Six Paths To Leadership In Gaming

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Sudhir Kal takes a closer look at leadership within the gaming industry and how the varying paths taken to the top can impact both how leaders view their role and how their role is viewed by others.

Previously, I have talked about leadership in the casino industry in the context of nine intelligences and the eight leadership archetypes. Both articles generated considerable interest and lively discussions on the topic from leaders as well as executives who reported to these leaders.

In this article, I discuss the six paths to leadership that executives take en route to heading their organizations. My discussion is based on a recent book, Six Paths to Leadership: Lessons from Successful Executives, Politicians, Entrepreneurs and More by Mary A. Clark and Meredith Persily Lamel. This book illustrates the authors experiences drawn from within and across paths, presented through themes, quotes and stories.


Executives assume leadership through somewhat distinct paths. The path to leadership impacts the leaders mindset and conduct in several key areas, such as their vision, passion, personal brand, credibility and espoused culture. The six paths to leadership and likely examples of each leadership type in the casino industry are:

We will now look at how each path will impact the leaders vision, passion, personal brand, credibility and culture. These aspects are illustrated in Table 1.

Table 1: Leadership Path and Impacts (Source: Adapted from Clark and Percily Lamel [2021])

When leadership is viewed through the lens of the path to leadership, several aspects of the leaders mindset, behaviors and values begin to make sense. Based on the path taken, each leader will face different sets of challenges in terms of establishing their personal brand and gaining credibility from staff. If employees understand the implications of a leaders path to the top, they will be able to better understand their leaders and appreciate why the leaders think and act the way they do. Such understanding will take a lot of the guesswork and speculation out of leadership style.

From the leaders perspective, understanding their path to the top will sensitize them to the challenges and complexities of their job and provide insights into what is expected of them.

Rob Goldstein, an Insider, will, of necessity, have to present a different style of management than does Wilfred Wong, an Outsider. While Rob Goldsteins job will require special attention to safeguarding the interests of major shareholders and their families, Wilfred Wongs attention will be more directed toward managing political dynamics of the firm.

Overall, the six paths and their industry exemplars provide a fascinating perspective for those among us who observe casino leadership in action.