6 Timeless Books That Every Leader Should Read

We are currently living in uncertain times…

We find ourselves developing new habits in an effort to adapt to changing circumstances and look towards more stable institutions.

The advice contained in these books demonstrate how to thrive as a leader in uncertain times, have stood the test of time, are collection of fundamental principles of leadership and of success.

Below is our selection of 6 timeless leadership books that every leader needs to read !

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1. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is one of the most classic book on leadership that divulges pragmatic guiding principles.

Stephen R. Covey encourages people to create habits to helps them face obstacles, master themselves, grow consistently professionally and personally.

2. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier is all  about asking more questions and talking less are ways to become a better leader.

Indeed, the loudest voice in the room is not necessarily the best leader or the only leader in the room.

Michael Bungay Stanier suggests 7 hard questions to help leaders unlock their true potential, to coach themselves and their team.

3. Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek defines the greatest qualities of leadership.

For Simon Sinek, in order to be successful, leaders have to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the team and create a healthy company culture.

A healthy company culture is an environment where trust is central, where employees can collaborate, develop their knowledge, are able to conquer anything, become leaders themselves and do remarkable things.

4. Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell

In Developing the Leader Within You, John C. Maxwell introduces us to the 11 internal shifts or Leadershifts that leaders should implement in order to achieve career advancement and real success.

For John C. Maxwell, leaders are continual learners, they learn from everyone and everything.

They get out of their comfort zone, know how to get information and are selective with the information they intake.

5. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow by John C. Maxwell

In The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow, John C. Maxwell shares and explains the 21 rules on effective leadership.

Thanks to these irrefutable laws, leaders are able to learn, apply what they learn, attract talent, manage and lead teams, and plan their legacy ahead of time.

6. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends & Influence People illustrates different ways to build healthy relationships.

According to Dale Carnegie, leaders are those who are able to communicate effectively with their team, promote, persuade, empower and influence others.

Last Words Of Advice!

These of the most famous and most classic books on leadership.

Each anecdote, principle, and sentiment remain true to this day.

These books will not create instantaneous change within yourself but will gradually change your perspective on life and encourage you to pursue continual learning.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

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Best Self: Be You, Only Better By Mike Bayer

What is your Best Self?

Your Best Self is unique, positive, evolved and aligned with your truth.

When you are being your best self, you are being your most authentic and at your core.

Best Self: Be You, Only Better By Mike Bayer #books #bookreview #selfesteem #selfimprovement #leader #leadership #selfdevelopment #lifecoaching #lifecoach

1. How to connect with your Best Self?

Connecting with your Best Self takes time and requires patience. To get in touch with your Best Self:

  • Express gratitude frequently to get out of a negative space. Make a gratitude list of everything that puts you in a good mood or elevates you in any kind of way.
  • Embrace change. Everybody can change if they want to, they just have to apply the right motivations.
  • Identify your fears. Once you have identified your fears, put them to the test to see if your assumptions are true, if they are rational, if they help you succeed, or if they serve your best interests.
  • Recognize any signs of egotistical behavior. Once you have acknowledge your behavior, assess the origins of it and get your ego in check.

2. Assessing your Best Self

“SPHERES stands for Social life, Personal life, Health, Education, Relationships, Employment, and Spiritual life”.

The SPHERES tool, create by Mike Bayer, is a screening tool used to assess your Best Self in all areas of your life.

Your social life 

In the SPHERES tool, your social situation determines how well you project your Best Self to the world.

It then becomes imperative to analyze how you interact with people. You can also assess your ability to send clear messages, to listen to others, to embrace human emotions, to handle highly charged situations, to give and receive feedback.

Your personal life

Your personal life contains your self-image, your self-talk, the level of compassion and respect you have for yourself.

To create the personal life that you want, you will have to:

  • Rewire your brain to think positively by challenging your internal dialogue.
  • Get familiar with what you are constantly telling yourself.
  • Identify the messages you tell yourself when you are under pressure.
  • Log your thoughts and your self-talk, identify the common themes and tones.
  • Be compassionate with yourself. Take care of yourself and monitor your stress levels before they snowball. If you take care of yourself, you will definitely be able to take care of others.
  • Connect with your passions. Your passions will vary throughout your life. Your passions will allow you to express yourself, to strengthen your bond with your Best Self and vibrate at a higher frequency. To find your passions, explore new things, challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone.

Your health

Prioritizing your well-being allows you to be present, keep a clear mind and achieve your Best Self.

Your education

Remaining in a “lifetime learning mode” will help you evolve into your Best Self and become more self-aware.

Once you find your passions, you will take pleasure in acquiring knowledge in that field.

Your relationships

Your relationships reflect who you are as a person.

Your Best Self will gauge who you want to be around, judge the health of a relationship and help you make the tough decisions.

In order to stay connected to your Best Self in all relationships, you must define your core values, exercise them and identify the people who live up to them.

Your employment

We spend most of our days at work.

So, when we are not able to fully be ourselves, our work life tends to become draining.

It somehow becomes important to nurture our Best Selves at work or create a career path that allows us to maximize our potential at work.

Review

In Best Self: Be You, Only Better, Mike Bayer encourages people to be their Best Self.

In addition, Mike Bayer shares tips and tools to help you achieve your Best Self. He helps you make a diagnostic of all the aspects of your life and provides practical solutions to your problems.

Furthermore, Best Self: Be You, Only Better is a workbook that teaches you how to fix what’s inside to fix outside. It is on point when it comes to assessing people’s behavior and can conveniently be revisited several time in your life.

Best Self: Be You, Only Better is ideal for leaders who want to improve their leadership skills and bring their best selves at work. It becomes clear that if you are your best self, you can create the best teams, take care of others and create the best organization.

