Read articles by Alan Cutler:
'Growing Hospitality Leaders'
'Be the Full Jigsaw'
'The Lonely Leader'
'Action Learning for Senior
'Reap the Rewards of
Read articles by John Adair:
'In Pursuit of a Global Leadership Strategy'
'Why Does leadership Training Fail?'
'The Rise of the New Leader'
'Developing Tomorrow's Leaders'
Or click on the links below for links to over 80 other leadership articles from internationally-recognised
leadership thinkers, including Warren Bennis, Charles Handy, R Moss Kanter, Tom Peters and John Adair
The Men Behind the Guns of Business
A few notable successes have been made in the industrial world through what is known as the "one man organization." But I
believe that in the great majority of cases it is the men you choose as subordinates who make your success.
Are You A Leader or a Manager?
When you become a leader, you take on a great responsibility: you promise to change the world for the better. Explore these leadership
competencies and discover the difference between leading and managing.
A Disciplined Sixth Sense
seat-of-the-pants intuition and rigorous discipline to get the job done.
The Focus of Leadership
American newspaper commentator Walter Lippmann defined leaders as "the custodians of a nation's ideals, the beliefs it
cherishes, of its permanent hopes, of the faith which makes a nation out of a mere aggregation of individuals"
General Douglas MacArthur’s Principles of Leadership
John Gardner, in his book On Leadership described Douglas MacArthur as a brilliant strategist, a farsighted
administrator, and flamboyant to his fingertips. MacArthur developed a list of questions to guide him in his leadership duties. These
principles can be applied to any leadership situation.
The Nelson’s Bakers Dozen
Tom Peters thought he had read most everything there was to read about Lord Horatio Nelson. And then in late
2004, he came across Andrew Lambert’s Nelson: Britannia’s God of War. The book races on for hundreds of thrilling pages. But
pragmatist that he is, he decided to extract a handful of principles and call them The Nelson Baker’s
Courage in the
Ray Blunt discusses the need for courage in public
organizations. Employees in most organizations wish for, but rarely have, leaders with the courage to make tough decisions, speak the
truth about performance, and speak truth to power.
Accountability: A Little Clarity,
understand that accountability is consequences for one's actions, and that it is critical to effective unit/organizational functioning.
Notwithstanding this awareness, many leaders have great difficulty exercising proper accountability.
Build Up Your
Commander Mike Abrashoff's success in turning the USS Benfold
into the best ship in the Pacific Fleet (if not the entire U.S. Navy) is detailed in this article which is inspiring because it includes a
rare combination of 1) compelling stories; 2) clearly measurable results, and 3) actionable tips.
Reframing the Conversation on
This speech by Assistant Secretary of State for Administration
Bill Eaton outlines the management philosophy that has launched a major transformation of administrative services at State. This is a
great story of quality, innovation, performance measurement, and leadership.
Ambassador Prudence Bushnell has made a career out of doing the
right thing. This inspiring article describes two key events that defined Bushnell as a great leader. The first was her
courageous, and rather solitary, effort to stop the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
Second was her leadership as U.S. Ambassador to Nairobi
, which was crucial to holding together the Embassy staff in the
aftermath of the 1998 bombing by Al Qaeda.
Public managers often complain that they don't have time to
think about the long-term goals of this organization because they are so busy fighting fires, dealing with daily crises. This article
outlines strategies that managers can use to work towards long-term goals while dealing with the press of day-to-day operational
The Essence of
Pete Smith delivered this inspiring speech on leadership before
the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration on April 28, 2004. It
includes numerous quotes, stories, and astute observations from his decades of observing senior leaders in the public and private
This very thoughtful essay by Eliot A. Cohen touches on many
aspects of leadership, including cross-cultural leadership, military leadership, and the "dark side of leadership."
Learning to Lead, Part
This terrific article by Major General Perry M. Smith (USAF,
Ret.) outlines 30 insightful tips for leaders at all levels, including such refreshing ideas as "Criticize Up, Praise Down," "Protect
Innovators," and "Squint with your Ears."
Learning to Lead, Part
This article has 30 more excellent leadership tips from Major
General Perry M. Smith. Includes ideas like "Don't Spend too Much Time with the Malcontents," "Don't Allow Yourself to Become a Wind
Chime, and "Be a Blame Acceptor."
