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How Leaders Finally Walk Away

In analyzing President Joseph Biden’s decision not to run for reelection, Yale leadership expert Jeffrey Sonnenfeld sees the underlying quest for heroic mission and stature that drives many epoch-shaping leaders—and often makes succession a tricky affair.

President Joe Biden
  • Leadership Lessons for Biden after the Afghanistan Withdrawal

    Yale SOM's Jeffrey Sonnenfeld offers advice for the president on recovering from his missteps, drawn from Sonnenfeld's decades of studies of business and political leadership.

    President Joe Biden leaving the podium after speaking at the White House about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
  • The Compromise Infrastructure Bill Reflects the Public’s Priorities

    The infrastructure bill that advanced in the Senate this week doesn’t please partisans on either side. But an analysis from Yale SOM’s Jeffrey Sonnenfeld shows a rough correspondence with the objectives favored by the public in polls.

    Senator Kyrsten Sinema speaking at a news conference on July 28, 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
  • How to Go Back to a Better Office 

    Heidi Brooks, who teaches leadership at Yale SOM and advises companies on everyday leadership and organizational culture, talks about how managers can approach this moment of transition with empathy—and have a meaningful impact at an important time.

    An illustration of people emerging from the woods into an office
  • Why Silence Is Not Golden for CEOs

    Yale SOM’s Jeffrey Sonnenfeld writes that companies have an interest in preserving democracy and other fundamental social issues, and silence is not an option for responsible CEOs.

    A wooden door with a microphone icon and "Office of the CEO" in gold
  • How George Floyd’s Murder Galvanized Corporate America

    A year after the killing sparked a wave of protest, Yale SOM leadership expert Jeffrey Sonnenfeld sees signs of a lasting change in corporate attitudes about racial justice.

    A mural of George Floyd at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, where Floyd was murdered in June 2020. Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images.
  • How Finding a Mentor—or Even Better, a Sponsor—Can Accelerate Your Career 

    In an excerpt from her book Social Chemistry: Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection, Prof. Marissa King explains how a more experienced colleague can help propel your career.

    A young penguin with an adult penguin
  • Georgia’s Voter Suppression Law Will Be the First of Many, If CEOs Don’t Speak Up

    Yale SOM’s Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and longtime UPS executive Teri Plummer McClure write that business leaders failed to live up to their pledge to defend democracy when they largely stood silent as Georgia enacted restrictions on voting.

    Demonstrators outside the Georgia Capitol on March 2, 2021. Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images.
  • How Firms Can Harness Internal Competition

    A new study finds that pitting teams against each other is effective in clarifying the way forward. But once a decision is made about which path to pursue, everybody must rally around the chosen idea—and not look back.

    An illustration of a CEO watching two teams building structures
  • A Peaceful Transfer of Power at Amazon

    We asked Yale SOM leadership expert Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, author of a landmark study of CEO succession, how Amazon will be changed by the departure of its founder.

    Jeff Bezos at a press conference in 2012. Photo: J. Emilio Flores/Corbis via Getty Images.
  • Can Business Leaders Be a Force for Democracy?

    In the wake of the presidential election, Yale SOM leadership expert Jeffrey Sonnenfeld hosted three urgent discussions with top CEOs, where they discussed their concern about attempts to overturn the results and made a much-reported pledge to freeze donations to legislators who voted to reject election results.

    An American flag surrounded by office towers