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Leadership Mastery: How to Challenge Yourself and Others to Greatness
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Leadership Mastery: How to Challenge Yourself and Others to Greatness

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by Dale Carnegie Training

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In a world becoming more and more virtual, human relations skills are being lost -- along with the skill of leadership. And yet never before have these abilities been more valuable or sought after. What's needed is a new type of leader -- one who can inspire and motivate others while adhering to timeless leadership principles such as flexibility, adaptability,


In a world becoming more and more virtual, human relations skills are being lost -- along with the skill of leadership. And yet never before have these abilities been more valuable or sought after. What's needed is a new type of leader -- one who can inspire and motivate others while adhering to timeless leadership principles such as flexibility, adaptability, trustworthiness, and distribution of power. With Leadership Mastery, you will identify your strengths and adopt effective strategies to:
• Gain the respect and admiration of others using little-known secrets of America's most successful leaders
• Get family, friends, and coworkers to do what you ask because they want to, not because they have to
• Respond effectively in a crisis
• Make powerful decisions and follow through on them using Carnegie's action formula
Incorporating interviews with top leaders in business, entertainment, sports, and academia, Leadership Mastery stands next to the classic How to Win Friends and Influence People.

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Where have all the leaders gone? There is a vacuum of leadership in the world, in all of our major institutions: government, education, business, religion, and the arts. The crisis has arisen in part because many of those institutions have been reinvented. Life is therefore much more uncertain and leadership is hence much more risky. However, most of the leadership crisis has crept up on us because of the incredible technological revolution we're now experiencing. We are told that the scientific method can solve all our problems and that technology can distribute the answers to those problems far more quickly and efficiently than before. A global society connected by the Internet is emerging, yet never have so many people felt so isolated from one another. Individuals the world over find themselves disconnected from their roots and unsure of their future. This is because in a world quickly becoming more virtual, the skill of human relations is quickly being lost. Thus, never before has the skill of human relations been more valuable and sought after.

Just about everyone who is anyone has a Web site and an e‑mail address. The only way to differentiate yourself and your business is to become exceptionally skilled at leading and persuading others. Think of it: In the previous era of hierarchical organizations, big government, and traditional families, the need for leadership was evident. We knew what the rules were. We needed the leaders to hold us to those rules. However, in an era of flattened organizations, the increasing irrelevance of government, and two-career families, we no longer have a clear set of rules to follow.

What's more, the command-and-control leaders who try to hold us to seemingly irrelevant and arbitrary rules are no longer successful. What's needed is a new type of leader, one who can inspire and motivate others within this virtual world while never losing sight of the leadership principles that never change. Therefore in this cutting-edge book, we'll introduce you to a new type of leader: a leader who is flexible and adaptable. We'll introduce you to an individual who is a servant, not a slave, to his or her partners; a distributor of power, trustworthy, tough, and decisive.

The core philosophy of this book will be taken from the man whose name has become synonymous with influence and human relations, Dale Carnegie.

In the words of Dale Carnegie himself:

And now I've just got time to tell you about a couple of simple tests that you can make to prove to yourself how easy it is to make people like you instantly; here they are. Test one, starting tomorrow morning, you smile at the first five people you see at work every day for a week. I mean a good, broad, genuine smile and a hearty good morning. Test two, pick out just one person every day for a week, one person who has never meant very much to you, and become genuinely interested in him and show that you're interested in him with a smile and some friendly comment. Now two words of warning; be sincere, utterly and eternally sincere. You will just be wasting your time if you pretend to be interested in other people in order to get something out of them. That's foolish as well as wrong, because you'll be found out sooner or later. Why not make those two simple tests yourself and keep a record of the results. Remember if you want to be liked instantly, do as the puppy does: Become genuinely interested in other people and show it.

These human relations principles have made Dale Carnegie a household name for more than fifty years. Throughout this book, you'll read Dale Carnegie's famous leadership principles exactly as he wrote about them in some of his classic works. Principles like these will never change. It is how they are applied that will change. In the past, an order from the boss may have given the employee enough want. Today leaders must create that want by engaging others in the mission with same the goals but by different processes.

What's more, you'll learn how the virtual world does not have to become more impersonal. You can use high-tech tools to stay in touch as a leader. Yes, leadership, like any other skill, is not something you are born with. It must be learned. When you have read this book and completed all of the action steps at the end of each chapter, you will possess the most vital skill for succeeding in the new economy: the skill of leadership. The need for this skill will only grow in value as our virtual world expands.