The first few months in a new leadership position are
absolutely critical to a leader's success in that position, argues Michael Watkins. He outlines seven common traps that leaders fall into
during the transition period that can seriously undermine their chances of success.
Notes from a Reflective Practitioner of
Ellen Schall served as Commissioner of the Department of
Juvenile Justice in New York City from 1983 to 1990 and was credited for turning what had been a fairly troubled agency into an
innovative and highly effective organization. In this article, Schall provides a superb overview of the strategies she used with respect
to frontline workers and organizational structure to bring about profound change.
Creating an Innovative
In this article from State and Local Government Review, Bob
Behn distills lessons from several of the innovative and high-performance government organizations he has studied. He starts with the
premise that "[creative organizations] are created by leaders who establish the conditions necessary to bring out the innovative ideas within
Tom Ridge Speech on
On February 11, 2004,
Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge gave this excellent speech on leadership at the Harvard Business
School . Includes insights into his leadership style and how he is trying to apply it at
Leadership Lessons from the
Dr. Elachi, Director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
describes how NASA grooms employees for the kinds of high-stress leadership roles required for managing space missions.
When General Bill Creech took command of the US Air Force's
Tactical Air Command (TAC ) in 1978, the organization was in dire straits. In his six years in charge General
Creech orchestrated an extraordinary turnaround that ultimately swept through the rest of the Air Force and many other parts of the U.S. Armed
Forces. Many people credit Creech's leadership, management reforms, and tactical innovations for the USAF's dominance in the Gulf War,
and Iraq .
Creating Leadership for the Twenty-First
According to Bob Behn, top-down administrative "fixes" designed
to enhance government performance never work as designed because they fail to account for the human factor. So the most effective way to
improve performance, he argues, is to help front-line supervisors develop the leadership skills they need to drive performance to higher
levels. Professor Behn makes several excellent suggestions for how to do this.
Their Best Friend At
Diane Marinacci of the General Services Administration has
built a high-performance team by putting an unusual amount of effort into the hiring process and using a variety of management practices that
foster teamwork and make it clear to her staff that she really cares about them.
Senior government executives have a vital role to play in
growing the next generation of leaders, argues Ray Blunt in this highly useful article. Blunt describes how stories can help executives
pass leadership lessons on to the next generation in a vivid way. Includes tips on how to identify one's own leadership
What We've Learned About
This is a fascinating article from the City Journal about how
Police Commissioner William Bratton transformed the NYPD in the mid-1990s. Using innovative management practices and superb data mining
techniques, Bratton improved morale and got the police to focus on crime prevention instead of arrest rates.
This is an inspirational article about D. Michael Abrashoff,
the former Captain of the USS Benfold, who turned the navy's 200 year-old management style on its head while transforming his ship into
the best ship in the Pacific Fleet.
Leadership in the
Servant leader Ray Blunt has found that one of the greatest
challenges we face in government is how to develop leaders of character. As Abraham Lincoln once observed, "if you really want to test a
man's character, give him power."
Quotations from Chairman Powell: A Leadership
This article, by Oren Harari, became an instant classic and has
been widely disseminated. The response to this article prompted Harari to write a follow-up book, in which he significantly expands on
the 18 principles outlined in this article.
A Culture of Commitment
What's the secret to
building a great organization? How do you sustain consistent growth, profits, and service in an industry that can literally change
Aligning Action and Values
nowhere near enough time trying to align their organizations with the values and visions already in place.
integrity are at the core of successful leadership. These character traits are primarily learned, not innate. And no matter what your past or
present, cultivating their role in your life can make your future bolder, more decisive and more successful.
Doing a Job
Admiral Hyman Rickover (1900-1986), the “Father of the Nuclear
Navy,” was one of the most successful, and controversial, public managers of the 20th Century. This article is an excerpt from a speech
Rickover delivered at Columbia University in 1982, in
which he succinctly outlined his management philosophy.
Do You Have the Will to Lead?
Koestenbaum poses the truly big questions: How do we act when risks seem overwhelming? What does it mean to be a successful human being?
It takes a strong stomach to listen to how other people see
So what are we to
make of this plethora of personal coaches who've suddenly swarmed the corporate landscape, promising to help executives organize their lives,
orchestrate their careers, and define their dreams?
Leaders and Followers
It is only natural
that not everyone becomes a leader; however, those who follow will no longer accept old fashioned leaders, full of authoritative ideas and who
impose new management techniques on others.
