The Taboos of Leadership: The 10 Secrets No One Will Tell You about Leaders and What They Really Think

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"Leadership is a much-discussed but little-understood concept. Tony Smith calls on a lifetime of research and experience in the field to take the discussion in a refreshing new direction. By focusing on the importance of two-way communication and understanding, Tony delivers a deeper, richer picture of leadership and a road map for improving the performance of any organization."
—Paul Tagliabue, commissioner, National Football League (retired)

"By examining the role of leadership as a psychoanalyst would a ...

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Overview

"Leadership is a much-discussed but little-understood concept. Tony Smith calls on a lifetime of research and experience in the field to take the discussion in a refreshing new direction. By focusing on the importance of two-way communication and understanding, Tony delivers a deeper, richer picture of leadership and a road map for improving the performance of any organization."
—Paul Tagliabue, commissioner, National Football League (retired)

"By examining the role of leadership as a psychoanalyst would a troubled patient, Dr. Anthony Smith not only uncovers the root causes of rampant disorders in the postmodern corporate world, he also prescribes a series of groundbreaking changes that are at once brilliant and startling. Nothing is sacred in this book. Myths are exploded, taboos are broken, and the result is a revelation of common sense long barred from the boardroom."
—Mark Shapiro, president and CEO, Six Flags, Inc.

"Tony Smith is a keen observer who gets to the heart of leadership challenges and approaches. I especially appreciate that someone with his insight also has the courage to reveal the truth of leadership in this refreshing book."
—George Bodenhiemer, president, ESPN and ABC Sports; co-chairman, Disney Media Networks

"This may be the most realistic book on leadership to date."
—Larry Probst III, CEO, Electronic Arts

"Having worked with Tony for nearly 20 years, I can tell you that his research, teaching, and insights into leadership have had a remarkable impact on me and our leadership. It has been a pleasure working with him, and you will find it a pleasure reading this very rare and insightful book on this very important subject."
—J. Mclean Stewart, senior director (retired), McKinsey and Company

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
In this emperor-has-no-clothes exposé, Smith attempts to get into the heads of the powerful, reveal what goes on there and develop strategies for the inferiors who must cope with them. The managing director of the Leadership Research Institute, Smith dissects various leadership qualities-looking at heads of business, the military and politics, among others-as well as the way they're perceived by followers, employees and the general public. The innate hypocrisy of the human drive to power—"leadership is rooted in the urges of blatant self-interest"—creates a tension between leaders' public and private feelings; Smith posits that, though leaders' responsibility is to the team, they must protect their own power with "tough, hard, ruthless, and overtly political act[s]." This results, all too often, in "taboos" such as double standards, isolation and favoritism, all of which underlings find difficult, if not impossible, to address openly. The topics considered are many, including the difference charisma makes, the effect of gender, the successor-grooming game and the pursuit of a balanced lifestyle; the message, ultimately, is to speak up and look out.(May) (PublishersWeekly.com)

"... a useful call for leadership advocates to balance their natural optimism with realism." (Harvard Business Review, May 29, 2007)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787995829
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/20/2007
  • Series: J-B US non-Franchise Leadership Series , #213
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.83 (w) x 8.37 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony F. Smith is co-founder and a managing director of Leadership Research Institute, recognized as one of the leading management consulting firms specializing in leadership development and assessment. An active writer and researcher whose articles have appeared in numerous publications, Smith was a contributor to the books The Leader of the Future and The Organization of the Future (from Jossey-Bass).
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Table of Contents

Foreword by Steven M. Bornstein.

Introduction.

PART ONE: Introducing the Taboos.

1 Taboos and Leadership.

2 Secret 1:We Know What Leadership Looks Like (But We Don’t Know What It Takes).

PART TWO: Taboos of Persuasion.

3 Secret 2: Charisma Shouldn’t Make a Difference (But It Does).

4 Secret 3: Real Leaders Don’t Play Politics (They Take It Very Seriously).

5 Secret 4:Women Make Better Leaders (When That’s What They Really Want to Do).

PART THREE: Taboos of Position.

6 Secret 5:The Double Standard Is for Cavemen (and the Corner Office).

7 Secret 6:Thou Shalt Not Play Favorites with Friends and Family (Except When It Makes a Lot of Sense).

8 Secret 7: A Leader’s Fundamental Duty Is to Groom a Successor (But It Hurts Like Hell).

PART FOUR: Taboos of the Person.

9 Secret 8: Leaders Need to Demonstrate Work-Life Balance (No Problem;Work Is Their Life).

10 Secret 9: Blatant Self-Interest Is Dangerous (in Followers, Not Leaders).

11 Secret 10: It’s Lonely at the Top (But Leaders Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way).

12 Our Taboos Are Exposed, So Now What?

References.

About the Author.

Index.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 5, 2010

    Very Useful

    I have given this book to several friends that are on the road to success and they have been very grateful. It covers a lot of realistic situations that occur in every day business and the difficult decisions people in charge have to make. The benefits of doing things the right way even if no one is on your side and truly gives insight to the employer's and employee's way of thinking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    Anthony Smith delivers a highly readable, relevant and important work on the shadow side of leadership. I have recommended this book to several of my senior executive coaching clients and it has helped them in a variety of ways, i.e. appropriately disclosing information, learning that they are not alone in their challenges. People lower down in the organization that I coach have also benefitted in gaining a clearer perspective on what leaders' lives are really like and are able to be more realistic in their expectations. Bringing these taboos to light benefits everyone and gives a much needed clearer picture of the darker side of leadership.

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