Finally, once you have completed this book you'll no longer ask, "Where have all the leaders gone?" You'll realize that leadership is no longer for the chief executive officer, the president, the general, the boss, or the mom and dad. Leadership is available to each and every one of us at every level of organization, be that society, business, government, or family. Complete this book and discover your full potential. Become a leadership master. Copyright © 2000, 2009 by Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc.

Keep your mind open to change all the time. Welcome it. Court it.
— Dale Carnegie

Chapter 1

What Leaders Do

In the chapters that follow we'll be engaged in a very ambitious and extremely important undertaking. It will be of great benefit to you, and also to everyone who comes into your life both personally and professionally.

We'll be exploring a fundamental principle of human behavior. It's the basis of successful companies and even of whole nations and cultures. This is the concept of leadership. More specifically, we'll focus on the meaning of leadership in the context of business and entrepreneurial success. We'll see how leaders made the most of prosperous times, and how they survived even severe downturns in the business cycle.

Who are the leaders? What are the leaders made of? Who are the men and women who "made it happen" for themselves and the people around them? How did they overcome obstacles? Where did they discover opportunities? This is critically important information for anyone who aspires to financial success, personal satisfaction, and the sense of accomplishment that comes when potential turns into actuality.

In today's world, the quality of leadership is both respected and revered, but it's also subtly devalued. We celebrate the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln, great leaders of the past, yet we are deeply suspicious of those who occupy leadership positions in the present day. Perhaps it's because we know too much about them in our present media-dominated environment. No one knew what Washington and Lincoln did every day, much less every minute of the day. Incredible as it now seems, Franklin Roosevelt served more than three terms as president without the majority of people even aware that he could not walk.

As a first step toward grasping the real meaning of leadership — and more important, as a step toward becoming an effective leader yourself — your present view of leadership may need to be reconsidered, reinvented, and even reborn. This book will give you the tools for doing that. By making full use of those tools, you can take a big step toward achieving all your personal and professional goals.

This raises a very important point that should be emphasized here at the outset. Our purpose here is something much more than theoretical or intellectual understanding of leadership. You're going to learn what leaders have done so that you can start doing it yourself, right away, in your own life and career. That's leadership mastery. It's putting what you learn into action.

This is an extremely ambitious undertaking, and we have some powerful tools to bring it to a successful conclusion. Very simply put, the foundations of our work toward leadership mastery are the insights, writings, and life example of Dale Carnegie. Known the world over as one of the most influential voices in the history of personal development, his lessons are more relevant today than ever before.

We'll be looking at up‑to-the-minute issues in today's fast-changing workplace. We'll meet the people, study the organizations, and identify the challenges they face, and that you're facing, on the road to professional success and personal fulfillment.


Levi Strauss & Co. has been in business for more than 150 years. Over those many decades there have been plenty of peaks and valleys such as the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, which destroyed the company showroom and many local businesses.

Despite the obvious hardships, the company continued to pay its employees while new buildings were built, and extended credit to its wholesale suppliers whose facilities had also been destroyed. Ethical leadership has always been a core value at Levi Strauss, whether the challenge was a major earthquake or competition from Calvin Klein. In keeping with an "aspiration statement" that the company issued in 1987, managers at Levi Strauss know that they're evaluated in many other areas besides financial performance.

As much as 40 percent of Levi Strauss's management bonuses are based on measures of leadership in ethics, human relations, and effective communication.


More than twenty years before Levi Strauss created its aspiration statement, Thomas J. Watson, Jr., then the head of IBM, wrote a book called A Business and Its Beliefs. Watson knew that one of his most vital responsibilities as a leader was to clarify the core values of IBM. The values he led by made IBM one of America's truly dominant companies throughout the '50s, '60s, and '70s.

Interestingly enough, years before he wrote the book, Watson foresaw the problems that would almost cause IBM's downfall when the technological revolution dawned. Thirty years before anyone had ever heard of a blog or a Web site or an e‑mail, Watson told an interviewer, "I'm worried that IBM could become a big inflexible organization that won't be able to change when the computer business goes through its next shift." In fact, that's exactly what happened after Watson's retirement. IBM did not fully recover until another leadership master, Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., became chairman and CEO in 1993. And we'll have much more to say about Gerstner in the chapters that follow.


