Moments of Greatness

Entering the Fundamental State of Leadership. by Robert E. Quinn

AS LEADERS, SOMETIMES we’re truly “on,” and sometimes we’re not. Why is that? What separates the episodes of excellence from those of mere competence? In striving to tip the balance toward excellence, we try to identify great leaders’ qualities and behaviors so we can develop them ourselves. Nearly all corporate training programs and books on leadership are grounded in the assumption that we should study the behaviors of those who have been successful and teach people to emulate them.

But my colleagues and I have found that when leaders do their best work, they don’t copy anyone. Instead, they draw on their own fundamental values and capabilities—operating in ...

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