Ascent of a Leader: How Ordinary Relationships Develop Extraordinary Character and Influence / Edition 1

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Are you the kind of leader that others want to follow? Climbing the corporate, political, or organizational ladder is a driving passion for many of us. But too often during our ascent, we compromise our character to reach a performance goal, forgetting that lasting, positive influence depends on the kind of person we become, not simply on the titles, power, or wealth we've achieved. While many leaders work hard to develop performance-based skills, relatively few are intentional about developing character. In fact, many simply do not know how.

Solidly based on spiritual values, The Ascent of a Leader presents a process for developing character and influence in the context of community amid the kind of relationships and environment where character wins out, even in the face of setbacks and against the temptations to take shortcuts. Character is crucial, the authors assert, because it "empowers our capacities while keeping them in check. It makes the difference between those who abuse power and those who steward it well. It weaves values like integrity, honesty, and selfless service into the fabric of our lives, organizations, and cultures."

Written for ordinary people who want to develop extraordinary character and influence, this practical, visionary, and hope-filled book guides us up the "long ladder" to significance, as contrasted to the "short ladder" that most of us know. On the short ladder, we develop skills and abilities. But on the long ladder, success depends on character growth, nurtured in a community where people find fulfillment. If you want to find and follow God's plan for your life and lead others where they need to go, this book offers engaging real-life examples to show you how. You can grow into your true potential, becoming one of the leaders inspired to "make a difference in the twenty-first century in our families, our communities, our companies, our government, and even our world." It's time to create a legacy that will last. Embrace this call.

Become the Leader People Want to Follow

You can become a leader that people want to follow by opening yourself to the influences that develop character: enduring relationships with friends, family, and God. This compelling guide leads you through a process by which you can cultivate extraordinary character and influence in your home, your company, your community, and every other arena of your life.

"The Ascent of a Leader is a beautifully honest, deeply caring, and positively uplifting book. Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and Ken McElrath show us with their compelling stories and inspiring message how magic happens when leaders of character nurture an environment filled with grace. This book embraces you, and once you've read it you won't ever forget it. In a world filled with so much cynicism and fear, this is one book that definitely will fill your heart and soul with hope and joy."—Jim Kouzes, coauthor, The Leadership Challenge and Encouraging the Heart; chairman, Tom Peters Group/Learning Systems

"The Ascent of a Leader reiterates a truth that is timeless: "No man is an island." Through well-chosen parables and real-life examples, Thrall, McNicol, and McElrath offer valuable lessons in interdependence and show us how to engender 'trust, creativity, and hope'-in ourselves and others."—Jon Kyl, U.S. Senator from Arizona

"The Ascent of a Leader fits in the fine lineage of Greenleaf's Servant Leadership and De Pree's Leadership Is an Art. A must-read for leaders who know and leaders who wonder about a deeper foundation and a higher pinnacle. Transcendent, transparent,and authentic."—Daryl C. F. Wilson, general manager manufacturing, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Inc.

"Most leaders are familiar with and thrive on challenges and risks. The Ascent of a Leader deals with the greatest risks any of us can face: humility, transparency, and sacrifice. This book will challenge you in unique ways and help you view your calling with a new perspective."—Jack Alexander, CEO, WorldTravel Partners

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787947668
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Series: Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series , #7
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 641,808
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

BILL THRALL A former church leader and staff elder, Bill Thrall serves as leadership mentor for Leadership Catalyst, Inc. (LCI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to igniting character development in current and emerging leaders. BRUCE MCNICOL brings international experience in coaching leaders and serves as LCI's president. KEN MCELRATH is director of marketing and product development of LCI.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by TBD.



A Different Ladder to Success.

Big Leaders on Short Ladders.

Creating Environments That Uphold and Empower Us.

Nurturing Relationships That Ground and Sustain Us.

The First Rung: Stepping Up Through An Act of Trust.

The Second Rung: Choosing Vulnerability.

The Third Rung: Aligning with Truth.

The Fourth Rung: Paying the Price.

Chutes and Leaders: Stories from the Fourth Rung.

The Fifth Rung: Discovering Your Destiny.

Keeping Your Balance: Seven Challenges of the Fifth Rung

Becoming the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow.



The Authors.


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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    An alternative to the status quo

    In a market flooded with "what have you done for me lately" type of management books, The Ascent of a Leader provides a different paradigm, an alternative environment that recognizes the value of the individual and the importance of not only capacity development but also character development. Both of these are relevant to anyone managing people, whether they be in for-profit businesses or non-profit organizations. This is a "must read" for any leader thirsty for creating an effective work environment that does not abandon the worth of each team-member's contribution.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2000

    Character matters!

    This is a great book. The Authors use everyday language to explain the alternative to leading by shear power and intimadation. Read this book to find out how sincere character can make a leader out of you. This is one of the most engaging and easy to understand books on leadership that I have read. I highly recommend it.

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