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Leadership Conversations: Challenging High Potential Managers to Become Great Leaders

ISBN: 978-1-118-37832-8
320 pages
February 2013, Jossey-Bass
Leadership Conversations: Challenging High Potential Managers to Become Great Leaders (1118378326) cover image

Description

Conversation techniques and tools that can help strong managers become great leaders

Often the very same skills and traits that enable rising stars to achieve success "tenacity, aggressiveness, self-confidence" become liabilities when promoted into a leadership track. While managers' conversations are generally transactional and centered on the task at hand, leaders must focus on people, asking great questions and aligning them with the vision for the future. Leadership mindsets and skills can be developed, and Leadership Conversations provides practical guidance for connecting with others in ways that transform each interaction into an opportunity for organizational and personal growth.

  • Identifies four types of conversation every leader must master: building relationships, making decisions, taking action, and developing others
  • Provides an action plan for boosting your personal leadership potential, as well for developing leadership skills in others
  • Draws on the authors' rich experience coaching and working with leaders at a wide range of organizations, including NASA, the U.S. Navy, intelligence agencies, Boeing, Gillette, Bausch & Lomb, and Georgetown University

Leadership Conversations is required reading for both high-potential managers looking to make it to the next level and leaders looking to develop their people.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Are You Having Leadership Conversations? xiii

PART 1 THE HIGH-POTENTIAL CHALLENGES 1

1 Do You Really Want to Be a Leader? 3

2 What Blend of Management and Leadership Mindsets Is Best? 11

3 Have You Had Leadership Conversations Today? 19

4 Where Do You Stand on the Leadership Ladder? 29

PART 2 CONVERSATIONS TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS 35

5 Learn the New Rules 37

6 Your Relationships Defi ne You 47

7 Know Your Strengths and Their Shadows 57

8 People Aren’t Machines 65

9 Don't Let Them Assume They Know What You're Thinking 75

10 Embrace Differences 83

PART 3 CONVERSATIONS TO DEVELOP OTHERS 89

11 The Battle for Talent 91

12 The Challenge of Leading Other High Potentials 103

13 Conversations You Must Have 115

14 What Gets in Your People's Way? 127

15 Recognition—Making It All Worthwhile 139

PART 4 CONVERSATIONS TO MAKE DECISIONS 147

16 Develop Your Judgment Gene 149

17 What You Know Is Irrelevant 161

18 Be Curious—Ask Great Questions 173

19 If You Can't Change, Retire 187

PART 5 CONVERSATIONS TO TAKE ACTION 197

20 Moving Smoothly into Action 199

21 Planning Successful Actions 207

22 When Things Change 215

23 Lessons from Success and Failure 225

24 Inspiring People in Turbulent Times 233

PART 6 YOUR LEADERSHIP CONVERSATIONS 243

25 Conversations at the Top 245

26 Conversations for Executive Leaders 251

27 Conversations for Managers of Managers 257

28 Conversations for First-Line Managers 263

29 Your Personal Action Plan 269

Notes 275

Bibliography 277

Acknowledgments 281

About the Authors 283

Index 285

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Author Information

Alan S. Berson is an executive coach, leadership consultant, speaker, and professor. He has held leadership, strategic planning, and marketing roles at Fortune-500 firms including Gillette, Bausch & Lomb, and Marriott. He is a Learning Director at Wharton Executive Education and was an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business. He lives in Potomac, Maryland.

Richard G. Stieglitz is a business consultant and speaker. He started, built, and sold a company that helped government and industry executives lead change. Previously, he was a submarine officer in the US Navy and an executive in the aerospace and computer industries. He is the author of three books and publishes a monthly leadership e-letter. He lives in Potomac, Maryland.

For more information, please visit www.myleadershipconversations.com

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Reviews

“In their brilliant new book, Leadership Conversations, Alan Berson and Richard Stieglitz offer proven methods, instructive examples, and provocative questions that enable leaders to engage in more meaningful conversations—the kinds of conversations that produce innovative solutions, cause deep self-examination, and stimulate disciplined development. I highly recommend this book to leaders at all levels. When you apply the principles and processes in Leadership Conversations it will transform your relationships and your business.”
—James Kouzes, coauthor of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge, and Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

