The Nature of Leadership: Reptiles, Mammals, and the Challenge of Becoming a Great Leader

The Nature of Leadership: Reptiles, Mammals, and the Challenge of Becoming a Great Leader

by B. Joseph White
     
 

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"Leaders come in all shapes, sizes, and types. Some are the reptiles, the cold-blooded, tough-as-nails decision makers with their eyes on the numbers and a focus on control. Others are the mammals, the warm-blooded, compassionate creatures who connect with those around them and build success through mutual trust and open communication.

Good leaders, of

Overview

"Leaders come in all shapes, sizes, and types. Some are the reptiles, the cold-blooded, tough-as-nails decision makers with their eyes on the numbers and a focus on control. Others are the mammals, the warm-blooded, compassionate creatures who connect with those around them and build success through mutual trust and open communication.

Good leaders, of course, combine the best attributes of both. And the truly great leader is the one who transcends type and moves beyond usual barometers of success to achieve real change in his or her organization.

It is time to challenge yourself to become a great leader. It won't be easy or quick. After all, writes Joe White, "You can't become a Great Leader just by deciding that's your goal." Still, by setting the goal, you will commit yourself to climb what the author calls the Leadership Pyramid and achieve milestones in your professional and personal development.

You'll start by building the basics, or Foundation Requirements: a desire to be in charge, and the corresponding ability, strength, and character that all leaders—especially the great ones—must possess.

And you'll develop a balance between disciplined, analytical reptilian leadership characteristics and those of the nurturing, engaged mammal.

As these attributes mature, you will notice your perspective has changed.

You will find inherent value in risk-taking and innovation, you will require and reward superb talent, and you will see the wide implications of every potential decision through development of the "helicopter view."

Finally, all these skills and qualities will coalesce into something bigger than the sum of their parts, an intangible but very real "sparkle factor" that separates the great leaders from the merely good.

The Nature of Leadership looks at the universal qualities of great contemporary leaders as well as those historical figures—such as Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—whose leadership brilliance still resonates. It cites modern organizational leaders ranging from IBM's tough Lou Gerstner to the mammalian Herb Kelleher of Southwest

Airlines, along with South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp, GE's Jack Welch, Apple's innovative Steve Jobs, and many "unsung heroes" who have achieved greatness. Joe White also sprinkles the book with anecdotes of his own experiences, writing with an exceptional blend of warmth and candor.

A special feature of this mind-opening book is the "nature of your leadership" survey, a questionnaire to help you identify your strengths, preferences, and self-development needs.

With its unique combination of inspiring examples, cogent analysis, and practical advice, The Nature of Leadership takes you beyond the usual boundaries of type to a realm of individual and organizational growth reserved for only the greatest leaders."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814408940
Publisher:
AMACOM Books
Publication date:
10/27/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
17 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Leveraging his diverse leadership experience and his learnings from other great leaders, Joe White explains how to set tough standards, continually raise aspirations, and nurture high-energy teams. You won't get multipoint plans or be encouraged to think on four levels. But you'll know how to receive bedraggled members of your teams and send them on their way with a sense of purpose and determination."

—Edward A. Snyder, Dean and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Economics,

The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

"The Nature of Leadership should be required reading for every person who aspires to be an effective leader. Joe White approaches the topic of leadership in an interesting, enlightening and captivating way. He combines his own experiences as a highly successful leader with the powerful lessons he has learned from his research and study of other highly effective leaders who are diverse in their backgrounds and leadership roles. Joe is providing us with a phenomenal 'class' on leadership!"

—David A. Brandon, Chairman and CEO, Domino's Pizza, Inc.

"Few authors on leadership have a more eclectic perspective than Joe White, who has been credible as an academic, university leader, and business executive. His book captures this rich diversity and shows that inherent paradoxes (reptilian vs. mammalian leadership requirements) that are built on a foundation of character and trust can be the basis for great leaders who accomplish innovative change. The thoughtful principles, engaging stories, and clever examples create a deep understanding of the nature of leadership. The book reinforces, synthesizes, and clarifies what it takes to become a great leader, by one who has done so over and over again."

—Dave Ulrich, Professor of Business, University of Michigan, and author of The HR Value Proposition

"In The Nature of Leadership, Joe White provides a clear and inspiring road map for today's leaders and those of the future. His advice rings true for me: Be resilient—in the face of adversity you just keep going.

And be a high-integrity leader—if you don't have strength of character and trustworthiness, nothing else matters."

—Doris K. Christopher, Founder & Chairman, The Pampered Chef"

Meet the Author

"B. Joseph White is President of the University of Illinois. He was previously interim president of the University of Michigan and dean of its top-ranked business school for ten years. He has been a business executive and served as director or trustee of numerous large companies and several healthcare organizations. He is based in Urbana, Illinois.

Yaron Prywes is an organizational consultant with GHL Global Consulting, LLC, and a candidate for a Ph.D. in social-organizational psychology at Columbia University. He lives in New York City."

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