In the end, we lead who we are and this pragmatic guidance will be a boon to anyone interested in becoming a fully human leader who can bring out the best in others. Neither abstract theory nor a simplistic "recipe" for success, this book provides clear behavioral descriptions and practical exercises for developing the habitual practice of the Nine Virtues essential for effective leadership. A book for rereading, reflecting, and gifting to aspiring leaders.
Carol A. Aschenbrener, M.D.
Former Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges
The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders is a superb book for those of us who aspire to be better leaders. The authors very clearly lay out their view on what it takes to be a virtuous leader, complete with very detailed references for further consideration. It is always helpful to have a "roadmap" on how to get where you want to be. This book offers up a well-defined approach. I recommend that folks read this book, and follow the ideas presented. You'll be glad you did..
Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch
US Army (Retired)
People seek positions of leadership for a variety of reasons; sometimes they don't pursue leadership but assume it when a need arises. In any case, people are often unprepared for its complexities and can end up damaging the department or organization they are leading and the organization's people—including the leader. It is important for people who are leaders or who aspire to be in a position of leadership to think deeply about leadership and to learn and practice leadership skills. While several authors have written about leadership and the competencies and skills required to be successful, none is as fundamental as The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders. Jenkins and Haden have described what is most important in any human interaction: virtue. I highly recommend The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders: Unlocking Your Leadership Potential to leaders and aspiring leaders at all levels in any organization.
George R. Boggs, Ph.D.
President and CEO Emeritus, American Association of Community Colleges
Superintendent/President Emeritus, Palomar College
Karl Haden and Rob Jenkins have written a wonderfully motivating book for people in all settings: business, home, school or community. I love the suggestions on how to develop each virtue at the end of the chapters. That changes this from a "just-read-me" book to a "read-and-practice-to-learn" experience. We've included The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders as a new resource in our international business etiquette and image development programs.
Managing Director, Pearl Strategies, Ltd.
I can't put it down. The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders is a lively text…on virtuous leadership that is both accessible and engaging (quite the page turner) and yet provides all the fodder and support that makes it an exceptional academic read and resource.
Within the first twenty words of Chapter 1, readers will notice the unique approach to the leadership conversation authors Haden and Jenkins invite us to in 9 Virtues. It is peppered with a plethora of metaphors, analogies, and quotes. Every reader will find something to relate to among the authors' images, examples, and ideas and therefore will feel worthy of inclusion and ready to partake in this conversation on leadership. Readers who haven't yet recognized their leadership potential, those who aspire to be leaders, those who are new to leadership, and those who are seasoned will find gems among the pages of this treasure.
Early in the discussion, the authors introduce us to self-awareness' importance to the development of each of the nine leadership virtues. Allowing for the natural leadership potential in all of us, albeit at different levels, the importance of self-awareness needs to be nurtured to develop leadership to its greater potential. Each virtue has a chapter devoted to understanding its meaning and dynamics. This is followed by invaluable exercises to practice as a means needed to nurture the natural potential in all of us. Of course, the outcome of practice has been taught to us from childhood: "Practice makes perfect."
Most important for the leader is to appear natural, comfortable, and knowledgeable. This indeed is the result of behaviors intentionally practiced to become habits. The authors have been masterful in demonstrating this, for example, in Chapter 5, Humility. They engaged the reader by meeting her where she lives, using common terms, identifying its component parts--listening, being teachable, empathy, selflessness, putting others first, service, and it's not about you. Then each was given specific steps to practice to begin the habit formation process. Key to success is recognizing the import of emotional intelligence in the process.
Haden and Jenkins support the reader's learning by using common language and by recounting, summarizing, and previewing new ideas from the beginning of the book to its end. Rarely, if at all, does a leadership text provide explicit exercise direction on how to develop a skill or talent. This is an outstanding strength of The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders, in addition to the attractiveness of a leadership text that is accessible, engaging, and well written.
