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 depAnds 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 depAnds 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 th

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Ascent of a Leader is a beautifully honest, deeply caring, andpositively uplifting book. Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and KenMcElrath show us with their compelling stories and inspiringmessage how magic happens when leaders of character nurture anenvironment filled with grace. This book embraces you, and onceyou've read it you won't ever forget it. In a world filled with somuch cynicism and fear, this is one book that definitely will fillyour 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: "Noman is an island." Through well-chosen parables and real-lifeexamples, Thrall, McNicol, and McElrath offer valuable lessons ininterdependence and show us how to engender 'trust, creativity, andhope'—in ourselves and others." —Jon Kyl, U.S. Senator fromArizona

"The Ascent of a Leader fits in the fine lineage of Greenleaf'sServant Leadership and De Pree's Leadership Is an Art. A must-readfor leaders who know and leaders who wonder about a deeperfoundation and a higher pinnacle. Transcendent, transparent,andauthentic." —Daryl C. F. Wilson, general managermanufacturing, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Inc.

"Most leaders are familiar with and thrive on challenges andrisks. The Ascent of a Leader deals with the greatest risks any ofus can face: humility, transparency, and sacrifice. This book willchallenge you in unique ways and help you view your calling with anew perspective." —Jack Alexander, CEO, WorldTravelPartners

"Leadership is all about relationships. This book is a must-readfor those who want to lead in relationship building." —C.William Pollard, chairman, The ServiceMaster Company

"This inspiring book is essential reading for those who seek toearn the respect of the emerging generation who hunger for leaderswhose personal and professional lives are centered on character anddignity." —Dick Capen, former U.S. ambassador to Spain,chairman and publisher of The Miami Herald

"Climbing the ladder of success is a driving passion for many intoday's corporate America, but too often character is compromisedon the way up. The Ascent of a Leader helped me think through bothmotives and means to true success." —John Beckett, president,R. W. Beckett Corporation; author, Loving Monday: Succeeding inBusiness Without Selling Your Soul

"The Ascent of a Leader powerfully cuts through all areas oflife. I am confident these principles will profoundly enrich theleader's marriage, family, social, and corporate relationships."—Mike Singletary, NFL Hall of Fame

"The leadership journey that The Ascent of a Leader describes sowell is truly an extraordinary experience, although not for thefaint of heart. If we stay with the journey as the authors advisethough, it takes us beyond our own minds and imaginations andleaves us astounded by grace. I would recommend this book for anyleaders who are sincerely attracted to the challenge of letting Godtake them to places they've never been before." —JanetHagberg, director, Silent Witness National Initiative; author, RealPower and The Critical Journey

"This powerful and inspiring book points to vital steps that canhelp readers move from selfishness to selflessness, fromself-sufficiency to God-sufficiency. True leaders are spawned, theauthors write, by small groups of faithful people in whichparticipants can be healed and restored, and broken loose fromhuman bondage to do the real work of the world." —GeorgeGallup Jr., chairman, Gallup International Institute

"The Ascent of a Leader represents a ground-breaking blend ofthe technical and character aspects of leadership." —BillHybels, chairman, The Willow Creek Association

"Fresh, introspective, noble—this book contrasts theconventional leadership climb to sacred truth, mature living, andselfless achievement. The authors deftly describe what it means tolead by example and answer one of life's great questions, 'Why dopeople follow?'" —William Boyajian, president, GemologicalInstitute of America

"No matter what your leadership style, The Ascent of a Leaderwill make you reassess it. I hope that future leaders will adoptthe important creative suggestions and insights in this book. Amust-read for us all." —Wallace R. Hawley, founder, InterWestPartners; vice chairman, Center for Economic Policy Research,Stanford University

"A fascinating journey about personal relationships and theimportance of character, integrity, and faith, which prepares oneto step up the ladder in leadership." —Jerry Colangelo,president and chief executive officer, Phoenix Suns; managinggeneral partner, Arizona Diamondbacks

"This outstanding book of principles provides leaders withunusual how-to's and practical steps for developing character. TheAscent of a Leader is a remarkable look at how young leaders learnto serve others and how older leaders learn to reach theirdestiny." —Matthew Parker, president, Institute for BlackFamily Development

"Today we see so many visible and disappointing examples offallen and falling leaders ... in business, in government, insports, even in religion. The Ascent of a Leader provides importantinsights into the critical importance of character development(rather than just skill development) in helping you fulfill yourpotential as a positive leader." —Dale Gifford, chiefexecutive officer, Hewitt Associates