Levi Strauss and IBM are big corporations. Johnson & Johnson is as well, but the former leader of that company, chairman and CEO Ralph Larsen, has said, "We don't view ourselves as one $20 billion health care company; we see ourselves as 170 small ones." This puts into practice one of the basic principles of leadership mastery. Larsen had a strong aversion to top-down edicts and directives. "We have a strong history of decentralization," he told an interviewer. "People are very independent at Johnson & Johnson. You have to convince them of the rightness of your cause. Otherwise not much is going to happen."

Larsen might have added that once the rightness of the cause has been made clear, a lot of good things happen year in and year out. Virtually from its beginnings, Johnson & Johnson has been one of America's most admired companies, as well as one of the most profitable. With Dale Carnegie's timeless lessons providing the core of our strategy, and with tactics drawn from the example of today's leadership masters, we are ready to move ahead in our exploration of this vitally important subject.


The names of two men will always be linked to the technological innovations that transformed our lives in the late twentieth century. It's hard to believe that Bill Gates and Steven Jobs are now "senior citizens" of the computer age, but it's the truth. From the start their contributions were very different from one another, and they're still different today. Gates has to some extent withdrawn from the operational side of Microsoft, and is concentrating on philanthropic endeavors throughout the world. Steve Jobs, on the other hand, has been a very hands-on manager at Apple Computer. In fact, he's so involved that shareholders become extremely nervous at any signs that he might be backing off. Coverage of his recent health issues have demonstrated that.

Later in the book we'll have more to say about these two very strong leaders, who are also equally strong rivals. It remains to be seen which of the two men's legacies will be the more enduring. Perhaps surprisingly, one test of this may be which man was able to disengage more smoothly. We usually evaluate leaders in terms of how much they do, not how they transition to doing less. There's a lesson here: What leaders mean to us changes with time just as the leaders themselves change.


James Gleick, a science writer whose books have introduced readers to the wonders of chaos theory and superstrings, published a volume entitled Faster. Gleick discusses the seemingly unstoppable acceleration of all aspects of our lives, from the introduction of e‑mail and cell phones to the raising of the speed limits on interstate highways. We have the tools to accomplish things very quickly these days and we've come to expect almost instantaneous results. As we make our way at lightning speed through our new environment, though, we must realize that our approaches, our ideas, and even our vocabularies must also be new.

The word leader, for example, can no longer bear any resemblance to the word boss. Bosses have subordinates or subjects or followers. Today's true leaders have no followers in the conventional sense of the word. Leadership masters even go a step further by transforming followers into other leaders. For true leadership masters, this process includes not just everyone in an organization, but literally everyone they meet. How does this happen?

For starters it requires personal qualities beyond traditional leadership virtues: qualities like toughness and decision-making ability, flexibility, innovation, and the ability to accommodate sudden change. These traits are now absolutely essential. The image of the leader as a lion tamer with a chair and a whip can no longer work for any extended period of time, if indeed it ever could. So the purpose of leadership mastery is not to show you how to order people around, or to manipulate them with fear of failure or promise of reward. Instead you'll focus on giving people the tools to lead themselves in the direction of what they do best.

Traditionally it's been said that some people are born leaders just as certain wolves or baboons naturally assume dominant positions in their groups. There's a view that certain human beings are simply destined by their genetic makeup to take responsibility and point the way for others. That's one way of looking at it.

But another view says that leaders aren't born, they're made. It's not in the genes. It's in the experience and in the training. This suggests that anybody can be a leader if he or she gets the necessary training and preparation. A person may be in the back of the line today, but with the right kind of attitude, knowledge, skills, and experience, that same person can be out in front of the pack tomorrow.

Which one of these theories is correct? Fortunately we don't really have to answer that question because there's a basic flaw in both possibilities. Each describes leadership as a stage of development we arrive at, whether through heredity or training. However, today the biggest challenge of leadership is not to move from a starting point to a state of expertise beyond anyone else. Rather, today's leader must find a way to keep the mind-set of the starting point no matter how far along the track he or she may have run.

Leadership mastery is about seeing people, environments, and circumstances freshly, as if for the first time. The truth is, we really are seeing everything for the first time because, as James Gleick points out, everything is constantly changing at an everincreasing rate of speed. In fact, leadership masters are so free of preconceived ideas that they even question the validity of leadership itself (at least in the old-fashioned sense of the word). Great leaders of the past were seen as indispensable to the success of their groups. But today's great leaders realize that no one is indispensable, not even themselves.

