Leadershipnow.com / The Best Leadership Books of 2008
By now, many leaders have realized that when it comes to business, nice guys often finish first. Old-fashioned images of corporate callousness and greed have been replaced by a gentler, more human conception of great leadership. But how does one define "kindness" in the context of business? And what is the best way to "use" this deceptively complex notion as a guiding principle to lead an organization successfully into the future?
Far from presenting a naive idea of kindness, this eye-opening book identifies the surprising attributes successful "kind" leaders share. Readers will learn how they can use kindness to:
- motivate employees, committee members, and others
- recognize unique talents while nurturing all employees
- establish a supportive environment
- spur continuous organizational growth
- adapt to change
- stimulate calculated "stretch" and risk-taking
- prepare the next generation of leaders
This realistic book shows leaders how they can use sincerity, honesty, and respect for the good of their organizations.
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Too often in the world of business, kindness is regarded as a weakness. True or not, the perception of kind leaders is that they are either too timid to be truly effective, or that they rely on their inherent “niceness” in place of knowledge, courage, toughness, and the ability to persuade. Consequently, the development of kindness as a leadership trait is sorely overlooked—if not scorned outright.
But as it turns out, being kind is one of the most crucial attributes of some of the world’s most successful business leaders. Far from a euphemism for “soft” or “wishy-washy,” true kindness demonstrates a powerful confidence in oneself and those one leads. And not some intangible quality that one either “has” or doesn’t, kindness is an amalgamation of quantifiable, learnable, and refinable traits and skills.
Leading with Kindness identifies six ingredients of kindness—compassion, integrity, gratitude, authenticity, humility, and humor—none of which might readily spring to mind when envisioning the archetypal business leader. But they are absolutely essential to powerful leadership. The book also points out obstacles to each of the six qualities, and (crucially) offers real-world, everyday management and leadership approaches that build and demonstrate each one. For example, an obstacle to compassion is distance. A simple solution is to get out of the executive suite and into the field with the rank and file.
Obvious? Then why doesn’t every leader do it?
And why doesn’t every leader deal in the truth? “The truth matters,” write authors William Baker and Michael O’Malley. “It would not be kind for leaders to allow others to persist in a world of untruths by misrepresenting how they, others, or the company are doing—good or bad. Kind leaders endorse reality.”
Similarly, while every good leader is eager to promote the growth of his or her charges, truly kind leaders know that part of growth is the experience of failure. Kind leaders will not shelter their employees from every single setback or mistake, but rather offer the response and guidance that will help employees learn from mistakes and unforeseen circumstances, and build knowledge for the future.
Based on interviews with two dozen executives and leaders from corporations worldwide—including John Deere, Disney, Time Warner, Citibank, GE, and Smuckers—the public sector, the cultural arts, the military, and other realms where effective leadership is vital, Leading with Kindness identifies those qualities that help the best leaders:
- Motivate their employees to excellence
- Nurture all employees universally while recognizing unique talents
- Stimulate calculated risk-taking
- Adapt to change
- Prepare the next generation of leaders
You can’t assume that you are a respected leader simply because you are nice, fun, and nonthreatening. But if you are truly kind—that is, genuinely committed to the welfare of your company and your people through thick and thin—you will reap the broad and sustained benefits of trust, honesty, commitment, and loyalty from every corner of your organization for years to come.
William F. Baker, Ph.D., is President Emeritus of Educational Broadcasting Corporation (Thirteen/WNET and WLIW21) and Executive in Residence at Columbia University Business School.
Michael O’Malley, Ph.D., is Executive Editor for Business, Economics, and Law at Yale University Press, and adjunct professor at Columbia University Business School.From the Back Cover:
Advance praise for Leading with Kindness:
“Familiar notions about ‘leadership’ and ‘kindness’ are unseated when the terms are redefined by two savvy observers, doctors Bill Baker and Michael O’Malley. Then, with help from a roster of superachievers, Baker and O’Malley do a captivating mash-up, creating a timely concept sure to motivate any ambitious reader who really wants to ‘make things happen.’” — Charles Dolan, Chairman, Cablevision Systems
“Kindness, as the authors define it, is a sign of strength, and every organization could use more of it. This book is a thought-provoking guide for leaders, and aspiring leaders, who want to stand out from the crowd and achieve extraordinary things.” — Anne Fisher, Fortune magazine and CNNMoney.com “Ask Annie” workplace columnist
“The American workplace would be a lot more productive, and fun, if only managers would follow the advice of this book. Let’s hope they do. Baker and O’Malley show us through numerous examples that kindness brings out the best in workers and is the key characteristic of great leaders.” — Susie Gharib, Anchor, PBS-TV’s Nightly Business Report
“Baker and O’Malley transcend the muscular clichés of the endless sports manuals on leadership and vanity reflections of egomaniacal executives to reveal genuinely strong leaders whose success is anchored in their integrity, credibility, vision, insight, inclusion, and fairness. There are no coercive, pampered bullies in this book. I know most of the leaders profiled in this book firsthand and find this book to be accurate and an indisputable reminder that good guys can finish first.” — Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, author of Firing Back and the Senior Associate Dean and Lester Crown Professor of Management, Yale School of Management
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Buchbeschreibung Amacom Books, 13.08.2008., 2008. Buchzustand: Gut. 237 Seiten Buch ist durch Druckstellen am Cover verlagert (wellig), kleine Lagerspuren am Buch, Inhalt einwandfrei und ungelesen 213902 Sprache: Englisch Gewicht in Gramm: 600 23,1 x 15,5 x 3,0 cm, Gebundene Ausgabe. Artikel-Nr. 151178