With this workbook:

  • Get in touch with your Best Self.
  • Reach your highest potential.
  • Find more balance in your life.
  • Evolve, change, reinvent yourself and improve your life.
  • Learn to handle adversity and crisis.
  • Discover your truth and your purpose.

Let me know below what you think about this book!

Favorite quote(s)

Many of society’s “rules” simply don’t apply to us as individuals, and if we spend all our energy on trying to be, do, say, and act like society wants us to, we are simply wasting time we could be spending on discovering and connecting with our Best Self.

Self-care is foundational to living your ideal life.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Mike Bayer

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Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others by Tacy M. Byham and Richard S. Wellins

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Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others acknowledges the hardship of a first-time leadership position plus strives to guide and assist new leaders in:

  • Becoming “Catalyst Leaders”. “Catalyst leaders represent the gold standard—energetic, supportive, forward-thinking mentors who spark action in others”.
  • Coping with the transition from contributor to leader, dealing with the uncertainty of the new position
  • Building or improving leadership skills,
  • Communicating effectively with your team and your bosses,
  • Working with members of your team, coaching them, engaging with them and motivating them in order to obtain results,
  • Navigating organizational politics.

Several self-assessment tests, quizzes and diagnostics are implemented in the book to make light of a challenging situation, to evaluate and enhance your leadership skills.

Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others by Tacy M. Byham and Richard S. Wellins #book #bookreview #leadership #leadershipdevelopment #success #successmindset https://journeytoleadershipblog.com

According to Your First Leadership Job, the catalyst leader should follow the following steps to ensure success:

  1. Learn your organization’s culture and get to know your team and your bosses to get a better understanding of your role, your priorities, the expectations from your team and from upper management, the current reputation of your team, their preferred communication methods and finally, their good and bad habits.
  2. Make a first good impression the moment you step into your new role. Judgement by your team will instantly be formed about your capabilities to lead.
  3. Develop a leadership brand. In order to develop a leadership brand, be authentic (show your integrity through your actions), bring out the best in people (understand and improve your team skills, encourage, motivate and coach them), be receptive to feedback.
  4. Address and meet your team personal needs. To do so, use the five Key Principles: Maintain or enhance self-esteem motivate the team. Listen and respond with empathy to diffuse negative energy and create a positive environment.Ask for help and encourage involvement to show that you respect and value your team’s opinion, knowledge and skills.Share thoughts, feelings, and rationale to build trust. (to build trust)Provide support without removing responsibility. (to build ownership)
  5. Implement or improve your common leadership interaction styles.
  6. Start seeking performance results and meeting the company’s requirements/needs by developing an execution strategy (focus on the three major priorities at a time, manage time accordingly and measure task progress with indicators, create milestone for the team, by holding your team accountable for their own results)
  7. Learn how to hire new candidates for a job by asking the right questions during the interview.
  8. Develop a good working relationship with your boss.
  9. Master meetings and make them meaningful.  Your ability to lead will be estimated by your ability to organize and run a meeting.
  10. Give positive or developmental feedback.
  11. Learn to handle difficult employees.
  12. Delegate tasks and the authority associated to the task accordingly to achieve results faster and more effectively. Delegating also helps to save up your time for higher priorities a tasks.

Review

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Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others  by Tacy M. Byham and Richard S. Wellins is a self-help book destined to potential, first-time or frontline leaders.

Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others is a clear and methodical how-to book that does not only define leadership but also shares tips on how to become a “Catalyst Leader” and how to withstand challenging situations that most first-time leaders encounter.

I largely recommend it to introverted, shy, unexpected leaders who don’t always know how to navigate office politics along to women who are ambitious but not confident in their leadership skills.

For my part, as an introvert and a woman, I have been in three unofficial leadership positions that started successfully but ended in failure. Before reading this book, I was not able to pinpoint my weaknesses nor able to fix my situation.

Your First Leadership Job has been resourceful, reassuring and has given me hope that I can still pursue my journey towards leadership. I now have a positive perspective on my experiences.

As a result, I am currently learning how to earn my team’s trust, convey a message and share a vision with my team.

Favorite quote(s)

“Catalyst leaders represent the gold standard—energetic, supportive, forward-thinking mentors who spark action in others”.

Earlier in this book we pointed out that what makes you a successful leader may have nothing to do with what made you successful in the past. The challenges you face as a leader are much different—and they can be extra tough.

Ratings 4/5

Authors

Tacy M. Byham

Richard S. Wellins

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The Four Agreements By Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz gathers four “agreements” to live by to ensure a better lifestyle, a deeper understanding of life, a life in the moment.

What is an agreement?

The four agreements come from the Toltec teachings of wisdom. The goal of this book is to make each agreement a habit.

An agreement is:

  • a programming of the mind.
  • a language, a code that helps us understand each other.
  • a belief system that has domesticated us.

It represents the rules that we abide to, that we pass down from generation to generation.

Unfortunately, we have not chosen the agreements that we live by. Most of the time, they have been chosen for us and have existed longer than we have.

The Four Agreements By Don Miguel Ruiz

The First Agreement

The first agreement is to be “impeccable with your words“. This means that you must be careful of not using words against yourself and others.

Indeed, there is power in the words that you use. Matter of fact, it is the most powerful tool at your disposal. 

You can use your words to create beauty or to wreak havoc.

“What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word”.

What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word. Click To Tweet

Purpose of the agreement

Being “impeccable with your words” helps you suppress any toxicity from your mind, free your mind from fear and doubt, and filter out negativity.

Implementing the agreement

Furthermore, words grow and take root in your mind if you are not careful. So:

  • Be true to yourself.
  • Be careful of the words that you use on yourself.
  • Do not speak against yourself.
  • Avoid gossiping and don’t believe gossip.
  • Accept and love yourself so you can demonstrate love and acceptance toward others.

