More Great Books on Leadership
In this book, which is one of the seminal works on followership, Ira Chaleff
explores a wide range of leader-follower dynamics and asserts that followers
must take significant responsibility for the quality of the leadership exercised
by their superiors. Chaleff argues that followers must start by being
competent and loyal so they can establish the credibility needed so the boss will sit up and take note when the follower
finds it necessary to speak truth to power. Chaleff also discusses the
circumstances under which followers should withdraw support, take a moral stand,
or even leave the organization. Just as important, he addresses how
leaders can cultivate the "courage to listen" and cultivate a climate of
openness. The newly-released Third Edition includes a chapter on "The
Courage to Speak to the Hierarchy," which discusses how the handle
communications when speaking to executives several levels higher in a large
organization. This book has much food for thought for those who are
willing to take ownership of their work climate and try to make it better.
We have known for decades
that a huge percentage of leadership learning comes from challenging and varied
experiences (see The Lessons of Experience, by Lombardo et al). However, there
has been virtually no work done on how people learn
from those experiences. That is a key issue, as some people learn a great deal
from those varied and challenging experiences, while others do not. Robert
Thomas has addressed this key gap in the literature on leadership by shining a
light into the black box of what he calls "crucible" experiences. After
interviewing close to 200 highly effective leaders, Thomas found several key
patterns to how they had learned to lead from challenging experiences that had
made them stretch. The common denominator he found is that they all had a
personal learning strategy that enabled them to systematically learn from those
challenging experiences. He then walks the reader through a reflective process
the leads to the development of a personal learning strategy. Extremely useful
Character: Strengthening the Heart of Good Leadership
The Leader's Guide to Storytelling is a
phenomenal resource for any leader who is interested in learning how to use
storytelling effectively in their organization. Denning describes the
basic kinds of stories that can (and should) be used in organizations, such as
stories designed to spark action, cultivate the organization's "brand" and
prepare employees for the future. He then provides a wealth of practical
tips (including a great matrix) about how and when to tell each kind of story. Exceptionally useful.
Read Chapter 1.
of Character: Illuminating the Heart of Leadership Through Literature
thoughtful new book, the authors of The Leadership
Challenge look at a wide range of leadership issues through the prism of how
leaders can go about creating a lasting legacy. Each chapter works well as
a short essay on a key leadership topic, but also ties into the overall theme of
how to create a legacy. Covers such issues as demonstrating courage,
earning and maintaining trust, creating a shared
vision, seeking feedback, telling stories, dealing with dissenting views,
empowering employees, and the importance of wanting to be liked.
Read Chapter 1.
book expands on the concepts first outlined by the authors in their article, "Developing
Versatile Leadership," which was published in the Summer 2003 issue of the
MIT Sloan Management Review. Kaplan and Kaiser
assert that leaders must be able to master
enabling and forceful styles of leadership while also finding a balance between
operational and strategic leadership. Most
leaders tend to prefer one style from each of these pairs, but the best leaders use the right amount of each
of the four styles--and at the right time. Includes an innovative approach to using
360-degree survey data as well as insights into why many leaders tend to
overuse or underuse some of the leadership styles.
Read Chapter 1.
Many leaders believe that
they have to have all the answers. In Leading with
Questions, Michael Marquardt argues that it is far more constructive for
leaders to ask well-crafted questions (instead of giving all the answers), as
doing so can help employees come up with solutions on their own. This is
highly motivating, as it gives employees ownership over the solutions they
implement. Includes many useful examples of great questions to ask and
shows how questions can be used to manage employees, build teams, and promote
change. Also provides many useful tips about how to craft penetrating
questions--and ask them properly. This is an excellent book for managers
who are new to coaching. Click
here to read a PDF of Chapter 1.
