An ILA Leadership Perspectives Webinar

The Snapshots of Great Leadership

Presenter: Jon Howell

Date: 27 April 2012


There is a long history of presenting stories of leaders and their great challenges as a way of illustrating leadership theories and concepts, and it remains a favorite approach in teaching about leadership. In fact, this is the way that the study of leadership began many centuries ago, with stories of the exploits and qualities of mythic leaders from Greece and the Orient. Snapshots of Great Leadership continues this tradition, and updates it, with this exceptional collection of stories of great leaders, some well known, others less so. These cases of leaders and leadership are indeed brief snapshots, but each is clearly embedded within leadership theory. While Snapshots contains stories of great historical leaders (e.g., Churchill, Gandhi, Lincoln), there are more contemporary leaders included such as Mary Kay Ash and Mark Zuckerberg, and some who are relatively unknown. In addition to the great leaders who championed positive social change and led nations to greatness, there are snapshots of bad leaders and leadership (e.g., Hitler, Idi Amin). This suggests that we can learn a great deal from the good and successful leaders, but also learn what we, as followers of leaders, and leaders ourselves, must avoid. Participants of the webinar will explore various types of leadership the examination of select snapshots of great leadership.

Snapshots of Great Leadership is a book of stories. Most of the stories describe great leaders who accomplished amazing feats such as creating, preserving or changing a nation or industry, or saving a group of people from exploitation or annihilation. A few of these stories describe bad leaders who brought death, destruction or ruin to scores or thousands of people. In retrospect, the disastrous effects of these bad leaders are no less astounding than the incredible accomplishments of the great leaders. Although the goals of these individuals were often quite different, the leadership processes they used were frequently similar. In this book, Howell describes who these leaders were, how they developed, what they accomplished, and how they did it. For each leader, he refers to existing leadership theories to help explain their leadership attributes, tactics and behavior as well as their effects on others and their environment. Snapshots of Great Leadership includes a beginning chapter that briefly describes the major leadership theories included in most leadership textbooks. Following each leadership Snapshot, Howell also describes how that leader’s attributes and behavior relate to the different leadership theories. The webinar is designed to introduce the listeners to several of these leaders and to begin to answer the following questions:
  • What were/are these leaders like as individuals?
  • What are the leadership techniques, behaviors and processes they used to have such incredible effects?
  • How do their leadership techniques and behaviors reflect different theories of leadership?
  • What differences can we see between the great leaders and the bad leaders?
  • How can these leadership stories be used most effectively in the classroom?

Participants in this webinar will have the opportunity to explore these issues and to discuss the use of leadership stories in teaching and learning about effective leadership.

Speaker Information

Jon Howell

Jon Howell is Professor Emeritus of management in the College of Business at New Mexico State University (NMSU). He received his MBA from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Irvine. He taught and conducted research on leadership for 31 years and was previously the Bank of America Distinguished Professor of Management. He received awards for excellence in teaching and research at NMSU. Professor Howell has published a leadership textbook titled Understanding Behaviors for Effective Leadership (2nd edition, 2006, Pearson Prentice Hall) as well as numerous book chapters and articles in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Leadership Quarterly, Organizational Dynamics, Journal of Management, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of World Business and other journals. He has received awards for his research from the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Academy of Management, the Center for Creative Leadership, and the Global Leadership Advancement Center. He served on the editorial board for Leadership Quarterly and Journal of World Business. He is a country co-investigator on the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) Project which was led by the late Robert House of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. His primary research interests are leadership and followership, substitutes for leadership, and leadership across cultures.