Managing the dream book review


Managing the dream is a book written by Warren Bennis, who is one of the most renowned leadership writers. The author explores all aspects of leadership from a theoretical and a practitioner point of view. The book is a perfect representation of leadership, which comprises of numerous essays that represents the author’s thinking towards what leadership entails. Bennis focuses on the core competencies of the aspect of effective leadership, at both the individual and group level in his book. Managing the dream is a tool for team leaders and managers who aspire to be effective in their leadership roles (Bennis, 2000). This paper represents a book review of Managing the Dream by outlining the core premise and concepts from the book, the three big ideas represented in the book. In addition, the paper outlines the way in which the core concepts from the book can be implemented at the workplace and their implications to organizations (Bennis, 2000).

The main concept of the book bases on the aspect of how dreams are related to leadership. The book focuses on how effective leadership can be modeled basing the aspect of dream. From the book, it is evident that effective leadership comprises of change embracement, mastering the art of leading and embodying the dream in order to mould the character of leadership in a person or within the group context (Bennis, 2000). Leaders are responsible for establishment and implementation of organizational missions; this can be achieved by use of the three concepts outlined in Managing the Dream.

The three phases are negotiating the dream, organizing the dream and embodying the dream. Each phase plays a distinctive role in modeling leadership skills at the individual or group level. Negotiating the dream majorly involves the learning the art of leading, and entails having an in depth understanding of managing the dream and the competencies of leadership. In addition, it imperative that leaders be on the leading edge of change and devise appropriate strategies to cope up with the speed and complexity of the present organizational context. Organizing the dream primarily entails deploying leadership aspects at the group or corporate level by use of the social architecture that is effective in the new aspect of global village (Bennis, 2000). This means that global leaders must think on the global level, and so is the implementation of their leadership strategies. The changes in complexity of the business environment pose a major challenge to the leaders of today. The effective leader should not have a negative attitude towards these changes but instead should focus on ways of developing strategies to cope up with the changes and view them as positive. The next-generation leaders should deploy a leadership strategy that employs dynamism and flexibility to cope with the current complexity in the organizational or group context.

Embodying the dream entails modeling the character of effective leadership, that which distinguishes a leader from his followers. Successful managers have distinctive traits from ordinary managers. One of such traits is that a successful leader is charismatic and transformational. A charismatic leader is able to achieve persuasion from his/her followers; he aims at more than just extrinsic rewards and focuses on transformational benefits. A successful leader uses transformational style; implying that a successful leader appeals to his followers and inspires them towards a given direction. In summary, the three big ideas represented in the book are negotiating the dream, which focuses on learning the art of leading; organizing the dream, which focuses on corporate and global leadership; and embodying the dream, which focuses on modeling the leadership character within an individual (Bennis, 2000).

The three big ideas can be applied at the workplace in various dimensions. For instance, shared leadership, developing people, empowering people and demonstrating integrity are areas in which the concepts from the book can be applied at the workplace. Empowering people entails motivation of individuals who have already accepted responsibility towards the realization of some goals and objectives. In a business environment, majority of the workforce want to have an influence on the decision-making processes that relate to their areas of technical competence (Bennis, 2000). Global leaders can achieve this through giving employees an opportunity to be leaders in their various areas of technical expertise. Efficient leaders must be able create an open working environment where there is open sharing of information and communication. It is thus the obligation of the successful leader to give opportunities to his staff a chance to be involved in the actual decision making process (Schermerhorn et al, 2005). It requires putting the business goals and objectives rather than more than just personal interests. Demonstrating integrity is one of the requirements of global effective leaders. Effective leader should not only say right things but also implement thing in a right way without violation of the ethical principles. In order to achieve these high levels of integrity, successful leaders must be plain and specific about their values and principles; whether they are self-directed or other-directed.


Bennis, W. G. (2000). Managing the dream : reflections on leadership and change. Cambridge, Mass: Perseus Pub.

Schermerhorn, J., Hunt, J., & Osborn, R. (2005). Organizational behavior. New York: Wiley.