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What Do Leaders Really Do?: Getting under the skin of what makes a great leader tick

What Do Leaders Really Do?: Getting under the skin of what makes a great leader tick

Jeff Grout, Liz Fisher

ISBN: 978-1-907-29352-8

Feb 2010, Capstone

224 pages

$20.99

Description

An enormous range of literature on leadership and management theory has been produced over the years, some of it highly academic and much of it contradictory. What Do Leaders Really Do? takes the basis of the best-known management theories to see how they fit with the practical reality of leadership. How do leaders spend their time? Are they really preoccupied with strategy, vision and inspiring people? Do they lead by accident, or design? The book challenges the assumption that leaders are born, not made and explores the theory that female leaders are fundamentally different from their male counterparts.

What Do Leaders Really Do? Looks into the everyday working lives of well-known leaders in a variety of fields - business, sport and the armed forces - in order to identify the elements that encourage people to follow where they lead. Drawing on the experiences of a wide range of leaders with varying backgrounds and roles, as well as a range of respected academics and management writers, this book will closely analyze the background, experiences and behavior of a diverse set of leaders. A central part of the analysis will be a detailed examination of what these leaders do on a day-to-day basis.

It is not a book about management theory but an accessible, no-nonsense guide to those theories and how they translate to real life. Many people lead effectively without knowing how they do it; this book will isolate and identify the core skills and behavior displayed by effective leaders.

What Do Leaders Really Do? is intended to be a refreshing alternative to the hundreds of academically-oriented leadership books that are available. The tone will be straight-forward, accessible and sometimes humorous, rich with first-person evidence and anecdotes. It will dissect popular leadership theory into the easily understandable basics, with reference to the practicalities of real-life leadership situations. After all, what good is theory if it doesn't work in practice?

Foreword ix

Introduction xi

Acknowledgements xiv

Part One 1

1 Characteristics of Leadership 3

The charisma question 10

A substitute for charisma 12

Leadership by osmosis 14

2 Background 17

The influence of family life 20

Education 22

Learning leadership 26

Career progression 27

3 Influences 31

The influence of parents 32

The influence of teachers 35

The influence of bosses 37

Mentors and mentoring 43

Part Two 45

4 Vision 47

Creating the vision 49

Communicating the vision 54

Long or short term? 59

5 Decision-making and Risk 63

Military mission analysis 68

Risk and the military 70

Risk and business leaders 73

6 Mistakes and Setbacks 79

Learning from experience 85

Analysing failure and success 89

7 Change Management 93

Why do most change initiatives fail? 96

Communicating change 99

Culture change 102

Early days, quick wins 104

Part Three 109

8 Empathetic and Authentic Leadership 111

Empathetic leadership 113

Caring leadership 116

Sensing mood 118

Delivering bad news 121

Authentic leadership 124

The stories people tell 128

Visibility 131

Keep your distance 133

9 Motivation, Inspiration and Morale 135

Celebrating successes 140

Morale 142

Inspirational leadership 144

The role of oration 147

10 Choosing and Building a Team 151

The power of diversity 154

Trust 157

Developing future leaders 159

Preparing for success 160

Teamship rules and professionalism 162

Team spirit 164

11 Communication 167

Too much talk? 168

Authentic communication 171

Honesty and integrity 174

Communicating outside the company 176

Dealing with the media 177

12 Looking After No 1 181

Creating space to think 184

Self-improvement and learning 187

Recommended reading 189

Leadership and lifelong learning 190

Knowing when to quit 192

Final thoughts on leadership 195

Appendix 197

Bibliography and Further Reading 202

Index 204

“One of the best new books gathering insights into leadership styles from a range of successful people...” (Financial Director, October 2007)

""You will find stories that resonate and ""stick"" with you."" (People Magazine, October 2007)