Leading Leaders: How to Manage Smart, Talented, Rich, and Powerful People

Leading Leaders: How to Manage Smart, Talented, Rich, and Powerful People

by Jeswald W. Salacuse

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Whether you were born a leader or have had leadership thrust upon you, you're in for a whole new set of challenges when managing other leaders. Think of the qualities that have brought you to a leadership role: your vision, confidence, and charisma, or perhaps your experience, unique skills, expertise, or network of powerful allies. Now remind yourself that other…  See more details below


Whether you were born a leader or have had leadership thrust upon you, you're in for a whole new set of challenges when managing other leaders. Think of the qualities that have brought you to a leadership role: your vision, confidence, and charisma, or perhaps your experience, unique skills, expertise, or network of powerful allies. Now remind yourself that other leaders share some or all of these qualities with you.

The leaders you are called upon to lead may be other executives, highly educated experts, investors, board members, government officials, doctors, lawyers, or other professionals. The potential contributions of these elites to any organization are vital, but the likelihood of friction is also high if you don't manage relationships carefully. In any case, they are people with significant resources -- and strong opinions. How do you leverage the assets of the talented and powerful while making sure that egos remain unbruised?

Leading Leaders breaks the challenge down into the Seven Daily Tasks of Leadership, and shows you how to carry out each task when you have to manage other leaders. The seven tasks and the special challenges they entail in leading leaders are:

1. Direction How do you negotiate a vision for the organization that other leaders will buy into?
2. Integration How do you make stars a team?
3. Mediation How do you resolve conflicts over turf and power among other leaders so the organization can move forward?
4. Education How do you educate people who think they are already educated?
5. Motivation How do you move other leaders who already seem "to have everything" to do the right thing for the organization?
6. Representation How do you lead your organization's outside constituents while still leading leaders inside?
7. Trust Creation How do you gain and keep other leaders' trust, the vital capital that your own leadership depends on?
Drawing on the author's own leadership experience as well as his research in the corporate, political, academic, and professional worlds, Leading Leaders answers these questions with a clear set of effective rules for all managers to follow in successfully leading other leaders.

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Editorial Reviews

The Globe and Mail
"If you are struggling with how to be an effective leader of leaders, this book will help both philosophically and practically."
Leading Leaders is for everyone who is in a leadership role and desires to be more effective. The principles, wisdom and tasks that Salacuse teaches will guide anyone toward a richer understanding of what it takes to be a superb leader.
"This is a great book."
From the Publisher
“This is a great book.”

-Training magazine

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Read an Excerpt

Leading Leaders

By Jeswald W. Salacuse


Copyright © 2006 Jeswald W. Salacuse
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8144-0855-9

Chapter One


Leadership is action, not position. -DONALD H. MCGANNON

THE WORK OF LEADERS rarely includes actually performing the tasks that their organizations are designed to accomplish. CEOs don't actually make the products their corporations sell. University presidents rarely teach students. Hospital administrators never treat patients. And generals hardly ever "fight" the enemy, at least in the sense that the ordinary soldier understands that word. So what is it that leaders really do?

Most discussions of leadership look at the subject from the leader's perspective, from the viewpoint of persons who are supposed to provide this elusive but supposedly essential quality to organizations and institutions. So scholars of leadership tell us what leaders do and how they do it, and leaders themselves in their memoirs recount their triumphs and failures. While an understanding of leadership from the leader's perspective is undoubtedly illuminating, it is equally important to examine leadership from the follower's point of view. Indeed, the follower's perspective may even be more important since the whole purpose of leadership is to serve the organization, not the leader.

What Followers Expect and Need

It is oftensaid that people in organizations want and need to be led. But what exactly do organizations and institutions, employees and associates expect, want, and need from their leaders? When a corporate vice president says that his company needs "better leadership," what exactly does he mean? When a professor complains of her university's "poor leadership," what precisely is she concerned about? When a museum trustee calls for more "effective museum leadership," what is it that she is seeking? As consumers of leadership, what is it that all of these people feel they need but are not getting?

One way to try to answer this question is to look at the tasks and functions that followers expect of their leaders. In making a functional analysis of leadership, we can identify seven tasks that followers in all organizations expect their leaders to deliver. A review of what leaders do and are expected to do by their followers reveals that there are seven basic tasks that leaders must accomplish every day.

