Background Note | HBS Case Collection | August 1984 (Revised March 1989)

Direct, Personal Leadership

by Joseph L. Badaracco Jr. and Richard R. Ellsworth


Argues that to be effective leaders, general managers must focus on substance, not process, and aggressively combat the forces that can lead to the politicization of the organization. Examines the leader's direct role in setting and communicating goals, managing the formal systems and structures, and encouraging (rather than avoiding) constructive conflict.

Keywords: Leadership Style; Management Practices and Processes;


Badaracco, Joseph L., Jr., and Richard R. Ellsworth. "Direct, Personal Leadership." Harvard Business School Background Note 385-107, August 1984. (Revised March 1989.)