Warren Bennis: People Leadership

Warren Bennis quote, great leaders make people feel they are at the centerLeaders don't simply lead organizations. Leaders lead people. People are the heart and soul of the organization, its energy and the passion and they are the ones who make it possible for the organization to continue its existence.

Therefore, great leaders are leaders of people.

Bennis expresses this insight with this thought.

"Great leaders make people feel that they're at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning."

People want to make a difference.
People want to be valued for who they are and what they do.
People want to be included in the things that truly matter.
People want to be noticed and needed.
People need encouraged.
People need vital optimism in their work environment.

In other words, people need Leaders Who Love and Value People. This is not touchy-feely leadership. This is emotionally healthy leadership the way that Jesus Christ modeled in his ministry. When people are loved, they have the context to be empowered and mobilized. When people are empowered and mobilized they are energized and fruitful. 

How are you doing at just loving the people you lead?
How are you doing at including them as much as possible?
How are you doing at helping them find fulfilling meaning and purpose as they work with and for you?

If you are doing that - you are providing great leadership.

Warren Bennis, Organizing Genius the secrets of creative collaborationHere's the book.
Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration

Okay, maybe this one IS my favorite Bennis book. I think the first time I read it, I did it at one sitting. It was so much fun to read, so exciting, so captivating as he spoke of how great things emerge when high powered teams of creative collaborators come together and are given room to innovate - I could not stop reading.

Over the years I have read chapters from time to time. Bennis tells stories of six great collaborative efforts that produced outstanding results. He gives lessons for how we can incorporate these great "skunk work ways" into our organizations.

I am privileged to be a part of such a team with the Leadership ConneXtions partners. We have a long way to go... but from time to time we see and experience the power of this kind of creative coming together and the resulting beauty and genius of products, services and outcomes.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International