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10 Virtues of Outstanding Leaders: Leadership and Character

ISBN: 978-1-118-55162-2
232 pages
March 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
10 Virtues of Outstanding Leaders: Leadership and Character (1118551621) cover image


What makes a good leader? Ten leaders, ten key virtues

This readable distillation of the core common features of successful leaders shows how an individual's character, and especially their virtue, is the defining factor. Without these ten vital virtues, leadership becomes "misleadership." The authors, both renowned business ethicists, combine theory with fascinating biographical detail on exemplary leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Oprah Winfrey. The result is an accessible text on the ethics of leadership which, unlike many publications that claim to reveal the secrets of success as a leader, is informed by a wealth of exceptional academic experience.

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Table of Contents

About the Authors x

Prologue xi

Part I Character Leadership 1

1 What Is Leadership? 3

A Reflection 4

Ethics, Virtue, and Character 9

2 Misleadership 13

What Is Bad Leadership? 14

Misleaders 15

Bad Followers 17

A Few Examples 18

3 Character and Leadership 22

Character and Integrity 24

The Dark Side of Character 28

Character as Goodwill 35

4 Leadership and Business Excellence 38

Ethics in Business 39

Workplace Ethics 41

Leaders as Role Models 42

A Culture of Narcissism 44

5 The Ten Virtues 47

Deep Honesty 51

Moral Courage 53

Moral Vision 54

Compassion and Care 55

Fairness 58

Intellectual Excellence 60

Creative Thinking 62

Aesthetic Sensitivity 63

Good Timing 64

Deep Selfl essness 65

Part II Leadership in Action 71

6 James Burke and the Tylenol Poisoning Episodes: Deep Honesty 73

Burke’s Rise to Leadership 74

Response to Crisis 75

A Further Challenge 78

7 Abraham Lincoln/Rosa Parks: Moral Courage 81

Courage: Physical and Moral 82

Team of Rivals 84

An Important Bus Ride 86

Shared Convictions 87

8 Winston Churchill: Moral Judgment and Moral Vision 90

Churchill versus Halifax 91

The War Cabinet Meets 94

Churchill’s Judgment 99

The Hinge of Fate 103

9 Oprah Winfrey: Compassion and Care 106

Star Status and More 107

Her Fan Base 109

The Book Club 111

Leadership Is a Relationship 113

10 Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Sicilian Slapping Incidents: Fairness 117

The Slapping Incidents 118

The Challenges Ike Faced 120

Ike’s Response 122

11 FDR and the A-Bomb: Intellectual Excellence 127

The Scientifi c Background 128

Roosevelt’s Preparation for Leadership 129

Hitler’s Ascent to Leadership 133

The A-Bomb Decision: The United States 136

The A-Bomb Decision: Germany 139

12 Herb Kelleher and the People of Southwest Airlines:

Creative Thinking 145

Southwest’s Start 146

Southwest’s Service Innovations 147

Southwest and Its People 150

13 Steve Jobs and Apple: Aesthetic Sensitivity 158

Beginnings 158

The Macintosh 160

The Whole Widget 162

Learning from Failure 164

Apple Reborn 167

The Centrality of Design 170

14 Charles de Gaulle and Exiting Algeria: Good Timing 173

Youth and the First World War 174

Up to the Battle of France 175

Postwar Retreat amidst Political and Military Turmoil 177

Taking Command 179

Aftermath 183

15 Martin Luther King, Jr.: Deep Selflessness 185

His Calling 187

His Gift 189

His Legacy 193

16 Conclusion 195

Index 203

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Author Information

Al Gini is Professor of Business Ethics at Loyola University Chicago, USA, where he is also Chair of the Department of Management in the Quinlan School of Business. A co-founder and long-time associate editor of Business Ethics Quarterly, the journal of the Society for Business Ethics, Professor Gini has for 25 years been the resident philosopher on the NPR affiliate in Chicago, WBEZ-FM, and is a regular speaker on the public lecture circuit. His books include The Ethics of Business (2012), which he co-authored with Alexei Marcoux; Seeking The Truth of Things (2010); Why It’s Hard to Be Good (2006); and The Importance of Being Lazy: In Praise of Play, Leisure and Vacations (2003).

Ronald M. Green is Eunice & Julian Cohen Professor for the Study of Ethics and Human Values at Dartmouth College, USA. He served as the director of Dartmouth’s Ethics Institute from 1992 until 2011. Professor Green is actively involved in numerous fields of applied ethics, particularly bioethics and business ethics, and is a consultant to a number of leading corporations including Ogilvy & Mather. A former director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute, Professor Green has also been a member of the NIH’s Human Embryo Research Panel. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. Professor Green’s many publications include The Ethical Manager (1993) and Babies by Design (2007).

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“If this was, indeed, their intention, I believe they have been entirely successful.  Also, as I said earlier, it's a very good read.  And, if that phrase seems to trivialise it, let me add that it includes an abundance of references and signposts to sources of further study, which gives it undoubted academic cachet.”  (New Nurturing Potential, 1 July 2013)

Ten Virtues of Outstanding Leaders is an extraordinarily insightful, compelling, and timely discussion of the very foundation of leadership—the character of leaders. Al Gini and Ronald Green powerfully and persuasively make the case that it’s imperative for leaders to be attuned to their ethical responsibility to others. And they are right. All the programs to develop leaders, all the courses and classes, all the books and tapes, all the blogs and Websites offering tips and techniques are meaningless unless the people who are supposed to follow believe in the person who's supposed to lead. In an era in which it often seems that anything goes, it’s vital that every leader and every leadership educator take Gini’s and Green’s message to heart. It’s vital not only to their personal success, it’s vital to the long-term viability of our society. Ten Virtues of Outstanding Leaders is a must-read, and I urge you to get started immediately.”
—Jim Kouzes, coauthor of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge and The Dean's Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

Ten Virtues of Outstanding Leaders is a thoughtful and thorough exploration of that knottiest of all leadership questions - what constitutes "good" leadership? Gini and Green have been wrestling with related issues for years, and it shows. The book is a valuable contribution to the never ending discussion of what it takes to lead wisely and well.”

—Barbara Kellerman, Harvard Kennedy School, and author and editor of many books on leadership and followership including, most recently, The End of Leadership and Leadership: Essential Selections on Power, Authority, and Influence 

“Few leadership books mine the field of philosophy for its practical knowledge. Few use the treasury of insights available in the writings of philosophers that speak to issues of character and ethics, ones that are critical for successful leadership. Fewer still apply those insights to living examples of leadership: Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Steve Jobs. In their new book, Ten Virtues of Outstanding Leaders, the philosophers Gini and Green do all this, and more.”

—Thomas Donaldson, Mark O. Winkelman Professor, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Director of the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research, and coauthor of Ties that Bind: A Social Contracts Approach to Business Ethics

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