Learning to Lead
An ambitious CIO
seeking new ways to lead finds a new perspective on life.
Lessons of Presidential Leadership
There are as many
styles of leadership as there are leaders. That is evident simply by looking at the 42 men who have reached the highest office in the
organization to constructive change begins by setting a direction-developing a vision of the future (often the distant future) along with
strategies for producing the changes needed to achieve that vision.
Motivational Management - Developing Leadership
In this article, an
expert management consultant examines qualities of managers who motivate, providing proven techniques to inspire those who work for
Teaching Johnny to Lead
It's easy to talk
about developing leaders. Turning that talk into action is hard. Here's how you can do it.
The Art of Management: Insights from an Employee's
Unlock the 'secrets'
of motivation in a refreshing book on management from the employee's perspective.
The Language of Leadership
tend to speak at a low volume, raise voice pitch and talk too rapidly. The flip side of language from the center is what McGinty calls the
"language of influence, or language from the edge. Leaders speak in ordinary language.
The Right Stuff
attributes of leadership and following some simple techniques for honing your skills are the first steps toward becoming the leader you want
The Secrets of Great Groups
is one of the most studied topics in American life.
The "3Cs" of Developing Leaders
In this column, Ray Blunt introduces the key elements of a
successful leadership development program and asks us to ponder why it's so hard to find time for developing the next generation of
Global Leadership And Personal Power
Leaders need more than a vision. They need to have a
passion, one that will drive them to realize their vision and the power to enact it.
Enduring Skills Of Change Leaders
The bold stroke produces change, but so does "the inevitability of gradualness." The latter approach builds organizations that endure.
Creating Change In Mindset And Behavior
Most leaders don't realize that mindset and behavior are the twin drivers of change.
Building Leaders At Entry Level: A Leadership Pipeline
Developing managers to be effective at the next level is one of any company's most important tasks, and in this helpful article, the co-authors
identify and describe the six steps in building a leadership pipeline to supply the next generation of effective leaders.
In Conversation: Warren Bennis
"In an analogue world," says one of the foremost authorities on leadership in this interview, "the CEO knew everything. But in the digital world,
it's more humility and vulnerability. Leaders have to understand these differences if they want to really create not only intellectual capital
but also social capital." Mr. Bennis goes on to describe the challenges facing leaders today and offers his observations on why some of those
leaders fail to understand and meet these challenges.
In Conversation: Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Terms such as "empowerment", "employee participation" and "change management" so dominate the vocabulary of organizational behaviour today. Not
surprisingly, the person who coined those terms and championed their importance, Rosabeth Moss Kanter of the Harvard Business School , has herself become one of the highest-profile
academics and respected consultants in the world. In this interview, the author discusses the changes in leadership styles during the 30 years
she has researched and taught leadership.
The Anything-But Unremarkable Lessons Of The Quiet Leader
Heroic leaders are always conspicuous and sometimes successful. However, more often successful but always inconspicuous are quiet leaders. In
this article, the author profiles the quiet leader and the leadership style that he embodies. Based on his recently published book, Leading
Quietly, this article discusses and defines a leadership style that is deliberate and circumspect, ethical and considerate - and successful,
particularly in today's complex business environment.
Drucker's Challenge: Communication And The Emotional Glass Ceiling
The supreme challenge for a leader is to change human behaviour, a formidable, if not impossible task. But the leader who is emotionally
intelligent, who is aware of and comfortable with his own self, will have a far greater chance of changing the behaviour of others than a leader
who is not aware of himself. Using the theories of the esteemed management thinker Peter Drucker, the author points out that the leaders who
inspire are those who have resolved their own identity crisis.
Top Leadership: Taking The Inner Journey
Recent history tells us that leaders can be developed but even before development begins, leaders must become self-aware and take the road to
inner growth. In this article the author argues that the effective leaders of tomorrow are individuals who have a better understanding of
themselves and their own identity.
Leaders As Strategic Communicators
When it comes to communicating effectively, leaders must not only be mindful that less is more, but that strategy trumps tactics. These
co-authors, professors and communications consultants, argue that leaders are more than willing to communicate, but that they too often approach
the task on a tactical rather than strategic level. Moreover, these same leaders may use every medium and format available, but they rarely
co-ordinate their use and deploy them selectively.