The first task is direction. Every organization, large and small, looks to its leader to articulate and establish the goals of the organization. The process of goal setting with elite followers is usually complicated, lengthy, and elaborate. Goldman Sachs needed more than a decade of discussions among it partners to decide to sell its shares to the public. Mere articulation of the vision is not enough. Leaders must also convince their followers to accept it.

Organizations not only demand that the leaders point the way but, like shepherds directing their flock, also oversee the organization's movement in that direction. Many failures of corporate governance, such as the collapse of Enron, which led to financial loss, civil suits, and even criminal charges, have been the result of failed oversight by corporate leaders. Effective performance of the task of direction includes oversight to assure that the organization avoids the legal, ethical, and financial traps that lie in wait for an organization that is moving forward, especially when it is moving onto terrain it has never ventured on before.

Mere articulation of your vision is not enough. You must convince your followers to accept it.

The second everyday leadership skill is integration. All organizations require their leaders to bring together diverse persons, each with individual wills, differing interests, and varied backgrounds, to work for the common interests of the organization. All leaders seek in varying degrees to integrate the persons they lead into a single organization, unit, or team. That task is particularly difficult in organizations composed of smart, talented, rich, and powerful people. Many elites by nature resist efforts at integration, a fact that requires innovative approaches to the process.

The third leadership challenge is mediation. All organizations consist of persons with different interests, a factor that invariably results in conflict among its members. Individuals in the same organization may struggle over turf, resources, responsibilities, and policies. In many organizations, leaders settle such conflicts by fiat or by imposing a decision. That approach will not often work with other leaders over whom a leader may have little authority. In disputes among elite followers, leaders must often mediate a solution almost as if they were settling a conflict among sovereign states.

Education is the fourth everyday leadership task. Leaders educate, coach, guide, and advise the people they lead. Through that process, leaders give the necessary knowledge and skills that empower the people they lead to carry out the jobs of the organization. The traditional view is that leaders give orders to get things done in organizations. In fact, many modern leaders achieve their goals through advice and counsel. Generally speaking, the more decentralized the organization and the more educated its members, the more important advice and education become as a tool of leadership. This is especially true when leading other leaders. Because of their sense of independence and position, elite followers are often loath to seek help and quick to reject attempts to educate them.

Persons will look to you to motivate them, encourage them, and strengthen them to do the right thing for the organization.

The fifth daily skill of leadership is motivation. Just as the city of New York looked to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for emotional support in the aftermath of the attack on 9/11, persons in organizations look to their leaders to motivate them, encourage them, and strengthen them to do the right thing for the organization. Elites, however, are often less inclined to seek such emotional support since they fear to do so would reduce their power, influence, and elite status within the organization. Moreover, they may not respond to the traditional incentives and motivators that corporations often employ.

Representation is the sixth daily leadership task. Leaders are constantly representing the organizations they lead, whether they are negotiating a labor contract or attending a reception given by a customer, whether they are persuading their superiors to increase a departmental budget or advocating the promotion of a valued associate. Representing smart, talented, rich, and powerful people raises special challenges since they are often reluctant to grant full authority of representation to their leader and demand to ratify any and all of actions taken by that leader on their behalf with external parties. Thus, a corporate CEO negotiating the acquisition of another firm can usually operate with full authority and not be too concerned about retaining internal support throughout the negotiations. On the other hand, managing directors of organizations composed of elites, such as a law firms or consulting companies, who negotiate acquisitions of other firms must constantly assure themselves that their mandate continues and that they maintain the support of their partners through every step in the negotiation.

Without creating trust you will find it difficult, if not impossible, to direct, integrate, mediate, educate, motivate, or represent the persons you lead.

And finally, the seventh daily skill of leadership is trust creation or, more specifically, earning the trust of the persons. Creating trust is a vital skill, for without it leaders will find it difficult, if not impossible, to direct, integrate, mediate, educate, motivate, or represent the persons in their organizations. In short, without trust, a leader cannot lead effectively. Creating and maintaining the trust of an organization's elites, who are often skeptical and critical by nature because of their training, raises special challenges for its leader.

The Multitasking Leader

These seven tasks, while conceptually separate, are interrelated in practice. Helping an organization find an agreed-upon direction may also facilitate its integration, since a common goal gives a sense of unity to its members. Similarly, arriving at a common sense of direction may first require a leader to engage in extensive education about the threats and opportunities that face the organization. All good leaders perform each of these tasks every day. No leader has the luxury of focusing on one to the exclusion of all others. Leaders must multitask constantly. If they don't, they may not stay leaders for long.

