It is one of the most pressing issues facing companies, government agencies, and educational institutions: what are the most effective styles of leadership, and how can they be developed?
The absence of any clear answer has given rise to a multi-billion-dollar industry. A joint McKinsey-Conference Board survey a few years ago found that more than 90 percent of large companies throughout the world were planning to invest in leadership development.
Leadership is central to the Tuck School. We have world-renowned faculty who research the topic; see, for example, our colleague Syd Finkelstein’s soon-to-be-published new book, "Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent." And we bring this scholarship into the classroom, always striving to prepare wise leaders to better the world of business and beyond.
The reflections of successful leaders can be another great source of lessons on leadership. One such book has just been published, and the author, Robert M. Gates, has sterling credentials: he’s a former U.S. Secretary of Defense (a position he held in both the Bush and Obama administrations), a former CIA director, and a former president of Texas A&M University (he’s also served on numerous corporate boards and is currently President of the Boy Scouts of America). In “A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service,” he makes dozens of actionable recommendations for how to lead, all complemented by real-world stories that illustrate how he (or others) implemented these recommendations.
A review of the book, which one of us wrote for The Wall Street Journal, can be read here. Enjoy, and best wishes this week wherever you are on your leadership journey.