It wasn't always that way. Many centuries ago, when Alexander the Great led his armies in conquest of much of the known world, a great battle was about to take place between the Greeks and the forces of the Persian Empire. The Persians had assembled a huge force, one that outnumbered the Greeks by as many as ten to one. On the night before the battle, however, Alexander assembled his troops and declared his absolute confidence that victory would be theirs, regardless of the numbers. He offered three basic reasons that the Greeks would win.

First he said, "Greece was a harsher environment than Persia." Second, because of the demands of simply surviving, let alone creating a great civilization, in Greece, the Greek soldiers were much tougher man-for-man than the Persians, regardless of the numbers. But the third reason for Alexander's confidence was the most important one, the one that he really emphasized to his troops, and the one that inspired them to win one of the most decisive military engagements in the history of the world. "The real difference between our army and the Persians," Alexander said, "is that they have their emperor for a leader and you have me."

In the ancient world there's no doubt that this expression of total confidence in destiny on the part of a leader was an effective strategy. In fact, it may have continued to be effective as recently as the '60s and '70s, although the benefits of this approach were clearly diminishing. Consider this: When George Steinbrenner first gained control of the New York Yankees, his dictatorial style of personal leadership quickly became evident. There was continuous news coverage of his feuds with players and managers such as Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin, and even Hall of Famer Yogi Berra (whom Steinbrenner abruptly fired as Yankee manager only sixteen games into a season).

In those days, Steinbrenner's team continued to win championships despite his overbearing leadership. Then interestingly something seemed to change in the national consciousness. People no longer responded to a rigid military model of leadership based on threat and intimidation. In the case of the New York Yankees, the stream of pennant-winning seasons came to an end until, much to his credit, Steinbrenner formed a new type of relationship with his players and his managers. He gave much more control to and empowered the men on the field. He was much more forgiving of setbacks in their play and their personal lives. As the players experienced these changes, the Yankee team of the late '90s was favorably compared with the greatest baseball dynasties of all time.

Instead of being criticized for his tyrannical despotism, George Steinbrenner was praised for his enlightened leadership. The message is clear: In today's environment, a highly personalized, individually centered, crudely aggressive leadership style is almost never effective, and certainly not over any extended period. Of course there are still people in leadership positions today who take issue with this. There are authoritarian leaders in every field who still see themselves as generals or cowboys. Some of these old-style leaders can point to very good results over the last year or the last two or three years.

In today's world, however, it is almost impossible for a purely authoritarian style of leadership to remain successful over the long term. People just won't put up with it. And society has changed so that they don't have to.


At the height of his leadership days, John D. Rockefeller said,

The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.

Well, exactly what kind of leadership would Rockefeller want to pay for? We've just spoken about the fact that a high-pressure, high-stress environment is not something that people will accept from a leader today. There's another reason why old-style leaders can't survive today, and it doesn't have anything to do with the pressure they put on other people. It has everything to do with the pressure they put on themselves in a fast-changing, complex, and even chaotic world. There's nothing to be gained by claiming to know all the answers, even if you can fool other people into believing you. There's no way you can fool yourself, and living a lie can be very tiring.

Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you're in the corporate world. This is also true if you're a housewife, architect, or engineer. Research done under the auspices of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching uncovered an important and significant fact.

These investigations revealed that even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15 percent of one's financial success is due to one's technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering: the personality and the ability to lead people. The individual who has technical knowledge plus the ability to express ideas, assume leadership, and arouse enthusiasm among people is the person headed for higher earning power. That's one piece of the leadership puzzle. Here are some others that today's leaders need:

Legitimate authority. Leaders may be elected, appointed, or simply and spontaneously recognized by the members of a group. In one way or another, all human beings are hardwired for leadership. We may want to lead or we may want to be led — but an instinct for authority exists in all of us.

We look for a person who has a vision, who knows how to communicate it, and who can make that vision our own. Very often this takes place through the medium of forceful language, but communication through action is even more effective. Leaders know how to recognize a moment when the group is ready to receive a message, and leaders take advantage of that moment.

During the Civil War, when the Union Army was in retreat after another unsuccessful incursion into the South, the soldiers suddenly saw their new commander — General Ulysses S. Grant — turn the column around and head back into enemy territory. Grant did not announce what he was going to do. He just did it, which was much more eloquent and effective. This was literally the turning point of the war.

