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Building Leadership Character

Building Leadership Character

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

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

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