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The Art and Adventure of Leadership: Understanding Failure, Resilience and Success

Book Description

For the first time, a top leadership scholar and a top leadership practitioner explore the true duties, demands, and privileges of leadership.

Intellectual sparks flew when Warren Bennis, the "father" of modern leadership studies and Steven B. Sample, one of the most accomplished university presidents in recent history, came together for candid explorations of the forces that shape successful leaders and unsuccessful ones.

The Art and Adventure of Leadership, their final collaboration, reveals the profound insights that the authors gained together over the 16 years in which they co-taught one of the most popular leadership courses in America.

Here, each brings his own distinct vantage point as they address the mechanics and mysteries of leadership. The result is a unique examination of the journey of great leaders from momentary setbacks to ultimate success. It offers profound lessons on what determines the difference between failure and redemption for leaders. And it illuminates important and overlooked dimensions of great leaders ranging from Winston Churchill to Steve Jobs.

Together, they explore why:

  • A mature leader must grasp when it's healthy to risk failure, and when failure can't be tolerated at any cost

  • Leadership isn't for everyone and requires a particular set of skills and competencies that are often glossed over in most management literature

  • To succeed in an uncertain and fast-changing world, a shrewd leader must understand which aspects of human society change—and which aspects never change

  • A mature, wise leader must seek a balance between high-minded ideals and the gritty realities and compromises that leaders face in their daily lives

  • Above all, meaningful leadership remains a matter of character

  • With incredible insight, this book examines why George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and other giants were able to recover from failures, learn resilience, and prepare themselves for their moments of destiny. In so doing, it demonstrates and helps cultivate the leadership skills that you need to create your own most meaningful legacy.

    The Art and Adventure of Leadership is a unique look at leadership, and a critical resource for the leaders of tomorrow.

    Table of Contents

    1. Cover
    2. Praise for The Art and Adventure of Leadership
    3. Title Page
    4. Copyright
    5. Dedication
    6. Foreword
    7. Preface
    8. Acknowledgments
    9. Introduction
    10. Chapter 1: Redefining Success and Failure
      1. Leadership as Playing with Fire—The Very Fire of the Gods
      2. It Depends: The Contingency Principle in Action
      3. Why we Must View Leadership Through the Lens of Complexity
    11. Chapter 2: Why Success Requires the Right Kind of Appetite for the Fight
      1. If You Do Want to Do Leadership …
      2. Reality Check: Leadership as 70 Percent Trivia
      3. Staying Out of Prison, and Other Benefits of a Healthy Expression of Leadership Skill
      4. Management Versus Leadership
    12. Chapter 3: Accepting and Exercising Moral Responsibility: The Ability to Accept—and Manage—Responsibility for Difficult Ethical Choices
      1. When There is No Win-Win Scenario: The Painful Moral Calculus of Failure
      2. The Ability to Compromise—And to be Compromised
      3. A Compromised Saint: The Dilemma of Thomas More
    13. Chapter 4: Avoiding Groupthink, Mass Media, and the Failures of the Herd
      1. Failures Caused by Groupthink
      2. Why Leaders Don't Follow the News: Ignoring Today's Trivia in Search of Timeless Truths
      3. Information Versus Gossip
      4. Media Myopia is Most Visible in Hindsight
    14. Chapter 5: A Timeless Reading List That Leads to Timely Success
      1. Beware the Trade Press
      2. A Daily Dose of Discipline
    15. Chapter 6: When Failure is Baked Into the System
      1. How Democratic Governance Avoids and Prevents Failure
      2. Failure and Disillusionment
      3. Defending Democracy
      4. Where Good Decisions are Born
      5. Democracy Works as Science Works
      6. A Brazen Prediction About Democracy's Success
    16. Chapter 7: Bankruptcy and Failure as the Great American Pastime: A Land of Second Chances
      1. The Human Consequences of Fear of Failure
    17. Conclusion: Redeeming Failure
    18. Note From the Writer
    19. About the Authors
    20. End User License Agreement