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The Management Theory of Warren Bennis

Jeanne Dininni

Use Bennis theory to transform managers into effective leaders

Warren Bennis's insight into the characteristics that mark real leaders has added a great deal to modern management thought and method.

According to Bennis theory, true leaders understand themselves, possess both a vision and the ability to translate that vision to their teams and are able to establish an environment of trust.

Bennis identified 13 characteristics which differentiate real leaders from mere managers. True leadership then, according to Bennis management theory, is the difference between various pairs of tendencies (the first one in each pair being a trait of management and the second a trait of leadership). The 13 traits follow.

1. Administration vs. innovation

2. Carbon copy vs. original

3. Maintenance vs. development

4. System or structure focus vs. people focus (an important differentiation in Bennis leadership theory)

5. Control vs. inspiration

6. Acceptance vs. investigation

7. Short-range vs. long-range perspective

8. Interest in "how" and "when" vs. interest in "what" and "why"

9. View toward bottom line vs. view toward horizon

10. Imitation vs. origination

11. Acceptance vs. challenge of/to status quo

12. Conformity (i.e., "good soldier" mentality) vs. individuality

13. Desire to do things right vs. ability to do the right things

Acquire some background information on Bennis management theory

Numerous websites provide valuable information about Bennis leadership theory. In addition to summaries of Warren Bennis leadership principles, you'll also find helpful information on Bennis group development theory. These resources can help you develop the expertise to put Bennis management and leadership theories to work for your company.

Connect with a consultant who offers insight into Bennis's management theory

Consultants with knowledge and experience in the management theory of Warren Bennis can guide you in maximizing the benefit of his principles in your own company's unique environment.
Leading Geeks, has been endorsed by Warren Bennis; his book is in fact part of the Warren Bennis Signature Series.

Look for tools that help put Bennis management theory to work for you

Widely available online tools and resources can help you more easily implement Bennis management and leadership theories. Audio books, assessments and other Bennis theory training products let you choose the resources most valuable to your business.

The Neuropsychology of Leadership audio book, co-authored by Warren Bennis, Burt Nanus and Steve Devore. The work is available in three editions: CD, MP3 disc and MP3 download.

Be sure to take advantage of as many online tools and resources as possible to develop a clear understanding of the value that Warren Bennis management theory can have for your company.

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Jeanne Dininni