The Second Agreement

The second agreement is to not “take anything personally”.

Often times, people are preoccupied with their own beliefs, feelings and opinions about themselves that they take out on others.

Even if they insult you directly, it is wise not to take their insult personally.

Purpose of the agreement

This agreement is necessary to avoid burdening yourself with people’s problem, setting “yourself up to suffer for nothing”.

Acquiring this habit will help you free yourself, keep your heart open, see people for who they really are, and be unaffected by fear.

Implementing the agreement

Understand that:

  • All opinions about you are not necessarily true.
  • Opinions about you depends on the person and on their moods.
  • We can choose what to believe and what to agree with.
  • You must trust yourself and don’t need to trust anyone else.

The Third Agreement

The third agreement consists in not making assumptions.

Undeniably, assumptions are not the truth and breeds problems.

Purpose of the agreement

The third agreement will help you build better relationships and increase your communication skills.

Implementing the agreement

To properly implement this agreement:

  • Ask for clarifications rather than making assumptions.
  • Remember that it is OK to ask questions.
  • Collect the right data about people and situations first.
  • Don’t assume that people can read your mind.
  • Ask for what you want, expect yes or no. Understand that you can say yes or no as well.

The Fourth Agreement

This fourth agreement encourages you to always “do you best” and consolidates all previous three agreements.

Purpose of the agreement

Forming the habit of always doing your best will:

  • Save you from harsh self-judgement.
  • Increase your production.
  • Mature your self-love.

Implementing the agreement

Keep in mind that:

  • Your best will fluctuate all the time. It will depend on your mood, on your energy level, on your health and on your situation.
  • You must take action without expecting any rewards. This way, you will be able to enjoy your actions better.

Review

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz provides a very powerful perspective on life. It encourages self-transformation, self-awareness, self acceptance, and the understanding of others.

I found out briefly that The Four Agreements, yet short, is thoughtful and goes straight to the point. It calls out society’s hypocrisy, fear and domestication.

Everyone I know who have read this book has felt elevated. It was therefore hard to resist reading it and I have to say that I did not regret it.

As you read, you will find that you already had the knowledge and the wisdom within you but have been holding it back. You will learn to trust yourself and set yourself free.

Favorite quote(s)

The word is not just a sound or a written symbol. The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life.

Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, don’t take it personally.

Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore, you don’t need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally.

All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally.

Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way that we deny life. Inaction is sitting in front of the television every day for years because you are afraid to be alive and to take the risk of expressing what you are.

Ratings 4.5/5

Author

Don Miguel Ruiz

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Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor by Bennis, Goleman, O’Toole and Biederman (part 3)

Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor is a collection of three essays written by BennisGolemanO’Toole and Biederman.

The new transparency by Warren Bennis

The new transparency, by Warren Bennis, is the third and last essay of Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor. This essay defines digital transparency, focuses on the effects of the “digital revolution” and how it has made transparency quasi inevitable in modern day organizations.

Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor by Bennis, Goleman, O’Toole and Biederman (Part 3) #book #books #bookreviews #transparency #candor #companyculture https://journeytoleadershipblog.com

What is the upside of the new transparency?

Transparency notoriously drives success, effectiveness and trust between members of an organization.

The emergence of internet has been able to fill the cultural need for transparency, to break down old rules and traditions, to erase borders and social status barriers.

In particular, the rise of blogs has transformed the mainstream media. Blogs shape the public opinion. Moreover, mainstream media now rely upon them to exchange and to create loyalty amongst their viewers.

Furthermore, the rise of blogs has transformed politics (for the better?).

Indeed, blogs have increased transparency over the years: in many countries, the government and politicians can no longer hold secrets, maintain exclusive power and absolute control over citizens.

Blogs have become a political and diplomatic tool to fight corruption and power abuse. They were able to:

  • Expose insiders “secrets to outsiders” in corporations: most bloggers whistleblow freely, safely and anonymously.
  • Change the societal game. Protests happen in the streets as well in the cyberspace.
  • Evenly distribute information and knowledge. Seeing that knowledge is power, blogs have created a new power that have made leaders “lose their monopoly on leadership”. Blogs have given a digital platform for people from  different nationalities, social categories and spheres of influence to express their opinions.

What is the downside of the new transparency?

First of all, the digital transparency incites a lack of privacy. Most individuals’ confidential information (credit card number, personal records,…) transits openly on internet, which makes them vulnerable to hacking and allows misuse of information and illegal tracking of their information.

Also, the “digital realm is wild and minimally policed”. Some users take advantage of the anonymity of internet to dishonestly compete, to openly attack an institution, organization or another individual under false pretenses.

Digital transparency has devalued, through the mainstream media, “authentic expertise by treating ordinary viewers and readers as the equals of those with genuine insight and experience” to enhance their viewers’ loyalty.

Unfortunately, it also impedes their viewers from comprehending or appropriately analyzing complex facts and events.

Warren Bennis denotes that blogs, acquiring greater influence and outreach than news paper, will substitute the latter if the content “commit to high standards of accuracy, fairness, and conduct”.

On the internet, where there are no secrets, where information persists for several lifetimes and where truth is relative, users are able to decide the perimeters of transparency, to fabricate the truth and to create the persona they want.

However, users are unable to vet and verify the actual truth.

To read the review on the first essay Creating a culture of candor by Warren BennisDaniel Goleman, and Patricia Ward Biedermanclick here.

To read the review on the second essay Speaking truth to power by James O’Tooleclick here.

Review

SearchTransparency.jpg.jpegThe new transparency by Warren Bennis is a proper conclusion to the book Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor that delivers impartial views on the internet and the blogosphere.

