Cass Sunstein on the Virtue of Anxious Leaders

06/19/2015 02:09 pm ET | Updated Jun 19, 2016

Cass Sunstein is a professor and legal scholar at Harvard, the author of numerous books and the former administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He spoke with me about his experiences in the Obama administration, his views on regulatory policy and leadership, his favorite sport (squash) and being married to a powerful woman.

I'm a guest writer for On Leadership, is a vice president at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and heads the Partnership's Center for Government Leadership. The interview was edited for length and clarity.

Q. In your new book, Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter, you divide leaders into two categories: those who are complacent and easy going, and those who are anxious. Which type makes a better leader?

A. A complacent leader is someone who is upbeat, optimistic, who has a clear sense of direction, who is quite confident that things will be fine and who has a degree of sunniness. An anxious leader is someone who may be easy to get along with, but also is thinking about all the things that could go wrong and always seeing the worst case scenario.

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This post was originally featured on The Washington Post's website.