The identity of leader is something much larger than his identity as an individual. He or she is the embodiment of the identity of the group. He or she is the person to whom others look for advice and counsel — and when they receive it, they literally feel as if it had come from within themselves.

Again, a leader's ability to speak well is often an important part of this process. But what's really essential is the leader's inner vision. He or she must be able to forcefully communicate this vision, either by word or deed. Once this takes place, the group is won over and even doubters fall into line. Legitimate authority is conferred.

Authentic self-belief. Leaders genuinely believe in themselves. This is absolutely essential for others to believe in them as well. Leaders think, feel, and know they have the power to rise above challenges and make positive results possible.

Very often this belief in themselves is grounded in the leader's own technical expertise. A great surgeon, for example, feels confident about mentoring medical students because he or she has performed many actual surgeries over the course of a career. But this isn't always true. Some great football coaches never played football. Someone can teach a concert pianist without being able to play the instrument at a professional level. Highly effective leaders may not be very skilled or talented themselves, but they know how to recognize and inspire those who are.

Leaders are generally familiar with all the aspects of their business and understanding how things work. They are aware of what goes on from the front lines to the executive level. This wide perspective, combined with a meticulous attention to detail, allows them to recognize problems and opportunities that other miss.

Confidence with flexibility. Strong leaders must be confident in the positions on key issues. They have convictions, not just opinions, especially where matters of integrity are involved. However, they are not stubborn. Leaders have the ability to really listen, which is essential for the ability to change.

Business strategies that work well today might not tomorrow, and a leader must be quick to recognize this. Because the organization will have to adapt, the leader must learn new skills and explore new approaches even before the need arises.

A leader must not lose sight of his purpose or the purpose of those under his charge; if he does, he risks becoming out-of-date and bringing others down with him. Leaders need foresight to bring about change and steer others toward it. They also need to be alert for unexpected turns in the road. The message is clear: Be aware of the landscape, and know how you might need to adjust.

Acceptance of risk. Fear of failure causes many people to avoid taking chances. By itself, this risk aversion is not necessarily a bad thing. But if the benefits of success outweigh the chances of failing, a leader needs to take the chance. When the risk is worth taking, leaders must accept the risk.

Once the risk/benefit determination has been made, leaders must set an example for the rest of the group. If you have analyzed the risk and decided it is worth taking, you need to overcome any mental barriers that might prevent you from becoming a model for the rest of your group. To a large extent, this is a matter of preparation. The better prepared you are, the less risky a situation will be.

Determination. Leaders don't give up without a fight. Successes do not always come easily, but leaders keep trying and trying again until they and their group succeed. At the same time, leaders are aware that not every battle can be won by persistence alone. Some people just don't have the ability to play in the National Basketball Association. Most of us won't be able to be professional opera singers, no matter how much we practice. Those self-limiting situations, however, are relatively few and far between. Leaders know that the vast majority of goals are achievable if the desire is strong enough, and they act accordingly.

As a leader, you will be expected to make hard decisions when others shy away from them. Whether that means letting someone go or making dramatic changes that affect your company, you are the one who must push it through. A wishy-washy leader often fails to get things done and has a tendency to be taken advantage of. Be merciless when the business requires you to be and stick to your decisions.


1. In the space below, write the names of the first three figures who come to mind when you think of the word leader.

These can be men and women in politics, the arts, or business. They can be from the present or past.




2. Go back into the list you created above, and write out the effective leadership attributes that each possesses.

3. Go through the list of attributes of effective leaders that you created in #2. Put a Âœ“ beside those that you already possess and an X beside those that you would like to cultivate in yourself. Then create an action plan to develop these skills in yourself. You may want to add to the list as you continue reading the chapters that follow. Copyright © 2000, 2009 by Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc.

Meet the Author

Dale Carnegie was born in 1888 in Missouri. He wrote his now-renowned book How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1936. This milestone cemented the rapid spread of his core values across the United States. During the 1950s, the foundations of Dale Carnegie Training® as it exists today began to take form. Dale Carnegie himself passed away soon after in 1955, leaving his legacy and set of core principles to be disseminated for decades to come. Today, the Dale Carnegie Training programs are available in more than 30 languages throughout the entire United States and in more than 85 countries. Dale Carnegie includes as its clients 400 of the Fortune 500 companies. Approximately 7 million people have experienced Dale Carnegie Training.

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