Four Leadership Competencies From Warren Bennis

In an article in The Economist, there was some great insights about leadership from management guru Warren Bennis.  His fundamental tenet is that leaders are made, not born. Bennis lists four competencies that leaders need to develop:

  • forming a vision which provides people with a bridge to the future
  • giving meaning to that vision through communication
  • building trust, “the lubrication that makes it possible for organisations to work”
  • searching for self-knowledge and self-regard

My take: There’s a big difference between manging and leading. Unfortunately, too many executives don’t understand the difference and don’t work hard enough on building these leadership skills. 

The bottom line: You can manage dozens of people, but you can lead millions.

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

One thought on “Four Leadership Competencies From Warren Bennis”

  1. Hi!

    I like the ‘My Take’ piece.
    You are right that many people do not understand the difference between Leading and Managing.
    When people Lead they make a big difference to the company as well as to the lifes of the people.
    Also my experience has been that when you lead people respect you for showing them the vision and working together for it. It is motivating. Managing is not so motivating as it ends up in control kind of situation,

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