While reading his book, several contemporaneous examples came to mind such as the Black Lives Matter Movement that started in summer 2013, in the United States and has since then spread itself to different countries, to different nationalities and cultures.

Social Media and blogs have definitely given the Movement the tools that it needed to speak up about police brutality on African-Americans, to show proof of police misconduct, to syndicate and organize itself and finally, to resist oppression.

One example of the misuse of the internet platform is cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is the bullying of an individual over the internet, through blogs or social media. Many victims of cyberbullying have spoken publicly over this issue but due to the anonymity and the lack of regulation of the internet, the government has not yet found a way to penalize the abusers.

Favorite quote(s)

Transparency would not be a problem in a world in which everyone is decent and fair-minded.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Warren Bennis

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Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor by Bennis, Goleman, O’Toole and Biederman (Part 2)

Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor is a collection of three essays written by BennisGolemanO’Toole and Biederman. To read the review on the first essay Creating a culture of candor by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, and Patricia Ward Biederman, click here.

Speaking truth to power by James O’Toole

Speaking truth to power, by James O’Toole, is the second essay from Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor.

Speaking truth to power has been a long-standing issue throughout History. It is a very common and complex matter that has direct repercussions on an individual’s life, career and health.

In this essay, in order to illustrate the concerns raised by a lack of transparency, many examples have been extracted from literature, from 2500 years of History and from James O’Toole‘s personal experience during his research in corporations.

Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor by Bennis, Goleman, O’Toole and Biederman (Part 2) #book #books #bookreviews #transparency #candor #companyculture https://journeytoleadershipblog.com

Why speak truth to power?

Speaking truth to power creates a healthy and successful company culture in any given organization.

What makes speaking truth to power so convoluted?

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Speaking truth to power can be perceived as disloyalty, dissidence, insubordination or non-conformism because it challenges old assumptions, systems that are already in place, defies group-thinking and questions the authority, decisions and ego of the person in power.

 

Speaking the truth also implies having to make the person in power admit their mistake.

James O’Toole blames this impugning perception on the stubbornness, the stupidity and the hubris (arrogance of power) of leaders who reject good advice and are incapable of hearing the truth.

That is why, leaders must openly listen to their employees, understand their working conditions, rethink old assumptions and avoid group-thinking at all cost.

Speaking truth to power does not go without risks: most employees are not willing to report any misconduct or unethical behavior by fear of retaliation, by fear of being reprimanded, by belief that no action will be taken by management or by Human Resources (HR).

How to create transparency and trust within an organization?

According to James O’Toole, corporations should hire at leisure a “corporate fool”, term quoted by Verne Morland, an executive at NCR in the 1980s.

A “corporate fool” is a modern day jester that is capable and licensed to speak truth to power and create controversy.

The role of the “corporate fool” can be associated to the role of women in modern day organizations.

Indeed, women are unafraid to challenge the system and to speak truth to power in corporations as they have only recently been evolving in the male-dominating corporations and as a result have not learnt any ethical misbehavior. Not to mention, women have throughout History stood up courageously to authority at the peril of their lives.

The 7 characteristics of a transparent leader

Below are the characteristics that a leader must abide by to enforce transparency within their organization:

  1. Leaders must consistently tell the truth to their followers.
  2. Leaders must be comfortable with the truth.
  3. Leaders must practice integrity.
  4. Leaders must demonstrate appropriate respect towards their followers by sharing relevant information and actually including them in the flow of information.
  5. Leaders must gather the necessary information before making any type of decision.
  6. Leaders must value openness, empower those who tell the truth and must not reward those who do otherwise.
  7. Leaders at the top should not reward other leaders for their ability to compete nor congratulate leader’s misconduct.

Moreover, followers must be willing to put themselves on the line to be able to correct their bosses. “In sum, before speaking truth to power can be considered virtuous, the act must meet several criteria:

  • It must be truthful.
  • It must do no harm to innocents.
  • It must not be self-interested (the benefits must go to others, or to the organization).
  • It must be the product of moral reflection.
  • It must come from a messenger who is willing to pay the price.
  • It must have at least a chance of bringing about positive change (there is no virtue in tilting at windmills).
  • It must not be done out of spite or anger.”

Throughout History, organizations have punished those that speak truth to power, have challenged their loyalty, have put their sanity to the test, have labelled them as crazy or angry people.

So why blow the whistle?

Whistleblowers are loyal to their organization and not assumably to their leaders. When the leaders betray the values and the integrity of the organization, whistleblowers come forth and are ready to denounce publicly any signs of foul-play.

Is there an appropriate time for whistleblowing or for speaking truth to power?

The time is right when one is mature enough to objectively analyze the situation at hand and is virtuous enough to be able to temper his or her anger.

To read the review on the first essay Creating a culture of candor by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, and Patricia Ward Biederman, click here.

Review

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Speaking truth to power is perfect for leaders who are looking to understand what transparency is all about and are starting to implement it in their organization.

In Speaking truth to power, James O’Toole makes us realize how far this issue goes back, how much human nature is to blame for a lack of transparency and why a step has not been taken to generally encourage transparency, even though success, effectiveness and trust should be incentives for corporations.

In reality, speaking from personal experience, most candid, virtuous and conscientious people do not climb the career ladder in corporations and sojourn at the bottom until they learn to moderate their opinion.

Otherwise, they are perceived by team members and leaders as being weak, insubordinate, insolent and disloyal.

I’ve seen many straightforward people being exemplary managed out of corporations while leaders kept asking their employees to be transparent and while those who did the leader’s dirty deed were promoted.

As a result, it created a toxic and unsafe environment where no one would speak up (not even HR) to the wrongdoings of management.

If candid people are not able to sugarcoat their opinion, they end up whistleblowing or leaving the organization. And so, I did.

