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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Global Protests Are an Indictment of Leadership and a Call for Leadership

by Wharton's Michael Useem

As Europe struggles to find solutions to its sovereign debt crisis, Wharton management professor Michael Useem sees the opportunity for leadership there to rise to a challenge: Putting Europe's needs above their own country, and themselves. For politicians seeking reelection, it might be a difficult challenge, but Useem says the willingness to make tough decisions and put others' needs before their own are the most inspiring and important qualities leaders can demonstrate in a crisis.
Useem, who is director of Wharton's Center for Leadership and Change Management, recently authored The Leader's Checklist, a collection of 15 principles that can help leaders navigate successfully through even the most difficult circumstances. Using such milestone events as the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners in 2010, the collapse of AIG in 2008 and the surrender of the Confederate army at Appomattox in 1865, Useem illustrates the difference between good and bad leadership, and how to achieve one's own personal leadership success.
Useem spoke to Arabic Knowledge@Wharton during a recent visit to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

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