Being the Boss: The Importance of Leadership and Power
By Abraham L. Gitlow
2004/10 - Beard Books
158798234X - Paperback - Reprint - 226 pp.
A virtual primer for emerging executives.
This book provides interesting and informative reading as it explores
leadership and the exercise of power in business organizations. Leadership is a
function of both position and the ability to lead. The heart of the discussion
revolves around the possession of power as the capacity to command and influence
the behavior of others. A chief executive possesses power by virtue of status,
but leadership involves the successful exercise of authority coupled with
responsibility and accountability. The book is must reading for current
executives as well as for those with aspirations to become effective leaders in
From Turnarounds and Workouts:
Gitlow's book grew out of a series of meetings between highly successful
active and retired executives and selected graduate students at New York
University's Stern School of Business in the early 1990s. At these regular
meetings held over a few years, the experienced business leaders would relate to
the promising students "an analysis of their successes and shortcomings as
managers of...talent and capital." As Dean Emeritus of the Stern School,
Gitlow was instrumental on arranging for these meetings to give the graduate
students a picture of what they would face in the real world of domestic and
international business and guidance of how to be productive and constructive in
any ethical way.
While the discussions were wide-ranging, they nonetheless in one way or
another brought into consideration the two key elements every business leader
has to manage effectively and to some degree imaginatively--namely, talent and
capital. The successful leader has to manage these so there is a symbiosis
between them. Talent without capital is a mere show, with no progress or
productivity. But under a good leader, talent is supported by capital, so that
capital is maximized and the business is strengthened. On the other hand, no
matter how much of it, capital without talent cannot keep a business from
decline. Gitlow's main subject is the necessity of ethical principles, behavior,
and decisions in good management for the right interplay between talent and
capital. These alone do not account for successful leadership though. Such
leadership depends as well on the personal characteristics of "courage,
competence, health (physical energy), foresight, and ego." Gitlow discusses
these in the context of the varied and at times unpredictable situations today's
business leaders find themselves in; and with an eye on both the competitive
realities and social obligations a leader must always be mindful of in providing
leadership in any situation.
While using the series of meetings as a guide to the basic questions that arise
for business leaders and for how they arrive at suitable answers and reflect
these in their actions, Gitlow's book is much more than a simple record of the
meetings. The author goes into the diverse, but inter-related business
situations with his own insights and depth of analysis gained from his long
experience in teaching business ethics and interacting with business students.
Readers will find a business management and leadership guide that is much more
than today's innumerable and often contradictory self-help business books.
"Being the Boss" is not a presentation of simple rules or mottos; nor
is it an expounding of a current management theory. The virtue of Gitlow's book
is that it recognizes the multiple considerations and pressures leaders have to
continually deal with. Along with this, the book gives guidance on how to assess
these and sift through them to reach a satisfactory decision. In this, Gitlow
never looses sight of the human component of business leadership. He gives
guidance on how top business leaders can deal with complex situations and
challenging questions in ways that satisfy the role of respectable leadership
and the interests of employees, stakeholders, and the public.
Though the title does not explicitly state it, Gitlow's book is a book on
business ethics. In its analyses and guidance, it unfailingly looks to the
effects of leadership. And beneficial effects are not seen exclusively in
bringing in the highest profits by any means possible or in creating a
compelling, though largely unsubstantiated, image. Gitlow regards "ethical
CEOs and corporations as more successful than those that achieve greater
financial gains through unethical and shady practices." First published in
1992 long before the incredible ethical lapses demonstrated by Enron and
WorldCom in recent years wreaking devastating consequences on innumerable
employees, stockholders, and local economies, "Being the Boss" has
obvious relevance to central issues in the contemporary business world. In fact,
in an "Author's Note" dated April 2004 at the front of this
reprinting, Gitlow refers to the "recent corporate accounting
scandals" with a mention of how the lessons, decision-making, and oversight
covered in "Being the Boss" can bring back a state of business when
such scandals were uncommon.
Abraham L. Gitlow is Dean Emeritus of the Stern School of Business at New York
University. He is also the author of other books and journal articles.
From David I. Margolis, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer,
... the ultimate CEO primer. It touches all the bases with remarkable insight.
