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Waffler In Chief Or Flexible Leader?


Readers Report

WAFFLER-IN-CHIEF OR FLEXIBLE LEADER?

In reading "All the President's zombies" (Top of the News, Oct. 10), I was disappointed to see my position on President Clinton's leadership style to be represented 180 degrees apart from my actual opinions.

The author of this article interviewed me on a recent New York Times article I had written entitled "Haiti: Clinton's lessons in leadership." In my own article, published two days before my interview, I complimented Clinton on his flexible leadership style, allowing him to avoid being imprisoned by a rigid chain of command. The relevant lesson, in this case, was phrased as "Don't let the palace guard block your view." I drew parallels to the wise use of ad hoc trusted advisers by corporate CEOs and by American Presidents. This, for example, was a key lesson for J.F.K. after the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion, in time to provide him with better perspectives during the Cuban missile crisis.

I maintain this position on Clinton's inspired leadership. It is unfortunate that my position was unclear to

BUSINESS WEEK's readers.

Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld

Director

Center for Leadership &

Career Studies

Emory University

Atlanta


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