highly transformative crucibles. First, crucible experiences can lead to deep reflection by the leader. Second, crucibles come in different sizes and shapes. Some are more positive than others, but they all cause transformation. Finally, leaders learn how to: Engage others in shared meaning, develop a distinctive leadership voice, display integrity, and develop adaptive capacity.