In Memoriam: Warren Bennis

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Warren Bennis died on July 31, 2014 at the age of 89. Even if you never read a single thing that Dr. Bennis wrote, you have still felt the impact of his ideas. Dozens of posts appeared in the wake of Warren Bennis’s death.

My post, “The Legacy of Warren Bennis” appeared at the 360 Degree Feedback blog. Here are some of the best posts about him and his legacy.

From the Economist: Leading light

“WARREN BENNIS was the world’s most important thinker on the subject that business leaders care about more than any other: themselves. When he started writing about leadership in the 1950s the subject was a back road. When he died on July 31st it was an eight-lane highway crowded with superstar professors whizzing along in multi-million-dollar muscle cars.”

From Bill George: The Remarkable Legacy of Warren Bennis

“With the passing of Warren Bennis this past Thursday, a giant oak has fallen with an impact felt throughout the world. Small in physical stature, Warren was a giant in his intellect, his heart, and his spirit. Like the oak, Warren had deep roots that carried his wisdom and nourished blossoms that made the world more beautiful and humane.”

From Andrew McIlvaine: A Leadership Guru’s Legacy

“As an infantry officer during World War II, leading a platoon of soldiers through harrowing combat during the Battle of the Bulge, Warren G. Bennis learned firsthand what it took to become an effective leader. Following his service (during which he was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart), Bennis began his academic career, in which he became one of the world’s foremost authorities on leadership and organizational development. Late last week, Bennis passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 89.”

From Julia Kirby: Warren Bennis, Leadership Pioneer

“The sad news came over the weekend that Warren Bennis has died. For us at HBR it is the loss of a long-time author and friend. Many, many more will miss him, too, as a teacher and adviser. Let’s define ‘long-time’: Warren’s first piece in HBR appeared in 1961. It was called a ‘Revisionist Theory of Leadership,’ and that is what it delivered. A half-century later, its message does not sound so revisionist: that in a business environment marked by increasingly complexity and constant change,”

From Kevin Cashman: Remembering Warren Bennis: The Father of Leadership Development

“Warren Bennis touched so many of us so deeply… from students and consultants, to CEOs and U.S. Presidents. His depth of mind and presence of character set an example for us all. A young platoon leader in World War II, a provost and a president at universities, and scholar, Warren was best known as the ‘father of leadership’ and leadership education.”

From Jena McGregor: Remembering leadership sage Warren Bennis

“Warren Bennis, who died Thursday in Los Angeles at age 89, was once called the ‘dean of leadership gurus,’ a description that unfortunately stuck. I say ‘unfortunately’ because, for Bennis, there was never any kind of shtick. There was no silver bullet or four-box matrix or slide deck offering an oversimplified how-to guide to leadership. This giant among leadership experts — I take no exception to the ‘dean’ part — was a thinker and an adviser, but not a guru. He wrote and talked about leadership as if the answers were still being shaped, even in his experienced mind. He was a thoughtful, genuine, and always engaged man whom I came to know in these past eight years as a reporter covering management and leadership.”

From HBS Working Knowledge: What Is Warren Bennis’s Legacy?

“The death of management educator Warren Bennis was the end of a prolific, influential career that deserves reflection, says Jim Heskett. What did you learn from him?”

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