Few leaders do all seven tasks equally well. Some leaders perform certain of these tasks more effectively than others because of differences in natural abilities or personal preferences. An outgoing, gregarious managing partner of a consulting or law firm may spend more time on and be more effective in representing the firm to various outside constituencies than in mediating the internal conflicts among partners that are paralyzing the firm and keeping it from adopting a new strategic direction. While resolving internal conflicts should be a matter of priority at this particular moment in the history of the firm, the managing partner without the ability or the desire to engage in conflict resolution may find more satisfying, not to say easier, ways to exercise leadership by spending time out of the office working on what he considers "essential matters" of representation.

When followers complain of poor leadership, they may be referring to a leader's performance on different tasks. A corporate vice president may feel that the CEO is not giving strong leadership because he is not articulating a vision-a direction-that will allow the company to face the challenge of changing technology. On the other hand, a professor, complaining of a university president's poor leadership, may mean that he is not doing enough to motivate and support the faculty in their work. And a museum board member lamenting the ineffective leadership of the museum's executive director may really be criticizing the director's failure to represent the museum powerfully to the community and thus raise the funds necessary for the museum's development.

For both leaders and followers, it is therefore essential to understand the individual tasks of leadership in all their complexity so leaders may deliver this vital commodity more effectively and followers may better evaluate and use what is being delivered.

Conclusion: Leadership's Seven Daily Tasks

Any leader must face these seven tasks every day. For leaders of other leaders, they require a special approach, as the following list reveals:

1. Direction: Negotiating the vision

2. Integration: Making stars a team

3. Mediation: Settling leadership conflicts

4. Education: Teaching the educated

5. Motivation: Moving other leaders

6. Representation: Leading outside of the organization

7. Trust Creation: Capitalizing your leadership

In the next seven chapters we will look at each of these daily tasks of leadership in detail to see in particular how you may accomplish them in leading smart, talented, rich, and powerful people.


Excerpted from Leading Leaders by Jeswald W. Salacuse Copyright © 2006 by Jeswald W. Salacuse. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

Leslie H. Gelb
"Professor Salacuse knows what he is writing about. He hits the nail on the head."
former columnist, The New York Times
William Ury
"A wise, practical, and lucid book. I recommend it !"
Harvard University, coauthor of Getting to Yes
From the Publisher
"Perhaps no more important challenge faces leaders today than how to lead in horizontal organizations where they cannot just give orders but must rely principally on persuasion and negotiation. In this wise, practical, and lucid book, Jeswald Salacuse advises us on how to succeed in this new world. I recommend it!"

— William Ury, Harvard University; coauthor of Getting to Yes; author of The Third

"The real trick to leading a university, business, or country is figuring out how to lead other leaders. Being able to sell other leaders on your policies and yourself is almost always the basis of success or failure in human enterprises. Professor Salacuse, who knows what he's writing about in this area, hits the nail on the head."

— Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, and former New York Times columnist.

“Jeswald Salacuse has made a significant contribution to the study of leadership with this practical and accessible book. Leaders of many types of organizations — business, government, multilateral,and the academia — will find his systematic approach enlightening and, most important, useful.”

— William J. Rainer, Former Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Cofounder, Greenwich Capital Markets, Inc.

“Great stuff, full of revelations on making a team out of the star players in any outfit, and leading it on to victory.”

— John Galvin, General U.S. Army, retired; former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO

“Leading exceptional talent requires insight, ability — and Jes Salacuse's latest book, Leading Leaders. This wonderfully organized and clearly written work provides a leadership model that sets forth a series of imperatives to increase the effectiveness of a leader — useful for a high school teacher and a corporate CEO. The leadership paradigm suggested in the book seems so basic, yet when put in context, provides tactical solutions to real-world challenges.”

— Alan Rappaport, President, Family Wealth Advisors, Bank of America"

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Meet the Author

Jeswald W. Salacuse (Medford, MA) is Professor of Law and former Dean at the Fletcher School of Law at Tufts University. He has served as a Ford Foundation executive in the Middle East and Africa, directed a research institute in the Congo, and been a consultant to multinational corporations, universities, major law firms, and international organizations.

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