Favorite quote(s)

In a recent scientific survey of a cross-section of American workers, over two-thirds report having personally witnessed unethical behavior on the job, but only about a third of those say they reported what they observed to their supervisors. The reasons given for their reticence range from fear of retaliation to the belief that management would not act on the information appropriately.

In essence, trust is hard to earn, easy to lose, and, once lost, nearly impossible to regain.

Ratings 4/5

Author

James O’Toole

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Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor by Bennis, Goleman, O’Toole and Biederman (Part 1)

Creating a culture of candor, by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman and Patricia Ward Biederman, is the first essay from Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor. It reveals the effects of transparency and lack thereof in organizations…

What is Transparency?

Transparency is defined as “the degree to which information flows freely within an organization, among managers and employees, and outward to stakeholders.”

This essay also describes ways to implement a culture of candor and stresses the fact that the rise of digital technologies made it almost impossible for organizations to keep secrets or remain opaque.

Transparency is a choice to make that brings success, additional clarity and instills trust. However, most companies don’t chose candor and openness: true transparency is hard, as much as true honesty is.

Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor by Bennis, Goleman, O’Toole and Biederman (Part 1) #book #books #bookreviews #transparency #candor #companyculture https://journeytoleadershipblog.com

Leaders find it hard to be transparent:

  • In today’s world, the race to become number 1 brings leaders to overlook any wrongdoings or any existing flaws.
  • Another reason is that leaders need to make an immediate decision and look decisive. Therefore, leaders tend to dismiss information.
  • Knowledge is power and by virtue of human nature, most people, leaders included, enjoy hoarding information to feel powerful and superior.

Followers find it hard to be transparent:

  • Followers do not directly transfer raw internal information to the leader(s). The raw information is limitedly conveyed, colored and sugar-coated.
  • Followers think of leaders as demigods: they admire them and praise them. This attitude prevents followers from criticizing their leaders or speaking the awkward truth to them.

The need for whistleblowers

When there is no transparency, whistleblowers, loyal or not, patriotic or not, reveal the truth at the peril of their life because they believe that the organization’s secrets is too unscrupulous to keep and that the organization’s values no longer align with theirs.

Whistleblowers put their lives at risk, are often shunned, demoted for speaking the truth. With the development of internet, secrecy is almost impossible and whistleblowers are no longer at risk and can reveal secrets anonymously.

Blogs have become an unstoppable force, capable of damaging big and perennial corporations, institutions and individuals, of economically boycotting companies. Thankfully, blogs have protected and enabled whistleblowers.

How to create a culture of candor?

In order to implement a culture if candor, followers, on one hand, must feel free to speak up and to speak openly. On the other hand, leaders must value the truth, welcome unpleasant information and reward such openness.

  • Leaders must combat transparency by demanding feedback from their team and listening to the feedback.
  • Leaders must not to be overconfident about their own leadership capabilities.
  • Leaders must treat the follower’s ideas with importance and take counsel from the follower. Leaders must seek information at all level of chain.
  • Leaders should be allowed to be prudent and to take their time in order to make a decision.
  • Internal information flow must be treated as importantly as the information coming in and out of the organization.
  • Transparency should be mechanized by installing whistleblower software (EthicsPoint and Global Compliance Services for example) to enable employees to report anonymously any wrongdoings and to alert to any problems.
  • Whistleblowers should not be ostracized for speaking up.

The dangers of group-think

Bennis, Goleman and Biederman finally compare organizations secrets to the dark secrets kept by family members. In families as in organizations, the lack of transparency introduces toxic secrets that are unfortunately well kept.

These secrets tightly bond employees, which make it hard for a member to come forth by fear of being expelled, punished, by fear of threatening or destroying an entire organization.

Furthermore, these employees take pride in belonging to such a tight-knit organization, leading to feelings of superiority and to group-thinking.

Group-thinking is defined as the “subsequent congressional investigation made an explicit diagnosis of groupthink—a process in which unfounded assumptions drive a plan of action and contradictory information is suppressed, along with any doubts about the assumptions themselves”. Although group thinking brings in cohesiveness, it allows only one pattern of thinking and generally leads to one unique bad decision.

Review

images-31.jpg.jpegCreating a culture of candor, by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman and Patricia Ward Biederman is a very interesting and well written essay. It provides us with pertinent examples, gives rise to contemporaneous observations and administers great advice for effectively creating a culture of candor.

While I was reading this essay, the Volkswagen scandal kept coming to mind in 2015 where the performance results of 11 millions cars worldwide where altered to admit a low carbon-dioxide emission levels. In the race to success, Volkswagen has not been candid with the public or to the Environmental Protection Agency.

This essay still highlights many current issues where numerous ethical issues present in modern corporations. It was surprising to see, even with the rise of digital technologies, how many corporations, organizations and institutions remain opaque.

Favorite quote(s)

In idea-driven organizations—and which are not these days?—genuine, collegial Leaders collaboration leads to better morale, a greater likelihood of creativity, and greater candor and transparency.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Warren Bennis

Patricia Ward Biederman

Daniel Goleman

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Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter by Robert Bruce Shaw

Great leadership emanates from an ability to make great decisions which comes from making bad decisions and learning from them. The sooner in your career that those bad decisions are made, the better…

Of course, you make fewer mistakes as you progress in your career and as you experience the outcomes of the mistakes, but you never stop making them. In addition, mistakes are more costly as you move up the ladder in a company and can potentially derail your career.

Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter by Robert Bruce Shaw #book #books #bookreview   #bookreviews #leadership #leadershipdevelopment #selfdevelopment https://journeytoleadershipblog.com

How to characterize leadership blindspots?

First of all, leadership blindspots  are often associated to leadership strengths. They appear whenever the leader is utilizing his or her strengths at work.

