Crucibles for leaders

By Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove

For Nelson Mandela it was Robben Island. For John McCain it was Vietnam. There is a point in the lives of leaders, a moment when the leader makes the grade, when they leap from management to leadership, from team member to leader. For the leadership theorist Warren Bennis that moment came when he was the youngest infantry officer in the European theater of operations during World War II. This experience was what Bennis later labeled a ‘crucible’ – ‘a transformative experience though which an individual comes to a new or an altered sense of identity . . .

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