Bass & Bass on Leadership

In this episode of the Audio Tidbits Podcast, we take a somewhat different path. For those listeners who are serious about leadership, we are sharing excerpts from one of our favorite books on leadership written by well recognized experts in the field. The book is Bernard M Bass with Ruth Bass. The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications. Fourth Edition. New York: Free Press, 2008. We hope you enjoy the excerpts and find this podcast helpful.


If you would like more podcasts like this focusing on the work of recognized leadership experts, please let us know. Drop an e-mail to and we will try to accommodate to your interests.

101 Leadership Secrets

Moving to the head of the line comes through hard work, good luck, and the careful application of intuition and well-developed political horse sense. This is certainly true; and it would also help if you were related to the boss or happened to be the only qualified person on the planet.  Short of this, can you move into a leadership position on your own initiative, understanding that being the boss and being a leader are not necessarily the same and often are not? There are no guarantees; but knowing the 101 secrets of leadership and applying them conscientiously and consistently is a good start. You may not make it to the head of the line but you are sure to start moving up.


Start your journey by thinking about people you know who stand out from the crowd, people who are certifiable class acts, people who everyone sees as leaders. They have three techniques down pat. First, they are originals. Their style and approach with people and situations are their trademarks. Second, they are not on-again, off-again. They are always uniquely themselves. Third, and here is the key: it is no accident. They usually make it seem easy and natural. Still, take a closer look and you will soon understand and appreciate how hard they work at it. They consciously and purposely do everything they do, with style, all the time, on time, one situation at a time, one relationship at a time, one person at a time.


Genuine leadership is not grounded in flashy clothes, gestures of affection, superficial interest, staged behavior, or anything else that serves only to call attention to you. It is grounded in commitment, sincerity, and personal integrity. It is the stuff from which admiration flows, the special ingredient that sets the interpersonal standard that others aspire to follow. It is the brand of interpersonal excellence exemplified by those who have carefully cultivated their skills and techniques over time. They may not be born leaders but have certainly learned to lead.


Perhaps you personally know such leadership superstars. If so, you know that these representatives of the leadership elite provide a value-added benefit for their followers that they cannot get from the merely competent. Others have their occasional flashes of brilliance; but the creme de la creme work their wizardry consistently, creatively, and in virtually every situation. Of course, there is their uncanny ability to anticipate problems and opportunities and their simply taking it for granted that their followers are trying to do what is right. As important as that is, they have an even more important secret. They always remember and own everything they say, agree to, and do. The leadership bottom line is integrity; and following the lead of people who have it is your best path toward the head of the line. If your bottom line is integrity and you are committed to sticking to the high road with everyone, every time, you are ready to learn these 101 secrets of leadership. What's more, you are ready to join those at the head of the line in your company or organization.

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