Second of all, these blindspots don’t disappear, even if you are fully aware of them.

Thirdly, blind spots are situational, adaptive and can be helpful. And finally, blindspots are able to impact other people and followers.

Advice for understanding and dealing with leadership blindspots?

Furthermore, blindspots come with a price and has to be recognized by the leader in order for him or her to find a balance. To do so, leaders have to weigh two conflicting needs:

  1. their need for acting with confidence, believing strongly in their vision, and having faith in themselves, their abilities.
  2. their need for assessing their limitations in order to avoid overconfidence or excessive optimism.

The complex balance between self-confidence and self-doubt is unnatural, contradictory but necessary, depends on each individual and each situation. If there are too many blindspots, the leader can be overly confident and arrogant. If there are too few, the leader is somewhat realistic about the obstacles to face, is aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses.

Are there different levels of blindness?

There are three levels of blindness that a leader could experience:

  1. Lack of awareness level. This is the “most extreme form of a blindspot”. At this level, leaders are constantly surprised or blindsided by events.
  2. Faulty assessment level. At this level, leaders are in denial: they refuse to acknowledge risks, to analyze known weaknesses, and to understand the causes and consequences of their blindspots.
  3. Failure to act level. At this level, leaders know the risks, threats and weaknesses that lay ahead but fail to act on them for lack of skills and resolve. Those leaders are adept to the rule “when in doubt, do nothing” or rather remain in their comfort zones.

How to identify your leadership blindspots? 

In order to identify your blindspots:

  1. Review your past and present mistakes. Mistakes are indicative of areas of lack of self-awareness and areas of faulty patterns of thinking and behavior. It is advised  to identify the most significant mistakes, their causes, patterns of behavior and thinking associated to these mistakes and the actions to be taken on the behalf of the leader to prevent those mistakes from reoccurring.
  2. Consider honest and useful feedback from your trusted advisors.
  3. Gain additional insight by taking the blindspot assessment survey.

Then, question the relative importance of your blindspots in your career and its impacts on yourself, the organization to  distinguish which blindspot requires your immediate attention.

What are the different types of leadership blindspots?

Robert Bruce Shaw has classified leadership blindspots in 20 categories:

  1. “Overestimating your strategic capabilities”
  2. “Valuing being right over being effective”
  3. “Failing to balance the what with the how”
  4. “Not seeing your impact on others”
  5. “Believing the rules don’t apply to you”
  6. “Thinking the present is the past”
  7. “Failing to focus on the vital few”
  8. “Taking for granted your team model”
  9. “Overrating the talent on your team”
  10. “Avoiding the tough conversations”
  11. “Trusting the wrong individuals”
  12. “Not developing real successors”
  13. “Failing to capture hearts and minds”
  14. “Losing touch with your shop floor”
  15. “Treating information and opinion as fact”
  16. “Misreading the political landscape”
  17. “Putting personal ambition before the company”
  18. “Clinging to the status quo”
  19. “Underestimating your competitors”
  20. “Being overly optimistic”

Which factors trigger blindspots?

Blindspots often go hand in hand with the leader’s strengths and reappear unexpectedly when the leader does what he or she does best.

There are few factors that lead to blindspots areas:

  1. Experience gaps“. The blindspot stems from a lack of experience or from a habit of using past experiences to extrapolate a present situation.
  2. Information overload” describes an inability to pay attention to everything that is happening when engaged in a complex and challenging task.
  3. Emotional bias” corresponds to an emotional involvement in a particular situation or outcome that clouds judgement.
  4. Cognitive dissonance” is a psychology term associated to a state in which leaders hold two conflicting views of their self-image. The “conflict is resolved through rationalizing one’s belief or actions in a manner that sustains one’s positive self-image” which reinforces the blindspot.
  5. “Misaligned incentives” are compensation systems that are “designed to focus attention and effort within an organization, with the result being that people focus more on some areas than on others”.
  6. Hierarchical distortion”. The information transmitted to hierarchy becomes distorted, false, incomplete because:
    • high-ranking leaders are sometimes detached from the lower levels of the organization.
    • subordinates tend to sugarcoat information by deference or by fear of retaliation.
    • high-ranking leaders pay less attention to less powerful people.
  7. Overconfidence“. Leaders overestimates their own capabilities, skills and knowledge.

How to overcome blindspots?

According to Robert Bruce Shaw, it is not possible to completely suppress blindspots but it is important to recognize them and find ways to work with them? To handle blindspot:

  1. Make an assessment of the problem on your own, stay on contact with frontliners, customers, markets and high potential individuals.
  2. Invest in metrics, processes and data that challenge the leader’s beliefs and basic assumptions.
  3. Develop an ability to recognize, prioritize blindspot warning signs.
  4. Consider feedback from trusted advisors.
  5. “Leaders need to test their ideas and discuss emerging threats with a diverse team of individuals who respect each other’s experience and abilities but are also willing to push each other to reach the best outcomes on the truly critical issues”.

In conclusion, leaders are flawed individuals with strengths, weaknesses and blindspots that are to be acknowledged. Blindspots often show up when the leader is using his or her strengths or reverts to their comfort zone, and cannot be completely resolved. It is up to the leader to stay on the lookout for blindspots, to strike up a balance between self-confidence and self-doubt.

Review

indexIn Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter, Robert Bruce Shaw analyses leadership behaviors when it comes to blindspots and weaknesses.

He illustrates every single one of his thoughts on blindspots with great and renown leadership examples and concludes each example with an analysis and lessons to take away.

Furthermore, not only this book contains realistic and applicable examples, each paragraph of this book can be read on standalone. In addition, Robert Bruce Shaw provides us with a tool —the blindspot assessment survey— for us to identify whether or not we possess blindspots and to what degree we have incubated them.

