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Timeless leadership.
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Timeless leadership.

Author: D McCullough
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication:Harvard business review, 2008 Mar; 86(3): 45-9, 132
Other Databases: WorldCat
Summary:
The historian David McCullough, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and well-known public television host, has spent his career thinking about the qualities that make a leader great. His books, including Truman, John Adams, and 1776, illustrate his conviction that even in America's darkest moments the old-fashioned virtues of optimism, hard work, and strength of character endure. In this edited conversation with HBR  Read more...
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Details

Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: D McCullough
ISSN:0017-8012
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 264173338
Awards:

Abstract:

The historian David McCullough, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and well-known public television host, has spent his career thinking about the qualities that make a leader great. His books, including Truman, John Adams, and 1776, illustrate his conviction that even in America's darkest moments the old-fashioned virtues of optimism, hard work, and strength of character endure. In this edited conversation with HBR senior editor Bronwyn Fryer, McCullough analyzes the strengths of American leaders past and present. Of Harry Truman he says, "He wasn't afraid to have people around him who were more accomplished than he, and that's one reason why he had the best cabinet of any president since George Washington....He knew who he was." George Washington--"a natural born leader and a man of absolute integrity"--was unusually skilled at spotting talent. Washington Roebling, who built the Brooklyn Bridge, led by example: He never asked his people to do anything he wouldn't do himself, no matter how dangerous. Franklin Roosevelt had the power of persuasion in abundance. If McCullough were teaching a business school leadership course, he says, he would emphasize the importance of listening--of asking good questions but also noticing what people don't say; he would warn against "the insidious disease of greed"; he would encourage an ambition to excel; and he would urge young MBAs to have a sense that their work maters and to make their good conduct a standard for others.

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