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 a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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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