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Lead the Way

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This story appears in the March 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

George Washington. Winston Churchill. Jeffrey Skilling. Don't laugh. Until the past year, many management consultants, executives and business journalists lionized Enron's former CEO as a paragon of leadership similar to our first president or Britain's WWII icon.

Today, Skilling is more often compared to Ivan Boesky or Charles Ponzi, and investors, creditors and politicians are screaming for his head. But management experts say the vociferous anger over Enron, Tyco and other corporate implosions masks a subtler yet more serious concern. Simply put, does this series of scandals indicate that corporate America--both small businesses and large corporations--has forgotten how to define and discover outstanding leaders? More broadly, have Americans in general lost sight of the qualities that make up the finest leaders?

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