Train Dogs, Develop Leaders
Leaders can be trained, but highly successful leaders, this author writes, can be developed. The burden is on the organization to develop leaders
- to actively involve leaders in recruitment and selection, development, career-move decisions and other leadership
New Look At Succession Management
Organizations today have never had a more difficult time filling positions, but as this author suggests, they will be much more successful if
they develop pools of high-potential candidates who will be tracked by senior management. How to fill and manage those pools is the subject of
this helpful article and readers will gain valuable insights into the succession management dilemma and how acceleration pools can be an answer
to one of the most challenging questions for organizations today.
What Makes A Leader The Most
Style – collegial or autocratic – still defines a leader. But more than ever, a leader today is being asked to look inside, at his or her core,
and to lead by time-honoured values.
An Interview With Charles Handy
Always compelling, the distinguished British management thinker and writer ranges far and wide on the future of work, organizations and
Leadership And The Task Of Engaging The Heart
The difference between the cellist and the burglar is more than the difference between a sophisticated and an unsavoury character, or between
eloquence and crudeness
Immunity From Implosion: Building Smart Leadership
Smart leaders really are smart, and in this article the co-author outline eight qualities that smart leaders have – and need to have.
The Leadership Role
Understand, design, execute, assess and develop. A successful leader has to do them all and do them all brilliantly. This author serves up five
key lessons in leadership.
Engage The Heart: Appealing To The Emotions Facilitates Change
Engage the heart – as well as the mind – and a leader will find employees inspired and ready to follow
Learning From Quiet Leaders
As the heroic leader descends into leadership hell, the quiet leader steps up: a lesson for the times.
Rebuilding Trust: The Integral Role Of Leadership In Fostering Values, Honesty And Vision
Authenticity can be seen, heard and felt, which is why a leader today must have bedrock values, and communicate them openly and
The Seven Habits Of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives
Leaders think that they have to study the habits of
successful leaders. They do, but they can learn at least as much by studying the habits of the not so successful.
Why Making The Decisions The Right Way Is More Important Than Making The Right Decisions
Managers may be surprised to learn that making crucial choices is less about making the right choices than about making the choices the right
Walking On Water Or Sinking Without A Trace? Six Behaviours That Describe Strong Crisis Leaders.
When faced with a crisis, real leaders step up, speak clearly, and stay visible. They also appear to be decisive, connect with people and remain
prepared to take risks.
Facing The Unknown: What Are Leaders For If Not To Manage Uncertainty?
chances are excellent that a leader today will have to manage uncertainty. It’s how you behave that will determine if you will win or lose
Walking The Talk (Really!): Why Visions
A leader who not only articulates a vision but who lives and breathes it so powerfully that people can practically see it will lead everyone in
an organization to realize that vision.
Handling The Hurt: A Critical Skill For Leaders
Toxicity can tyrannize employees, which is why knowing how to dissipate toxins and lead the company to its goals is one of the most valuable
skills a leader can have.
The Effective Leader: Understanding And Applying Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence can be misunderstood and misrepresented. But the bottom line is that the manager who can think about emotions accurately
and clearly may often be better able to anticipate, cope with, and effectively manage change.
Adversity: What Makes A Leader The Most
Who needs those life passages that threaten our happiness and careers? As it turns out, this author states, both individuals and organizations
can turn adversity into opportunity.
Sustaining Profitable Customer Relationships Requires Real Leadership
CEOs often lament that the wrong technology or poor implementation scuttled attempts to make their organizations customer-centric. Here’s what
they need to do to succeed.
The Leader As Teacher: Creating The Learning Organization
The time has come for all leaders to stand up and say: “I don’t have the answer. We’ll have to learn something new here”.
The "Bottom Line" Of Leaderful Practice
A leader who seeks to serve others in the organization and does not seek to exercise power for its own sake is a compassionate leader and one
that easily inspires others.
Leading Creatively: The Art Of Making Sense
Leaders who have been stymied when trying to think outside the box will find a clearer path after reading this article.
How Leaders Can Communicate To Build Trust
The one thing a business leader must know is how to “Communicate, communicate, communicate.” Or, communicate well and trust will
Handling The Hurt: A Critical Skill For
Toxicity can tyrannize employees, which is why knowing how to dissipate toxins and lead the company to its goals is one of the most valuable
skills a leader can have.