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Since the first edition of Leading with Soul was published in1995, its inspiring message has become even more urgent and timelyin a world horrified by the events of 9/11, enraged by the hubrisof business hotshots who triggered a world-wide economic crisis,and infuriated by limp, misguided responses to floods, oil spills,and nuclear catastrophes. Now more than ever we need courageousleaders with soul.
Leading with Soul invites world-weary managers on a journey insearch of one's personal path to leadership and offers hope forreconnecting work and spirit. In this new and thoroughly revisededition of their classic work, Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal updatea timeless spiritual message in the light of the turmoil of recentyears as well as adding new insights from the literature ofspirituality and work. As the authors explain, "Soul is personaland unique, grounded in the depths of individual experience. Spiritis transcendent and all embracing. It is the universal source, theoneness of all things."
At the heart of the book is the compelling story of a dispiritedexecutive on his quest to find something deeper than rational plansand a focus on the bottom line. His story points the way to morerewarding work and more vibrant and spirited organizations. Bolmanand Deal use this engaging parable to show how we can develop alife and livelihood that center on meaning, purpose, joy, and asense of contribution to the greater community. By embarking on anew path, we can transform our lives and livelihoods to becometruly enriched and spiritually fulfilled.
This contemporary parable chronicles the journey of a dispirited leader in search of something more satisfying than the bottom line. The authors draw upon spiritual traditions, poetry and philosophy, teachings on leadership and organizations, and their own extensive consulting experience to offer inspiration for today's embattled leaders.
His name was Steven Camden. Like the city in New Jersey. He grew up in New Jersey, but in Newark, not Camden. Not that it made much difference. There were tough neighborhoods in both places. He had learned to survive in one of the toughest.
He was tired, and it was getting dark. He had just driven three hours up this mountain from the city. Why? He still wasn't sure. Why had John sent him? He climbed the fieldstone steps and knocked on her door. He waited. Was she here? She knew he was coming, didn't she? She must know that he had better things to do than just stand on her doorstep. He looked again and she was there.
Her name was Maria. He first noticed her eyes: deep, brown, full of something he recognized but could not name. Once inside, he looked around the room. Mostly he noticed the Japanese art. It was like a gallery. But something was missing. What?
You've spent time in Japan, he said.
She nodded. Many years. Every piece is a memory.
I lived in Tokyo two years myself.
For him, Tokyo had been an endless series of business meetings. No time for galleries. All his souvenirs came from the duty-free shop in the Tokyo airport.
She seemed to be waiting. Was he supposed to make the next move? Where to begin? Blurt out his worries to a woman he barely knew? He tried to buy time.
John seems to have a lot of confidence in you, he said.
We're old friends. I knew him back when he was starting your organization. We've become even closer since he retired. I've learned a lot from him.
Now what? She seemed to be waiting again. He'd always been good with words. Where were they now?
Do you feel uncomfortable here? she asked.
No. He hesitated. Well, maybe a little. Maybe I shouldn't have come.
Have some tea. He watched her pour the tea. He wanted coffee, but took the tea.
You've been working hard?
All my life. He sipped his tea. Green tea. Reminded him of Japan. He'd ordered it many times. Nihon cha, kudasai. A comforting sense of nostalgia.
Why? she asked.
Why what? He'd lost track.
Why do you work so hard?
He'd never thought about it. He paused. Why does anyone work hard? It's what you do. It's how I got where I am.
Do you like where you are?
Of course. He was lying. He knew it. Did she? Probably.
Well, maybe not. Not as much as I used to.
He hesitated. Should he tell her the truth? What did he have to lose? He vaguely imagined John looking over his shoulder.
I was promoted a year ago. They put me in charge of one of our subsidiaries. I was sure I was ready.
He stared at the cranes delicately circling the outside of his teacup. Until this job, everything went right. Fast track. People seemed to think I could walk on water. Maybe it was talent, maybe luck, maybe just a lot of sweat. Whatever, it's not working any more.
You feel discouraged? She sounded sincere, maybe even caring. Why did she make him so nervous?
Like I'm on a treadmill. Running faster and faster. Getting farther and farther behind.
You need to get off.
I didn't need to drive three hours to learn that. I'm trying. He knew he sounded impatient. That's how he felt.
What have you tried?
Just about everything. Better time management. A mission statement. Strategic planning. Reengineering. Training. A quality program.
Why was she staring at him? Why so silent? Did she think he'd done the wrong things? That he hadn't done enough?