I recommend this book to employees who are failing to lead and to boost their careers. It has come to my knowledge that because of my belief system, I am an adept of the rule “when in doubt, stand still” which has not bothered my career but has increased my serenity.

After taking the blindspot assessment test, I have received a low probability of blindspots as I am self-aware of my strengths and of my weaknesses.

In light of this issue, in Leadership Blindspots, Robert Bruce Shaw investigates the existence of leadership blindspot, an “unrecognized weakness or threat that has the potential to undermine a leader’s success” and that becomes evident in the way your team, organizations and markets are perceived.

Finally, Leadership Blindspots was intriguing to me because there are so many books about leadership strengths and developing them. I equally appreciated the fact that he mentioned the need for transparency (better visibility of mistakes thanks to the media) which put leaders are under a lot of pressure, all while trying to overcome their blindspots.

Favorite quote(s)

People who are smart and self-assured are often very skillful at justifying their thinking and behavior—to the point of being in denial about their weaknesses and the threats they face. Their intelligence can work against them when they convince themselves, and often others, that they are right even when they are wrong.
Successful individuals who sometimes stumble often do so because they have no one who can protect them from themselves.
The best leaders develop a range of compensating mechanisms that fit their personalities and the company cultures in which they work. In many cases these leaders don’t fundamentally change the way they think, but instead develop warning systems that surface important weaknesses and threats.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Robert Bruce Shaw

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Exactly What To Say: The Magic Words For Influence and Impact By Phil M. Jones

Most people don’t share their ideas or go after what they truly want because they are afraid of rejection and don’t know how to use the right words at the right time…

Below are 23 magical phrases that will get you to start conversations, share ideas, influence people, assist people in taking decisions and achieve personal success.

Exactly What To Say: The Magic Words For Influence and Impact By Phil M. Jones #book #books #bookreviews #influence #impact #,negotiation #negotiationskills https://journeytoleadershipblog.com

1. “I’m Not Sure If It’s for You, But”

This phrase is an opening statement, used to introduce a person, an idea, product or service, to remove pressure and to spike interest without going through rejection.

2. “How Open-Minded Are You?”

In general, people love to think of themselves as open-minded. Everybody wants to be open-minded.
Before making any statement, asking people whether or not they are open-minded allows you to introduce new ideas, gain their support, and having them agree with you.

3. “What Do You Know?”

When sharing ideas, some people feel the need to be right or demonstrate that they know best. By finding out what the other person knows before sharing your knowledge, this statement helps you overcome preconceptions, avoid debates and arguments when trying to share new concepts.

4. “How Would You Feel If?”

“How Would You Feel If?” allows you to understand what motivates people and what emotions trigger their decision making process.

The truth is that emotions and motivation tactics are used in all “areas of negotiation, influence and persuasion”.
Indeed, motivation is a reason to step into action and emotions are reason enough to make a decision.
Used effectively, motivation and emotions can be used to make people step into action.

5. “Just Imagine”

“Just Imagine” is employed to use people’s creative mind, to prop people into action by setting a powerful preface and to bring a decision into reality.

People tend to imagine the outcome of a decision in their mind before actually implementing that decision in reality.
That is why sharing a story before asking someone to make a decision is helpful and creates a picture in the mind of the other person.

6. “When Would Be a Good Time?”

This phrase prevents people from telling you that they don’t have the time to listen to you and subconsciously sets the idea that their will be a good time for you to make your point.

7. “I’m Guessing You Haven’t Got Around To”

“I’m Guessing You Haven’t Got Around To” is used when you want to indirectly ask someone whether or not they have gotten the time to do what you asked.

“I’m Guessing You Haven’t Got Around To” allows the other person to feel proud if they have accomplished what you have asked for or it allows them to save face and it gives them the opportunity to step up to the plate.

8. Simple swaps

Asking open-ended questions instead of closed ended questions is more effective for conversation-making.

9. “You Have Three Options”

Presenting people with three options reduces their choices and subsequently helps them through the decision-making process.

10. “There are two types of people in this world”

“There are two types of people in this world” is a sentence that assists people in making up their minds by making wonder what kind of people they actually are, by reducing their choices and allowing them to choose.

11. “I Bet You’re a Bit Like Me”

“I Bet You’re a Bit Like Me” is an opening statement that gets people to quickly agree with you.

12. “If… Then”

“If you don’t do this, then this will happen!” are conditional statements that we have heard since childhood, that most people still believe in and that will guarantee an outcome.

13. “Don’t Worry”

This phrase helps in keeping a highly stressful situation under control and improve someone else’s level of anxiety.

14. “Most People”

Putting “Most People” in front of any sentence, when making a case, makes people feel confident about their decisions.

15. “The Good News”

“The Good News” puts a positive spin on a negative situation and shifts people’s perspective.

16. “What Happens Next”

This statement explains the next stages of the interaction and leads the conversation towards a conclusion.

17. “What Makes You Say That?”

“What Makes You Say That?” maintains control over the conversation, allows the other person to openly express their objections and make a decision.

18. “Before You Make Your Mind Up”

The phrase “Before You Make Your Mind Up” is useful to make someone change their minds, switch their refusal to a potential agreement.

19. “If I Can, Will You?”

Some people find excuses or reasons why they cannot go along with the suggested idea.
Asking “If I can do this for you, will you do this for me?” opens the door for more agreement.

20. “Enough”

Finding out what someone else considers to be enough can encourage them to agree with you or your concept.

21. “Just One More Thing”

The words “Just One More Thing” allow the continuation of the conversation and the introduction of an alternative idea.

22. “A Favor”

People secretly wish that someone would do them a favor and make their lives easier.
Therefore, when someone ask them for a favor, people oftentimes commit to the task at hand or tend to agree with the idea.