 “Leadership Conversations is a powerful tool executives can add to their arsenal to help them connect with their followers, thereby bringing their own unique philosophy into practice to meet today’s critical leadership challenges.”
—Jason Wingard, Ph.D., vice dean of executive education, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Leadership Conversations gets at the essence of leadership versus management and is a critical read for managers who must develop leadership skills. The ultimate lesson is recognizing and learning what you don’t know.”
—Donald E. Stone, Jr., PE, CEO, Dewberry

“Grounded in a belief that leaders need to master themselves, credibly lead work, and manage human systems, Leadership Conversations is a great resource for coaches and leaders alike. Coaches would do well to share it with the leaders they coach, as it offers thought-provoking ideas, tips, and ways to rethink and reimagine leadership, all aimed at greater well-being and success.”
—Christine Wahl, M.A.Ed., MCC, founder, leadership coaching program, Georgetown University

“In our time-constrained world, full of electronic communications, it is more important than ever for an aspiring leader to be able to conduct face-to-face conversations that unite organizations and make things happen. Leadership Conversations explains how.”
—Robert Wray, Rear Admiral, US Navy

Leadership Conversations is an excellent framework for executives to use worldwide in leadership training programs. It encourages grounded thinking around leadership and is a practical guide for developing leadership skills and discovering and forming one’s authentic leadership style.”
—Carol Roche Austin, head of human resources, Permira Advisors LLP

Leadership Conversations is a practical and valuable book. The leadership and communication principles are presented in a clear manner that is relevant to leaders at all levels. The real-world insights will help readers be more effective leaders, driving high performance and success.”
—Tom Mutryn, EVP and CFO, CACI International

“Cultivating leaders is key to the growth of any organization. Leadership Conversations translates years of experience into an easy-to-follow road map to help identify leaders and push them to reach their maximum potential.”
—Ed Erhardt, president, global customer marketing and sales, ESPN

“Katerva's rapid rise to a world stage, with its thought leadership in sustainability, could not have happened without following the principles in this book. Leadership conversations are the key to creativity and can spur global innovation.”
—Terry Waghorn, founder and CEO, Katerva

“With multi-national operational challenges, I need practical advice that I can implement quickly. Leadership Conversations delivers with examples and guidance on how to have effective conversations.”
—Wesley J. Johnston; EVP and COO, Americas; Dimension Data

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Press Release

February 01, 2013
LEADERSHIP CONVERSATIONS: Challenging High-Potential Managers to Become Great Leaders

Congratulations, you’ve just been promoted! While this opportunity is very exciting, perhaps you should wait before uncorking the champagne. The transition from management to leadership is considerably harder than most people expect. A big promotion does not just mean using the same skill set at a higher level--new leaders must master a whole new blend of management and leadership skills, with perhaps none more important than the ability to have the exact conversations needed to drive high individual, team and organizational performance.

Leadership Conversations (Jossey-Bass; 978-1-118-37832-8; e-book available; February 2013) by Alan Berson and Richard Stieglitz is the ultimate guide to thriving as a high-potential manager and climbing the ladder to become a top organizational leader. Rather than engaging in an ongoing race to be heard and/or produce short-term results, managers and leaders at all levels must learn how to ask great questions and listen to the answers, to create a culture that places more value on learning than on what people already know, and to foster innovation and strategic thought  to achieve long-term objectives.

At the heart of Leadership Conversationsis a tactical, practical guide to achieving this, setting out the four types of conversation every leader must master:

  • Conversations to Build Relationships: how to exhibit the emotional intelligence required to be an effective leader, embrace differences in order to connect with followers and align them with the organization's goals, and foster genuine transparency and honesty to gain trust and respect.
  • Conversations to Develop Others: how to drive long term growth and provide the foundation and fuel for future success by tapping into the abilities of others; how to mentor and recognize people, lead high-potential managers, and ultimately celebrate their success
  • Conversations to Make Decisions: how to integrate facts with people considerations and ask great questions that maximize potential. Key tips are provided on developing good judgment, empowering choice, the importance of being curious, and learning what you don't know (but need to) in order to make good decisions.
  • Conversations to Take Action: how to develop vision, allocate resources, and measure performance. How to avoid assumptions and entice followers into action in concert with the leader, rather than directing them to perform. Finally, based on the idea of military "after-action," how to discuss and learn from both failures and successes.

It's a different job at the top. Based on the proven management acumen of its authors, and including the stories of successful leaders from the authors' extensive network of contacts, Leadership Conversations is required reading for leaders of any level who want to improve their performance so they will be promoted into, and be successful at, higher positions.

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