He continued. I've sent executives to a management program. Top rating in Business Week. Hired consultants. World-class guys with world-class fees. I read Fortune and the Harvard Business Review. I talk to my boss.
She laughed. Why do you do all those things?
Her laughter grated. He felt his shoulders tighten. Was she laughing at him?
It worked in the past. Why not now?
She turned serious. What do you want from me?
The question stung. What did he really want? He groped for an answer. His mouth felt dry.
My work is my life. Always has been. What I always wanted. But a lot of the fun is gone. My boss is getting restless. It's the first time I ever felt I might fail in a job.
What's not working? she asked.
He told her about needing unity, but people's never agreeing. He said he needed a vision, but it was hard to see beyond next week. He told her he was lost. Things seemed to be falling apart. He'd never felt that way before.
She said she'd been there. That she understood.
Where had she been? Did she really understand? He wanted to say something. No words came.
And your spirit? she asked.
He looked to the door. He wanted to run. Get some fresh air. Get away from this crazy woman. Somehow, he couldn't move. Spirit? he stammered.
Yes, your spirit. Her tone was firm, assured. As if it were a perfectly normal question. Was she serious?
What do you mean?
Spirit. The internal force that sustains meaning and hope.
He was squirming. Was it a mistake for him to come?
A business is what you make it, she said calmly. If you believe it's a machine, it will be. A temple? It can be that too. Spirit and faith are the core of human life. Without them, you lose your way. You live without zest. You go through the motions, but there's no passion.
He was frustrated. He felt the anger building. He'd driven three hours for this? Teeth clenched, he told her what he felt. Look, I'm running an organization, not a church.
Her eyes fixed on his. She smiled. What do you hope to run it with? More sweat? More control? More tricks and gimmicks?
Maybe some wisdom. He hadn't meant to say that, but it came out anyway.
Wisdom will come. First, you have to look into your heart.
He was squirming again. Embarrassed. He could feel the blood rushing to his face. Why was he still here? Why didn't he get up and walk out?
You sound like my mother, he said scornfully. Follow your heart, she always said. She never really understood business.
Do you? she asked.
Then, set a new course. You want to lead, don't you?
He nodded glumly. She continued.
The heart of leadership is in the hearts of leaders. You have to lead from something deep in your heart.
I can't tell you what's in your heart, nor would you want me to. Would you want someone to offer you fruit but chew it up before giving it to you? No one can find meaning for you. Not your consultants, not your boss, not the Harvard Business Review. Only you really know what's in your heart.
He felt a twinge in his chest. A coincidence? He knew he'd been working too hard.
This isn't what you expected, she said.
Not at all.
It feels strange?
She was right. She seemed to know everything. Maybe a little, he admitted, wishing he hadn't.
She poured him more tea. You've been in uncomfortable situations before, haven't you?
Have you learned from them?
He tried to review all his awkward moments. He gave up. There had been too many.
Good. Then, shall we continue?
Continue what? A senseless conversation? Still, she seemed to be onto something. Something he couldn't quite grasp.
Maybe. I'm not sure.
Would you like some time to reflect?
A walk maybe.
Try the garden. Let's talk more when you get back.
Excerpted from Leading with Soul by Lee G. Bolman Terence E. Deal Copyright © 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Prelude: In Search of Soul and Spirit.
1. The Heart of Leadership Lives in the Hearts of Leaders.
2. The Human Heart Is More Than a Pump.
3. The Journey of a Soul.
4. Discovering New Teachers.
Interlude 1: Reclaiming Your Soul.
5. A Place to Start
6. Vicissitudes of the Journey.
Interlude 2: Leaning into Your Fear: The Courage ofConviction.
7. Gifts of Leadership.
12. Corporate Community.
Interlude 3: Community and the Cycle of Giving.
13. Summoning the Magic of Stories.
14. Lifting Our Voices in Song.
15. Celebrating Shared Icons.
Interlude 4: Expressing the Spirit.
A New Life.
16. The Twilight of Leadership.
17. Deep Refuge.
Interlude 5: The Cycle of the Spirit.
18. The Legacy.
Soul at Work.
Continuing a Spirited Dialogue.
About the Authors.
Write to the Authors.
Posted July 15, 2012
I was assigned this book for a Leadership class, but it sounded so interesting I finished it before the class even started. There is something for everyone to take away about how they are living their lives and thoughts to improve the quality and meaning of their relationships with others and most importantly, with themselves.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 20, 2012
This is the type of book anyone can read in a day. The author makes his point quickly and easily. It discusses the ethics of leadership without becoming moralistic.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 29, 2012
No text was provided for this review.