Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Thomas Cronin, fully Thomas Edward Cronin

American Political Scientist, President of Whitman College, McHugh Professor of American Institutions and Leadership at Colorado College

"Leadership is generally defined as the capacity to make things happen that would otherwise not happen."

"The essence of the leader as artist is consciousness-raising and unlocking the energies and talents of fellow associates. Leaders at their best are not involved in doing great deeds so much as getting their followers to believe they can do great deeds and excel. Leaders define and defend and promote values. Or they help redefine values, and understand when, in Lincoln’s phrase, the dogmas of the past are inadequate for the stormy present. They understand when new circumstances call for new vision. Leaders are skilled listeners and learners, carefully consulting their own and their colleagues’ values, beliefs, and passions. As important as anything else, a leader has to nurture trust and self-confidence. Associates and followers expect leaders to have bold visions and to pursue them with enthusiasm. People being led yearn for a mission or vision that is clearly stated."

"We understand much of what is involved in leadership -- vision, strategy, cooperation, integrity, trust, intuition, goal-setting, motivation, mobilization, productivity, and renewal. Yet paradoxically, however much we admire, appreciate, and recognize it, precise definitions remain elusive. Yet we do know that leadership is all about making things (good and bad) happen that might not otherwise happen and preventing things from happening that ordinarily would happen. It is the process of getting people to work together to achieve common goals and aspirations. Leadership is a process that helps people transform intentions into positive action, visions into reality. Leadership involves the infusion of vision, direction, and purpose into an enterprise and entails mobilizing both people and resources to undertake and achieve shared ends."

"Successful teachers are vital and full of passion. They love to teach as a painter loves to paint, as a writer loves to write, as a singer loves to sing. They have a serious purpose and yet enjoy enormously what they do. They teach their subject -- politics, physics, psychology, or whatever -- as if it really mattered. They can get excited about their subject no matter how many times they have held forth on it. They vivify their subject and rise well above the mechanical, dry, or routine. They push themselves just as they push their students, and their courses become memorable learning experiences."

"Great teachers give us a sense not only of who they are, but more important, of who we are, and who we might become. They unlock our energies, our imaginations, and our minds. Effective teachers pose compelling questions, explain options, teach us to reason, suggest possible directions, and urge us on. The best teachers, like the best leaders, have an uncanny ability to step outside themselves and become liberating forces in our lives."

"Great teachers know that they are always on stage and that who they are, how they act, and what they believe are as important as what they teach. Teaching, like leadership, is a performing art. Nonverbal behavior -- eye contact, posture, tone of voice, intensity, facial expression, and attitude -- have as much impact as, if not more than, what is said. Whether people listen to and believe, as opposed to just hear, a teacher depends on a host of variables."

"The best teachers are forceful and demanding. They teach up, not down. They convince us that we are much better and brighter than we thought. "

"Good teachers demonstrate not only their learning but also the process by which they learn; they realize that part of their job is to teach people how to learn. Teachers teach not only their own subject but also the principles of study and concentration and their rewards."

"Effective leadership involves self-confidence, the audacity of hope, and sometimes even a fearless optimism. However, humility, self-doubt, and self-control are also essential."

"Both Bushes were held to a real and imagined Reagan bar. And when his father broke his promise on 'no new taxes,' he got hit really hard by the right."

"For most of our organizations most of the time, we still want to believe leaders make a significant difference?yet idealistic and romantic theories exaggerate the impact of leaders. Most of the time, ?leaders? are agents of their organizations or are at least shaped by them more than they are agents of change."

"George W. Bush always wanted to be like Ronald Reagan , rather than like his father."

"Leaders are supposed to lead, not follow the polls, yet they are often followers as much as they are leaders."

"Leaders invent and reinvent themselves. Their leadership usually is intentional, not accidental. Yet people also want their leaders to be open, relaxed, ?authentic,? sincere, spontaneous, and to somehow emerge from within rather than be imposed upon a group."

"Leadership often calls for intensity, enthusiasm, passion, dramatization and self-promotion?yet too much highly personalized volcanic energy can paralyze an organization. Too much of a ?cult of personality? can create dependence or other organizational dysfunctions."

"Leaders must be representative?yet not too representative; they need to consult and engage followers, and they need to respond to them. Yet they also must educate, motivate and unlock the best in everyone."

"One person can make a difference, and every person should try."

"Leaders need to unify their organizations or communities through effective negotiation and alliance building, yet leaders also have to sir things (3) up and jolt their organizations out of complacency. In short, we ask them to be uniters and dividers."

"We want decent, just, compassionate, and moral leaders, yet at times we admire and need tough, assertive, cunning, manipulative, and even intimidating leaders."