What can serious fiction teach business leaders? The answer will surprise you…
The hardest tests for business leaders challenge their character as much as their skills. Leaders grow by meeting these challenges – but only if they ask difficult questions about themselves.
Joseph Badaracco argues that literature helps leaders develop personal answers to specific questions. Serious fiction provides fresh, powerful perspectives on the fundamental dilemmas facing today’s managers and executives. While reading compelling stories in which memorable protagonists grapple with questions of character, leaders can watch them worry, hope, commit, exult, regret, and reflect, while being tested, strengthened, or weakened. These experiences deepen leaders’ self-knowledge, enabling them to be more effective.
Badaracco examines eight universal leadership challenges through the lenses of celebrated stories:
“Do I have a good dream?” Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
“How flexible is my moral code?” Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart
“Do I have unsettling role models?” Allan Gurganus’s Blessed Assurance: A Moral Tale
“Do I really care?” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Love of the Last Tycoon
“Am I ready to take responsibility?” Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Sharer
“Can I resist the flow of success?” Louis Auchincloss’s I Come as a Thief
“How well do I combine principles and pragmatism?” Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons
“What is sound reflection?” Sophocles’ Antigone
Presenting classic leadership dilemmas in a powerful, innovative light, Questions of Character helps established and aspiring leaders alike prepare for the opportunities and tests that lie ahead.