In Praise of the Incomplete Leader

by Deborah Ancona, Thomas W. Malone, Wanda J. Orlikowski, and Peter M. Senge

WE’VE COME TO EXPECT A LOT OF OUR LEADERS. Top executives, the thinking goes, should have the intellectual capacity to make sense of unfathomably complex issues, the imaginative powers to paint a vision of the future that generates everyone’s enthusiasm, the operational know-how to translate strategy into concrete plans, and the interpersonal skills to foster commitment to undertakings that could cost people’s jobs should they fail. Unfortunately, no single person can possibly live up to those standards.

It’s time to end the myth of the complete leader: the flawless person at the top who’s got it all figured out. In fact, the sooner ...

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