South-Western - Management  
Effective Leaders Say One Pivotal Experience Sealed Their Careers
Topic Leadership
Key Words leadership
InfoTrac Reference none
News Story

Jack Kahl, founder and former CEO of Manco, says he learned his most important leadership lessons from his mother, who urged her children to work as a team and help support the family when his father died. He adapted his mother's consensual style by including his employees in the decision-making process and sharing information with them.

Two authors stated that most leaders have had at least one crucible experience that unleashed their abilities and taught them who they were. In their study of leaders, they found that these experiences were more important than the person's education, intelligence, or birth order.

Bob Rich Jr., president and CEO of Rich products, explained how he was given the responsibility of launching a business subsidiary of the family-run business at the age of 22. Consulting with his father taught him to be tolerant and respectful of others, and he always sought the counsel of employees throughout his company.


Explain the difference between a leader and a manager, and explain which would be more influenced by life experiences. Assuming this article is true in its conclusions, how might you use this information to train managers under you to be better leaders?


According to your textbook and lectures, what are the traits of a leader? Which of these traits would most likely be influenced by a "crucible" experience?

Source Carol Hymowitz, "Effective Leaders Say One Pivotal Experience Sealed Their Careers" Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2002, p. B1.
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