"A must-read for those wanting to make a difference in theirbusinesses, communities, and families. A perfect blend of wisdom,compassion, and practical experience!" —Jay Abraham, directorof sports, Franklin Covey

"This book is a profound and unique answer to the questions ofour tumultuous society ... uncompromising character developmentproduces profound influence and leadership ability." —NaomiRhode, past president, National Speakers Association and '97 CavettWinner

"This profound and timely book teaches us how to live well andto lead wisely. The Ascent of a Leader creatively shows us how tocenter our lives in unchanging principles that produce an enduringinfluence in all our relationships." —John R. Castle Jr.,executive vice president (retired), EDS

"No topic is more timely for our culture than to learn howcharacter and influence develop in relationships over a lifetime.The Ascent of a Leader shows us how to lay hold of it."—Larry Crabb, best-selling author, psychologist,distinguished scholar in residence

"A fresh-revolutionary-look at leadership. This book will notjust change your leadership style, it will change you and the livesyou touch." —Daniel Dominguez, CPA/partner, BDO Seidman,LLP

"Due to the current lack of spiritual leadership in our country,the message in these pages is deeply needed at this time across ourland. It clearly promotes a principle-based pathway of leadershipthat fosters hope, trust, reconciliation, and character."—John M. Perkins, founder, John M. Perkins Foundation forReconciliation and Development

"The Ascent of a Leader is truly a 'holy' book for anyone on theleadership path. As a young leader of a family business, this bookprovided a roadmap (or ladder!) for me on how to lead from valuesand integrity." —Louise Slater, chairman of the boardConsolidated Systems, Inc.

"Having spent several years on the staff at West Pointcontemplating the development of leaders of character, I find inThe Ascent of a Leader a powerfully insightful, honest, andencouraging model for practice by leaders who genuinely seek togrow in character and in the impact for good that such leadershipmakes possible." —Larry Donnithorne, author, The West PointWay of Leadership: From Fostering Principled Leadership toPracticing It

"Successful leadership is a spiritual journey. In theseinspiring pages, you will find a rare map for your soul, a map thatcan help you negotiate the thrills, risks, and lonely moments weall visit as leaders. You may also discover a yearning to sharethis map and journey with emerging leaders of the next generation."—Karen Brugler, manager, Health Care Consulting Practice,Ernst & Young, LLP

"This book, written from the experiences of three giftedleaders, gives practical suggestions of how one can climb thecharacter ladder, the ladder of self discovery, each of which drawsone to his or her true self." —Tom Phillips, president,International Students, Inc.

"We live at a time in history when there is a pronounced vacuumin leadership. Our need is for clear, inspiring, and above alltimeless teaching on the subject of leadership. The Ascent of aLeader powerfully provides us with all these and more."—Michael Card, best-selling composer, author, teacher

"As each chapter unfolded, I found myself desiring the next. Ifyou want to be prepared for a meaningful leadership opportunitywhen it arrives, then this book is for you." —Karsten LouisSolheim, executive vice president, Karsten ManufacturingCorporation

"The Ascent of a Leader addresses the two most importantquestions leaders-actually anyone-must answer if their lives andwork are to have meaning: Who are you? And who cares? Charactershapes cultures and culture nourishes character. Who you are makesa difference." —Walter C. Wright Jr., president, RegentCollege

"My job of training young managers for The Weather Channelduring its startup would have been much easier if this resource hadbeen available. It will also spark a renaissance for seniormanagers who may have forgotten how or why they climbed theladder." —Hugh Eaton, startup business manager, The WeatherChannel

"The Ascent of a Leader shows how character is a lifelongbuilding process between God and yourself that then translates intoleadership." —Karl Eller, chairman, Eller Media Company

"Superb, a must-read for everyone who would lead others withGod's help by developing extraordinary character." —Robert A.Fulton, chairman and chief executive officer, Web Industries,Inc.

"In this remarkable and helpful book, the authors carefully andclearly help us to understand that leaders are made, notnecessarily born. Anyone who aspires to leadership-young or old,male or female-will be helped immensely by this significantpublication." —Ted W. Engstrom, president emeritus, WorldVision

"Truth has a way of drawing us into a clearer sense of purposeand identity. This book gets beyond the cheap routes to "success"with engaging stories which highlight enduring principles ofleadership throughout the ages. A must read for all who desire tobring life and hope to others...and themselves." —Robert C.Andringa, president, Council for Christian Colleges &Universities

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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: 476,850
  • 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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