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Successful management of complex system innovations requires extensive collaboration of people and organizations in multiple disciplines with strong political and economical implications. It also requires long periods of definition, development and sustained operation. This paper summarizes the leadership lessons learned from a six-year field study of complex infrastructure programs. The findings provide an insight into the critical success factors which influence stakeholder commitment and program performance in highly complex organizational environments. The paper offers a framework for assessing program leadership style and managerial effectiveness.