Introduction

What does it really mean to be a leader? It's an important question that I believe every single one of us in a leadership role needs to answer.

Why? Because what it means to be a leader today is very different than it was a generation ago. You know this to be true. The world in which you lead is more dynamic and complex.

But there's more. Since releasing the first edition of this book just two years ago, I have continued to see signs that leadership is still in trouble. Consider some of the following examples:

  • A former industry-leading innovator in the technology sector loses its market dominance in a matter of months and now struggles to survive.
  • The chief executive officer (CEO) of a retailer is forced to resign after having an inappropriate relationship with a coworker. The founder and chair of the board of the same company is pushed out after it's revealed that he knew about the relationship and did nothing to inform the board.
  • No fewer than 18 executives connected with a major international organization are indicted for their participation in a culture of systematic, cynical, constant corruption.
  • A CEO of a clothing manufacturer is ousted after a leaked video shows him dancing naked in front of his employees.
  • The board of a company issues a press release with the following headline: Our CEO and CFO [chief financial officer] are missing, and so is all of our cash.
  • A global study by a major research firm finds that 51 percent of leaders have essentially checked ...

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