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Ask an FEI researcher about leadership. (Resources).

The cover story on leadership in this month's issue explores the idea that there is no one universal leader for all situations, and that companies in different situations may need different kinds of leaders.

Several months ago, a member sent a request to "Ask an FET Researcher":

"I am interested in researching the concept of leadership in the business environment, especially in the finance arena. Our company has begun a master's level program in leadership at a local college, and the main paper for the first course will focus on models or theories of leadership and how they pertain to our business."

Dr. Warren Bennis is Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at the University of Southern California, and is internationally known as an expert on leadership. In the past 25 years, he has interviewed 150 of the world's greatest leaders and published more than 25 books.

Bennis made a presentation at an FEI Virtual Chapter meeting in October 2001. In this presentation, he describes "Exemplary Leadership," and distinguishes between "The Leader" and "The Manager." His slide presentation is available on the FEI Web site:

Ellen M. Heffes, managing editor of Financial Executive, then interviewed Bennis for an article in the January! February 2002 issue:

In this article, Dr. Bennis lists the five traits that he believes that all leaders must have:

1. Leaders must provide direction and meaning to their staff.

2. Leaders have to convey some sense of optimism and hope.

3. Leaders have to generate and sustain trust.

4. Leaders have to engage followers in shared meaning.

5. Leaders have to show results. In one of his most popular books, On Becoming a Leader (Perseus Publishing, 1994), Bennis shows how individuals develop leadership traits and how organizations encourage or stifle potential leaders. He profiles dynamic individuals from diverse business arenas to demonstrate how all leaders share distinctive characteristics.

So, how are leadership qualities developed in the finance function? The FEI Research Foundation has published Leverage Competencies: The Key to Financial Leadership Success, by Frederick Militello and Michael Schwalberg. It has recently been reissued as part of the Financial Times Business Book Series, and is available through the Web site:

This book provides examples of how eight companies from a variety of industries helped their executives bridge the gap between basic technical competencies and leverage competencies, leadership qualities such as strategic thinking, innovation, and risk management.

The book is also summarized in an article in the November/December 2000 issue of Financial Executive magazine:

Growing Leaders: A Leader-Builder Handbook for HRD and Training Professionals, Business Executives/Managers, and Executive Coaches, by Steve Yearout, is published by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the American Society for Training and Development. This book provides organizations with a practical and readable field guide for developing leaders at multiple levels inside an organization. It also includes an innovative leadership assessment tool.

Growing Leaders has these three basic messages on leadership:

1. Leadership today is "no longer a solo act" because today's issues are too complex to be made by any single individual.

2. Leadership today requires that the top leaders be actively engaged in coaching and mentoring leaders at other levels.

3. Organizations that take a systematic approach to leadership have a track record of success.

For more information about Growing Leaders, visit PwC's web site at The leadership assessment tool is available as a free download, and Growing Leaders is available through, Barnes&Noble.corn, and the American Society for Training and Development (

Dynamic Leader, Adaptive Organization, by Larraine D. Segil (Wiley, 2002) discusses 10 essential traits for managers. Segil explains how these characteristics - which include fearlessness, completion, commitment, integrity, and more - enable managers and their organizations to adapt to changing environments and to direct change to their own advantage.

Based on interviews with more than 250 CEOs and senior executives from the world's most successful corporations, this book illustrates the effects of dynamic leadership with diverse case histories such as of Shell Oil Co., Esquire magazine, Target Corp., Kaiser Permanente, Eastman Kodak Co. and Xerox Corp.
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Sinnett, William
Publication:Financial Executive
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2002
Previous Article:Conferences.
Next Article:Stephen P. Taylor. (Balancesheet).

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