You are here

Building Leadership Character

Building Leadership Character

  • Amy Newman - Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, USA
Additional resources:

June 2018 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Extending beyond traditional leadership books to offer readers a path for developing their own character, this compelling new text uses a storytelling approach and real-world cases to explore different dimensions of leadership character. With a clear, student-friendly writing style, bestselling author Amy Newman deftly captures various approaches in which corporations and people respond to situations in difficult times and learn from mistakes. Using real companies and situations, each chapter examines a leadership character dimension such as accountability, integrity, authenticity, and courage. Readers will learn to develop their own character, emotional intelligence, and leadership skills as they engage with assessments, reflection opportunities, and exercises.
Chapter 1. Leadership Character in Context
Chapter Overview  
Leaders Choose Character  
Leadership Theories Have Evolved  
Dimensions Focus Our Efforts to Develop Character  
Leadership Character Has Organizational and Personal Benefits  
Judgment Contributes to Ethical Decision Making  
Corporate Failures Teach Us About Character—and About Ourselves  
Learning From Corporate Failures  
Respecting and Learning From Failure  
Chapter 2. Learning Character Lessons From Failure
Chapter Overview  
Failure Is Critical to Success  
People Fear Failure Because of the Pain  
Learning From Failure Builds Character  
Leaders Adopt a Learning Orientation  
Forward-Looking Organizations Value Failure  
Self-Reflection Helps Us Learn From Failure  
Reflection Prepares Us Intellectually  
Practicing Mindfulness Prepares Us Emotionally  
Taking Care of Our Bodies Prepares Us Physically  
Chapter 3. Vulnerability: Risking Exposure
Chapter Overview  
Volkswagen’s “Clean Diesel” Dupes Customers  
Vulnerability Means Risking Exposure  
Vulnerability Builds Connection  
Apologizing Is Good for Business  
Connection Is Built or Destroyed on Social Media  
Chapter 4. Authenticity: Living as Yourself
Chapter Overview  
General Motors Delays Recalls  
Authentic Leaders Are True to Themselves  
Authenticity Doesn’t Mean Being Rigid or Morally Correct  
Authentic Leaders Bring Their Whole Selves to Work  
Self-Awareness and Self-Acceptance Help Us Feel Comfortable in Our Own Skin  
We Want to Connect With Real People on Social Media  
Chapter 5. Integrity: Being Consistent and Whole
Chapter Overview  
FIFA Leaders Disappoint Athletes and Fans Around the World  
Leaders of Integrity Are Consistent and Whole  
Behavioral Integrity Is Good for Business  
Trust in Organizations Is Eroding  
Leaders Who Model Integrity, Trust, and Transparency Cultivate Trust  
Leaders With Integrity Tell the Truth  
Investors Seek and Demonstrate Integrity  
Chapter 6. Accountability: Responding to Others
Chapter Overview  
Wells Fargo Sets Unrealistic Sales Goals for Employees  
Responsibility and Accountability Definitions Are Complementary  
Leaders Avoid Accountability by Shifting Blame  
Incentives and Regulations Ensure Some Accountability  
Leaders Foster a Culture of Accountability  
Accountable Leaders Admit and Forgive Mistakes  
External Leaders Step in When Boards Fail  
Whistleblowers Demand Accountability  
Companies Improve Their Accountability  
Chapter 7. Courage: Standing Up
Chapter Overview  
Samsung Botches a Recall  
Courageous Leaders Fight for Worthy Goals  
Taking Measured Risks Improves Outcomes  
Courage Means Facing Our Fears  
Public, Unpopular Decisions Take Courage  
Courageous Leaders Tackle Different Conversations  
Radical Candor and Radical Transparency Are Two Ways Leaders Demonstrate Courage  
Self-Righteousness Needs to Be Controlled  
Chapter 8. Humility: Learning From Others
Chapter Overview  
Constituencies Question Uber’s Ethics  
Humble Leaders Recognize Their Own Limitations  
Humility as a Management Strength  
Humble Leaders Make Space for Others  
Assessments Teach Us About Humility  
Leading With Humility Requires Perspective  
Humble Leaders Seek Feedback  
Curiosity Is Associated With Intellectual Humility  
Two Chefs Illustrate Humility  
Chapter 9. Compassion: Caring for Others and Ourselves
Chapter Overview  
SeaWorld Fails to Respond to the Movie Blackfish  
Compassion Alleviates Suffering  
Responding With Compassion Involves Four Steps  
Compassion Benefits People and Organizations  
Compassionate Leaders Respond With Small Gestures, Comfort, and Empathy  
Communication About a Suicide Offers a Model of Compassion  
Self-Compassion and Gratitude Ease Suffering  
Company Index
Subject Index
About the Author


Instructor Teaching Site

A password-protected Instructor Resources include
s author-created instructor’s manual with teaching notes, additional assignments, and additional examples as well as author-created PowerPoint slides.

“Amy Newman provides practical insight into the role of character in communications and reveals how understanding character can enable leaders to more effectively manage the many situations that stress-test character.  Character is about who we are. It is something that develops every day (for better or worse) and with this book, leaders can be more conscious about what leader character is and how to build it.”

Dr. Mary Crossan, Distinguished University Professor, Professor of Strategic Leadership
Ivey Business School – Western University

“At a time when ‘character’ is often thought of as something you either have or you don’t, Amy Newman stresses that it can and must be developed through reflection and practice. Readers will come away with motivation, examples and tools!”

Mary C. Gentile, Author of “Giving Voice To Values: How To Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right”
University of Virginia Darden School of Business

“Developing character is messy business, which is why it’s too often ignored.  Building Leadership Character tackles this difficult topic through clear examples and engaging discussion that stimulates thought-provoking questions about leadership, communication, and the choices leaders make.”

Judith Lee Brownell, Professor Management & Organizational Behavior
Cornell University

“This accessible, highly-readable book draws on contemporary business examples to highlight the importance of several aspects of leadership character. Each chapter provides a focus on a particular trait or attribute, backed up by relevant literature, examples, and a compelling case study.” 

Janie Harden Fritz
Duquesne University

“An excellent complementary textbook, focused on the set of virtues everyone involved in business needs to cultivate to make for truly human, giving, socially responsible business. I would recommend this textbook without hesitation as a required complementary reading for introductory courses in business management, organizational behavior and theory, management theory, marketing, management communication, and business ethics, among others.” 

Pedro David Perez
Cornell University

“This book breaks down the specific components of Leadership Character, connects each component to leadership communications, illustrates those components with real-world examples, and offers a series of exercises to help reinforce the lessons.” 

Risa M. Mish
Cornell University

“This text will help to actualize the changeable core dimensions of leadership character to achieve greater emotional intelligence in our students.” 

Herbert Z. Wong
John F. Kennedy University

“This is a leadership text that utilizes real-world examples and case studies to showcase the value of ethical leadership (character leadership) through a storyteller’s lens.” 

Jeff Zimmerman
Northern Kentucky University

“This well-organized book that explains leaders’ character building issues using many relevant cases/stories.” 

Keeok Park
University of La Verne

“A text dealing with the importance of character to the role of leader.” 

Mitchell R. Alegre
Niagara University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 6: Accountability

Chapter 7: Courage

Preview this book

For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781544307855