23. “Just Out of Curiosity”

“Just Out of Curiosity” provides clarity on the other person’s thought process.

Review

In Exactly What To Say: The Magic Words For Influence and Impact, after years of studies, Phil M. Jones shares the chosen words that are able to create results, help influence and direct conversation. These 23 magical phrases could be used personally and professionally, in all areas of leadership, negotiation, and sales.

This book is recommended for people who:

  • Regularly speak for a living, who want to change the way they speak and are serious about their personal success.
  • Want to know what to say, how to say it and to whom in every situation.
  • Always wish to be prepared for almost every conversation.

Exactly What To Say: The Magic Words For Influence and Impact by Phil M. Jones is a demonstration of the power or words and the reason why they have to be used carefully.

Let me know below what you think about this book!

Favorite quote(s)

The subconscious brain is a powerful tool in decision-making because it is preprogrammed through our conditioning to make decisions without overanalyzing them.

Success in life and business is rarely achieved without the support of others. If you can do things that allow other people to help you achieve your goals, then the chances of you reaching them significantly increase.

Ratings 3.5/5

Author

Phil M. JonesDigiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2021

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be By Rachel Hollis

The lies Society, media, family members, bosses tell us can easily become our Truth.

There are many lies that stand at the basis of our insecurities and that are stopping us from becoming who we really want to become…

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be By Rachel Hollis #book #books #bookreviews #selfawareness #selfdevelopment #selfimprovement #changemindset #successmindset https://journeytoleadershipblog.com

1. The Lie about Happiness

We always think that the grass is always greener on the other side.

However, this is not always true and we must figure out what makes us feel good or what feeds our spirit and do these things.

2. The Lie about Procrastination

Procrastination is like breaking a promise to yourself.

The key to overcoming procrastination is to:

  • Start small and to take small steps towards your goals.
  • Stay committed to your goals. That is why your goals have to be important to you so you can stay committed on the long term.
  • Be honest with yourself about the reasons of your procrastination.
  • Take accountability for your actions.

3. The Lie about Self-worth

In Society, we constantly feel the need to prove our worth. That desire to prove ourselves and feel good enough translates itself negatively into different areas of our lives.

To overcome the need to prove yourself, you can always:

  • Get some therapy to discover who you truly are, be honest with yourself and find some internal resolve.
  • Take the time you need to take care of yourself and recharge your batteries.
  • Add yourself to your own priority list. As cliché as it sounds, you have to take care of yourself before taking care of others.

4. The Lie about Comparison and Judgement

We often feel the compulsive need to judge and compete with others. It becomes imperative to:

  • Keep an open-mind: you don’t know everything and you don’t have everything figured out.
  • Nobody is immune to judgement so work on your own insecurities and tell yourself the truth.
  • Surround yourself with people who would tell you the truth, build you up instead of putting you down.

5. The Lie about Rejection

“When it comes to your dreams, no is not an answer”. No is not the final answer.

Therefore, it requires strength to:

  • Reframe your mindset: what is happening to you and how you respond to it is all about perspective.
  • Not accept no as the final answer
  • Claim and remember your goals: you can write them down and create a vision board.
  • Be bold about your goals.
  • Understand that if one path towards your goal doesn’t work, change the path and not the goals.

6. The Lie about Expectations

We often feel like we haven’t achieved what we have set out to achieve fast enough.

But there is no need to worry because our goals don’t have expiration dates.

7. The Lie about Authenticity

Society lies to us and tells us that we have to fit a specific mould to exist.
The truth is there isn’t only one right way to exist.

There isn’t one right way to be a woman. There isn’t one right way to be a daughter, friend, boss, wife, mother, or whatever else you categorize yourself as. There are so many different versions of each and every style on this… Click To Tweet

Review

In Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be, Rachel Hollis, in a witty and self-deprecating fashion, dispels the lies perpetrated by Society — lies that we tend to believe about ourselves and accept as a fundamental truth.

After a while, these lies destroy our self worth because we find it hard to live up to the lies that Society projects when it comes to self image, relationship to others, goal accomplishment, self care, and career success.

Rachel Hollis shares her life story and perspective on why people are generally unhappy and unsuccessful.

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be is dedicated to women who have struggled to find themselves or face the truth about themselves. It deals with all the insecurities that women may face throughout their lives and gives solutions that can be implemented through introspection.

Implementing change isn’t easy: it will take time and hard work, several trials and errors. But, it will be worth it!

Let me know below what you think about this book!

Favorite quote(s)

You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.

Judging is still one of the most hurtful, spiteful impulses we own, and our judgments keep us from building a stronger tribe… or from having a tribe in the first place. Our judgment prohibits us from beautiful, life-affirming friendships. Our judgment keeps us from connecting in deeper, richer ways because we’re too stuck on the surface level assumptions we’ve made.

The first step toward becoming the best version of yourself is being honest, truly honest, about what makes you tick.

Truly, I’ve been told no in so many different ways and by so many different people that sometimes it seems as if life itself is saying no. I am an expert in rejection—or more specifically, I am an expert in bouncing back from rejection and fighting my way toward my goal.

I am successful because I refused to take no for an answer. I am successful because I have never once believed my dreams were someone else’s to manage. That’s the incredible part about your dreams: nobody gets to tell you how big they can be.

There are many types of trauma—big, small, childhood, adult—but we all belong to a club we never asked to join. We find solidarity in numbers, in hearing other stories…

There isn’t one right way to be a woman. There isn’t one right way to be a daughter, friend, boss, wife, mother, or whatever else you categorize yourself as. There are so many different versions of each and every style on this planet, and beauty lives in that dichotomy.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Rachel HollisDigiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2021