1st Edition

Lessons in Leadership from the White House to Your House

By Michael Eric Siegel Copyright 2023
    236 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    236 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book argues that we can learn a great deal about leadership from the experiences of eight US presidents who have served in the White House since Watergate. The eight presidents considered here differed widely in their family backgrounds, wealth, education, age, prior political experiences, and motivations for power. But they all made the same promise—to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the US and … preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States”—and they all faced considerable challenges in fulfilling that promise.

    While all eight presidents had policy successes and failures, the author argues that we gain real insight on their leadership acumen by analyzing the deeper structures of leadership effectiveness that all leaders need to address: vision, execution, management, and decision-making. The book assesses the performance of each president along these four dimensions of leadership and extends lessons learned to leaders in other sectors.


    Chapter 1. Introduction: The Presidency from the Constitution to the Biden Era

    Chapter 2. Policy (Vision): Importance to Presidents and all Other Leaders

    Chapter 3. Politics (Strategy, Execution): Importance to Presidents and all Other Leaders

    Chapter 4. Structure, Management: Importance to Presidents and all Other Leaders 

    Chapter 5. Process, Decision-Making: Importance to Presidents and all Other Leaders

    Conclusion: What Have We Learned about Presidential and Executive Leadership?


    Michael Eric Siegel is an award-winning adjunct professor of Government at The Johns Hopkins University. He is also the author of The President as Leader (Routledge, 2018). He has written at least 20 articles in professional journals and published four op-eds in the Baltimore Sun. From 1987 until 2021, Dr. Siegel served as a Senior Education Specialist at the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, DC.

    Praise for Lessons in Leadership From the White House to Your House

    Every leader and student of leadership should read this book. In Lessons in Leadership from The White House to Your House, Dr. Michael Siegel masterfully distills practical wisdom from the experiences of contemporary U.S. Presidents and skillfully applies them to the challenges facing leaders in all types of settings. This is not an easy feat. It takes deep knowledge, unbiased assessment, and objective exploration. Dr. Siegel’s timeless takeaways alone are worth the price. Given the present realities of often conflicting constituent expectations and changing workplace cultures, organizational leaders can learn a great deal from how Presidents navigated the dynamics of leading in a highly diverse environment.
    Jim Kouzes, coauthor of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge, and Fellow of the Doerr Institute for New Leaders, Rice University

    Siegel's Lessons in Leadership from the White House to Your House successfully marries the fields of presidency studies with leadership studies to produce a work of rare insight and value. All students of the American presidency will profit from a careful reading of this important and compelling new work that helps us understand the complexities and the nuances of presidential performance.
    Michael A. Genovese, Loyola Marymount University

    Michael Siegel has written an interesting, engaging, and readable book about presidential leadership just when we need it, when our democracy is under duress. Siegel superbly analyzes the leadership strategies and styles of eight presidents from Watergate to President Biden’s first term in office using four leadership components: "Policy, Politics, Management, and Decision." It is required reading for scholars, students, journalists, and the public generally.
    James A. Thurber, Distinguished University Professor of Government (Emeritus), American University

    Leadership skills are often described in lofty terms that are both simultaneously simplistic and unreachable. Dr. Siegel’s book bridges this gap by describing the essentials of leadership in a familiar and compelling context. With political neutrality, the author uses examples from our shared history to examine the leadership styles, challenges, failures and successes of our most recent American presidents.A must read for those interested in leadership or contemporary history.
    Elaine Terenzi, Chief US Probation Officer Emeritus; Member of Florida Board of Bar Examiners