It may be human nature to avoid
conflict whenever possible, but doing so can often be anathema to good
leadership. Gus Lee's book Courage: The Backbone of
Leadership provides leaders at all levels a useful framework for tackling
difficult issues with integrity and courage. The author tells numerous
stories of real leaders who used courage to confront unethical behavior, resolve
conflicts with colleagues (subordinates, peers, and bosses), and challenge
wrongs. Also includes a useful self-assessment tool to help readers
identify their deep concerns and establish behavioral objectives. Read
Two co-authors of
Primal Leadership have teamed up again to bring us
invaluable insights about how leaders can break the cycle of stress, sacrifice
and dissonance that can so often derail the careers of previously successful
leaders. The authors outline a process of renewal that leaders can use to
regain and/or maintain the balance and resonance that are so critical to
effective leadership. This is a must read for public managers, as it
addresses leadership problems that are endemic in the public service.
In this superb sequel to Deep Change, Robert Quinn
introduces us to the "state of fundamental leadership"--a state
of being in which we are other-focused, externally
open, internally-directed, and purpose-centered. Quinn
contrasts the fundamental state of leadership with the
"normal state," in which we are self-focused, internally
closed, externally-directed, and comfort-centered. Includes
many great stories as well as reflective exercises that can help
readers on the path to deep change. Click
here to read chapter 1.
Are you faced with a
cynical staff, or perhaps new to an organization that has a history
of poor leadership? If you are seeking to establish and keep the
trust of your employees and coworkers this is an excellent book to
have handy. Based on 400 case studies and extensive questionnaires
distributed to over 15,000 people around the world, the authors
present a cogent argument for the importance of thinking of
leadership in terms of relationships--with credibility as the
cornerstone. The authors lay down a framework of six key
disciplines through which credibility will come naturally as
relationships are strengthened. This is a powerful book that will
change the way you think about leadership.
This thought-provoking book starts with the premise that deep
changes in an organization must begin with deep changes with the
individuals in that organization--whether they be the CEO or
a mid-level manager. Quinn argues that too many people--and
organizations-- choose "slow death" (i.e. incremental change or even
inaction) over "deep change" even though it is often only deep
change that can rejuvenate them. Includes many terrific
stories that provide insightful new perspectives on change and
If you find yourself spending a lot of time trying to "fix" your
relatively weaker performers, then you should definitely read this
book. Manzoni and Barsoux explain how the low expectations
managers project onto "perceived weaker performers" tend to become
self-fulfilling prophecies. Includes some great material on
how to recognize the syndrome, how to provide feedback more
effectively, and how to break out of the set-up-to fail syndrome's
downward spiral. See also the authors' article "Managing
Smart" from the Ivey Business Journal.
Ray Blunt argues in his article "Leaders and Stories..." that storytelling is a key tool for senior
executives to use in developing the next generation of leaders. The Story Factor is a superb manual for anyone who wants to improve their storytelling skills. Simmons explains how stories can be
one of the most effective means of influencing people who disagree with you. She also describes the six kinds of stories you should know how to tell and explains a number of storytelling "Do's and Dont's."
An exceptionally useful addition to any leader's toolkit. Click
here to read
a PDF version of Chapter 1.
In this extraordinary book, Zenger and Folkman use
data from the 360-degree evaluations of over 25,000 leaders to find
out what differentiates good leaders from great leaders.
Provides terrific insights about how leveraging certain combinations
of strengths can have a profound impact on a leader's effectiveness.
In this classic work on leadership, Kouzes
and Posner discuss many of the examples of great
leadership they have encountered in their nearly 20 years of collaboration and have
distilled their findings into a very readable and easy-to-use
framework. Contains many anecdotal examples of great
leadership from business, government, and NGOs.
Accountability is an engaging story of five strangers who meet on a train and
have a lively debate about how to improve organizational performance.
The wise older man in the group explains how you can
increase accountability in an organization by creating an environment in
which employees will
take ownership of their jobs. Cites many real-world examples that make a
compelling case for the idea that effective and engaged front-line
employees make for an effective organization. This model has been implemented with great success in
government organizations such as the Upstate
New York Veterans Health Care Network.
Well written and exhaustively researched book about how fairly successful companies made the transition to becoming great companies. Serves as a "prequel" to Collins' classic book, Built to Last. Good to Great can be useful to government managers, but especially so for those who are in a position to decide who is--and is not--on their team. (One of Collins' key findings is that the transition from good to great starts with getting the right people "on the bus" and getting the wrong people "off the bus.") Read more...