Unnatural Leadership: Going Against Intuition and Experience to Develop Ten New Leadership Instincts / Edition 1

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In a complicated, insecure, and constantly changing world, how do effective leaders in high-performing companies continue to succeed? Are they fearless heroes who have all the right answers-transforming businesses, making fast decisions, and inspiring everyone no matter how complex the situation? Or are they "real people" who work hard to trust others, acknowledge their own flaws, and challenge conventional thinking? Are leaders who win followers and get things done heroic figures? Or do they actually possess characteristics and practice skills that fall outside the comfort zone of executives steeped in traditional leadership methods?
Written by David Dotlich and Peter Cairo— two of the country's top executive coaches and educators— Unnatural Leadership debunks the common notion of the natural leader as a flawless figure. The book describes the truth about being a real leader in a business environment turned upside down by e-commerce, diversity, security concerns, globalization, and matrix structures. Drawing on personal experience working with successful leaders in top-tier companies throughout the world, Dotlich and Cairo identify a style of leadership used by those who succeed in complicated business and people situations, a style that maximizes a leader's strengths and acknowledges weaknesses.
Using a variety of tools and techniques based on their proven Action Learning workshops and Action Coaching methods, the authors reveal how to transition from the traditional natural leadership role and develop successful, effective unnatural leadership traits. Dotlich and Cairo recommend simple, practical ways that effective leaders use to get things done, motivate and lead, and deal with their own weaknesses and impulses.
Each chapter contains a wealth of tips and techniques to help implement and develop the skills needed to become a new kind of leader. Dotlich and Cairo challenge conventional wisdom about leadership such as "be in control" and "hide your flaws." Instead, they identify ten "unnatural acts" that effective leaders regularly commit and are, in fact, the best response to an "irrational, chaotic, and unpredictable universe." These include:

  • Refuse to be a prisoner of experience
  • Expose your vulnerabilities
  • Create teams that create discomfort
  • Trust others before they earn it
  • Coach and teach rather than lead and inspire
Unnatural Leadership is a realistic and truthful road map to becoming a successful leader in today's challenging business environment. It provides a practical manual for anyone who longs to be both authentic and effective.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...well presented challenging ideas..." (Long Range Planning, Number 38, 2005)

Pity the CEO who thinks he can be a know-it-all micromanager and still succeed. In Unnatural Leadership (Jossy-Bass), executive coaches David L. Dotlich and Peter Cairo list 10 guidelines that today's best executives are adopting. Among them: inviting change, being approachable and considering the views of the mail-room kid with the green hair. "We tell our clients, 'You have to win your followers every day,' " says Dotlich. Some of the unnatural acts the authors recommend are: "Coach and Teach Rather Than Lead and Inspire," "Expose Your Vulnerabilities" and "Trust Others Before They Earn It." Cairo says what's missing from other leadership manuals are instructions on how to practice the techniques. So each chapter in this book ends with exercises like "acknowledging your shadow side" (the power-hungry, mircromanaging stuff) to smooth the transition from arrogance to unnatural humility. (Time Magazine, May 20, 2002)

"...there is a lot here to stimulate you to review what you think is 'natural' and consider alternative courses of action which might prove, in the long term, to be more worthwhile..." (EDGE, Autuymn 2002)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787956189
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/22/2002
  • Series: J-B US non-Franchise Leadership Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.07 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

David L. Dotlich— former executive vice president of Honeywell and Groupe Bull-is a partner of CDR International (www.cdr-intl.com) and coauthor of Action Learning (Jossey-Bass, 1998) and Action Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 1999), both of which identify breakthrough ways to develop leaders and are used by companies throughout the world. He is a business adviser, educator, and coach to top executives of Johnson & Johnson, Intel, Siemens, Bank of America, Novartis, Sun Microsystems, The Gap, Nike, Sprint, Washington Mutal, and more.

Peter C. Cairo former chair of the Department of Organizational and Counseling Psychology at Columbia University, specializes in the areas of leadership development, executive coaching, and business effectiveness. He is a partner of CDR International (www.crd-intl.com). His clients include Andersen, Avon, Bank of America, Colgate Palmolive, Lilly, and Merck. He is a coauthor of Action Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 1999).

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Stephen H. Rhinesmith

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction 1

Part One: The Importance of Unnatural Leadership

1 Ten Unnatural Acts 11

Exercise: Assessing Your Unnatural Leadership 29

2 Adapting to an Increasingly Unnatural Environment 31

Exercise: Breaking the Rules of Natural Leadership 46

3 Resistance Factors 47

Exercise: Assessing Your Resistance to Unnatural Leadership 66

Part Two: Personal Challenges for the Unnatural Leader

4 Refuse to Be a Prisoner of Experience 71

Exercise: Refusing to Be a Prisoner of Experience 86

5 Expose Your Vulnerabilities 89

Exercise: Exposing Your Vulnerabilities 102

6 Acknowledge Your Shadow Side 107

Exercise: Acknowledging Your Shadow Side 122

7 Develop a Right-Versus-Right Decision-Making Mentality 125

Exercise: A Tool for Developing an Unnatural Decision-Making Mentality 137

Part Three: Leading Teams as an Unnatural Leader

8 Create Teams That Create Discomfort 141

Exercise: Creating Teams That Create Discomfort 158

9 Trust Others Before They Earn It 161

Exercise: Trusting Others Before They Earn It 174

10 Coach and Teach Rather Than Lead and Inspire 177

Exercise: Coaching and Teaching Rather Than Leading and Inspiring 188

Part Four: Leading the Organization as an Unnatural Leader

11 Connect Instead of Create 193

Exercise: Connecting Instead of Creating 206

12 Give Up Some Control 209

Exercise: Giving Up Some Control 221

13 Challenge the Conventional Wisdom 225

Exercise: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom 239

14 Giving Yourself Unnatural Options 243

Bibliography 251

Index 257

About the Authors 267

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