Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Warren Bennis on Leadership and Character ... and A Key Insight about Reflection

Like so many, I'm an admirer of Warren Bennis's thinking about leadership.  In his current Bloomberg Business Week blog posting, Bennis writes briefly on leadership and character: .  His question is whether business schools can teach character or, put even more basically, whether character can be taught to or learned by leaders.  A fascinating and provocative topic.

Referencing a course on global business leadership by Brandeis Professor Bob Thomas, Bennis writes that there are two overarching principles to engage in character awareness and building: "assessment/reflection and action/reflection."  The blog post concludes with the "Five C's" that Thomas's learning model for reflection is organized around: Crucibles, Commitment to Practice, Combination, Coaches, and Community.  While that model itself is valuable, the main insight I took from the post has a significance beyond the question of character, per se.  It's about the centrality of reflection to good leadership and, even more, the necessity of engaging in both assessment and action in order for reflection to be optimally successful.

Many leaders recognize the importance of reflection and introspection as necessary activities in their own leadership practice.  Too often, though, that reflection only takes the form of self-assessment.  Extending reflection into action allows leaders to build community and even to change "some corner of the world," starting with their own.

No comments:

Post a Comment