chapter  6
Responsive Leaders: Cognitive and Behavioral Reactions to Identity Threats
ByRoderick M. Kramer
Pages 26

Such events remind us that it isn’t easy being at the top. They also remind us that leaders are expected not only to make sensible and prudent decisions as they manage their organizations but also to be adept at explaining and justifying those decisions. Yet, given the intense scrutiny directed at current leaders, successfully maintaining a positive image can be truly problematic (Sutton & Galunic, 1996). Both a skeptical and vigilant media and the various stakeholders of an organization have greater access to information and feel empowered to challenge leaders’ judgments and actions. As a consequence, leaders find their decisions endlessly dissected and debated by television pundits, watchdog groups, and bloggers. As Pfeffer (1992) succinctly noted, “To be in power is to be watched more closely, and this surveillance affords one the luxury of few mistakes” (p. 302).