From Abraham Krasnoff, Chairman of the Board, Pall Corporation:
Being the Boss will be must reading for CEO aspirant...
From William F. Reilly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, K-III Holdings:
... Being the Boss explains in clear language how power is really exercised in corporations. [The] review of the many constituencies and issues an executive faces is comprehensive and thoughtful.
Abraham Gitlow is Dean Emeritus of the Stern School of Business, New York University. He is an honorary director of Bank Leumi USA. He is the author of numerous books and journal articles.
|CHAPTER 1. LEADERSHIP, POWER AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES
||Leadership and Power
|Is Leadership Divisible?
|Leadership, Changes in the Economic Environment,
and the Exercise of Executive Power
|Consensus and the Exercise of Executive Power
|Executive Power and Organizational Structures
|CHAPTER 2. PSYCHOLOGICAL MATURITY AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
|Psychological Maturity, Leadership
(Decision-Making Cycle), and the Exercise of Power
|Relationship to Structural Preferences
|The Exercise of Executive Power, Motivation, and
the Strength of the Management Team
|Does Authority of Position Affect the CEO's
|CHAPTER 3. EXECUTIVE POWER AND THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
||Control in the Modern Public Corporation
|The Emerging Importance of Institutional
|The Functions of the Board; The Data Required
and the Issues Faced
|The Power of the Board
|The Importance of Board Committees
|Are Board Directorships Desirable?
|Composition of the Board: The Traits Desired
|Litigation and Directional Independence
|Is Long-Run Corporate Health Enhanced by
|CHAPTER 4. EXECUTIVE POWER AND LABOR
||Is Labor Subservient?
|Points of Conflict between Executive Power and
|The Instruments of Executive Power
|The Instruments of Labor's Power
|The Emerging Mutuality of Interest
|CHAPTER 5. GOVERNMENT REGULATION AND EXECUTIVE POWER
||Types of Regulation
|Regulation, Litigation and Executive Power
|Regulation, Litigation and Outside Directors,
|Is Regulation a Deterrent to Misbehavior?
|Case of the Pharmaceutical Industry
|Role of the CEO in a Regulated Environment
|CHAPTER 6. THE MEDIA AND EXECUTIVE POWER
||A Stab at Definition
|Power of the Media
|Media's Corporate Culture
|Collision Points between Media and Other
|Fickleness of the Media
|CEO's Relative Weakness
|Investment Analysts, CEOs and the Corporate Rime
|Crisis Management, the Media and the CEO
|CHAPTER 7. THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND THE CORPORATE CULTURE
|Components of Corporate Culture
|Corporate Culture and Executive Power
|Winning Consensus while Transforming Culture
|Role of the CEO
|CEO's Personal Responsibility in the Face of
|Time, Changes in the Environment, and Corporate
|CHAPTER 8. ETHICS AND EXECUTIVE POWER
||Is Ethical Behavior by Business Important?
|Should Absolute Moral Standards Determine
|Is There a Gap between Idealized Ethical
Standards and Actual Behavior?
|Do Corporations and Their CEOs Inherently Tend
toward Unethical Behavior?
|Methods for Encouraging Ethical Behavior
|Do Business Schools Have a Responsibility?
|CHAPTER 9. EGOISM, EMPIRE BUILDING, EXECUTIVE POWER AND
||Leveraging Frenzy of the 80s
|Some Data on the Decade
|Egoism, Leveraging and Risk
|Fruehauf, Reliance Electric and RJR Nabisco
|Entrepreneurs and Professional Managers: Do They
View Risk Differently?
|CHAPTER 10. EXECUTIVE POWER AND THE EXPANDING ROLE OF WOMEN
||Some Relevant Trends
|Changes in Law
|Problems in the Path to the Executive Suite
|Are there Psychological Barriers Women Face in
Seeking and Exercising Executive Power?
|Women in the Boardroom
|CHAPTER 11. WINNING AND KEEPING EXECUTIVE POWER
|What Preparation, if Any, Is Important?
|Is Influence Important?
|What Is the Relative Importance of
Entrepreneurial and Managerial Skill?
|Executive Power and the Executive's
"Hold" on His or Her Job
|Is the View from the Top Worth the Effort of the
|CHAPTER 12. CONCLUSION