Jacquelyn Belcher, J.D.
Former President of Georgia Perimeter College and the Board Chair of the American Association of Community Colleges
Karl Haden and Rob Jenkins have written a highly important book that contributes to, and furthers our understanding of leadership in a unique, thoughtful, provocative, and clearly written manner. While the shelves are full of books describing the techniques that leaders use in the name of effectiveness, Haden and Jenkins seek to describe the foundation of effective leadership. The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders builds on Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Jim Collins's Good to Great, and other books which have sought to describe the principles of effectiveness in leadership.
The premise of The 9 Virtues is that virtuous leadership is a habit. Quoting Aristotle, they point out, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence (or virtue) is then not an act, but a habit." While the Nine Virtues can be discussed individually – humility, honesty, courage, perseverance, hope, charity, balance, wisdom and justice – the truly virtuous leader practices each of the virtues in all aspects of their life at all times. From the chapter, "The Virtuous Leader", they state, "Courage without charity is merely ruthlessness, just as wisdom without humility is arrogance, perseverance without hope is fanaticism, and honesty without justice is cruelty. An individual who appears to display one virtue—or even several of them—without displaying them all, in the end, really has none of them. That person is not virtuous, whatever redeeming qualities he or she may possess."
In their discussion, Haden and Jenkins draw upon philosophy, personal anecdote, collective wisdom, and strong examples of virtuous leaders. For example, Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" effectively illustrates the virtue of humility and Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning helps provide depth to the discussion of balance (and other virtues). Each of the chapter's discussion of the Nine Virtues concludes with recommendations on how to practice that specific virtue in order to bring it to the level of habit.
In conclusion, The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders contributes to, and expands upon, the conversation of effective leadership by highlighting the habits – virtues – that lie at the core of effective leadership. This is not a "how to" book; rather, it is a deep, yet accessible, exploration of the DNA of leadership – the factors that truly separate the leader from the pretender.
Hershey S. Bell, M.D., M.S., FAAFP
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Pharmacy
The value of leadership in all realms of civilized society is becoming ever more critical. Haden and Jenkins will make you rethink the essentials of being a leader. Their book guides you on a journey of self-discovery as you learn to practice each of the Nine Virtues.
Richard W. Valachovic, D.M.D., M.P.H.
President and CEO, American Dental Education Association
The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders offers a fresh approach to one's journey through leadership. This is not just another book on leadership theory. It is a book that guides the reader through some self-reflection to determine whether or not you are truly practicing habits and behavior that can make you more effective. Whether you are an aspiring or a "seasoned" leaders, these authors invite you to do a little homework to make the most of your true leadership potential.
Charlotte J. Warren, Ph.D.
President, Lincoln Land Community College
The virtuous leader is the kind of leader we all want, and frankly we need, to keep our country great. Whether in government, academia, or business, we need this type of leadership! The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders is an entertaining and compelling read, the kind of book that helps you understand good leadership and teaches you how to be your best!
Vice President and Chief Audit Executive, Abercrombie & Fitch
Former Partner, Ernst & Young
Haden and Jenkins bring focus to critical truths about leadership in The 9 Virtues of Effective Leaders. Leadership is, in fact, not a natural occurrence. Neither is virtue. One must work at both and both can be learned. By deconstructing Virtue as nine individual virtues that combine to produce the essential personalized core for leaders, the authors challenge us to cultivate and develop these traits. Their premise is simple. These are not simply techniques that are to be acquired as leadership tools, but rather ways to become a virtuous person who will thus be ready to assume the role of effective leader.
Lawrence Miller, Ph.D.
CEO, Miller & Associates Educational Consulting
Former Director, National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development
This is a GREAT book. It is so helpful and to the point that I would unambiguously recommend it to anyone who leads anyone (from your own kids to a major corporation).
Heiko Spallek, D.M.D., Ph.D., M.S.B.A. (C.I.S.)
University of Sydney