BOOK REVIEW : Take the Lead by Betsy Myers

GOODREADS: “Why is it that some people challenge us and motivate us to rise to our best abilities, while others seem to drain our energy and spirit? What is that particular quality certain people have that causes those around them to engage fully and feel connected?”

SEVEN CORE IDEAS

  • We all skin our knees. What count is how we pick ourselves up, learn from our mistakes and move forward.

  1. AUTHENTICITY
  • People who are authentic don’t feel the need to exaggerate their story to make themselves look better, or treat others poorly so they come out in top. People begin to be leaders at that moment when decide for themselves how to be.
  • Genuine leadership is what emerges when we are fully and freely ourselves.
  • People trust us when we are genuine – when we show up, not as who we think we should be, not who our parents and teachers, colleagues and bosses say we should be, but as who we really are.
  • We are each born with our own internal compass, an innate sense that tells us if the direction we’re heading feels right. The most important feedback is that which comes from ourselves. Part of living an authentic life is learning to trust that internal compass.
  • It is the duty of a leader to ensure that people are in the right seats – and on the right bus.
  • We continue discovering new things about ourselves throughout our lives and careers, and sometimes a situation that felt right for us at one point starts feeling like it’s no longer a fit. Sometimes we need to be open to a change in plans and give ourselves permission to change direction.
  • We each have the power to determine or change our roles in both our personal and professional lives.

2. CONNECTION

  • Sometimes when people are unhappy at work, it’s because they are in an environment where they don’t feel connected. They don’t feel they belong there, that their contribution matters or that they are valued as part of the team.
  • No matter how good you are at your work, if you don’t have good relationships with your colleagues, it may not have the impact or support it should.
  • Conversations are opportunities to learn more about the person, share something about yourselves and discover things we may have in common.
  • A shared sense of story brings about a shared sense of purpose, and it is from there that the force for a true movement is born.
  • We walk through so many other people’s lives and often don’t know the lasting impact we have.
  • The two keys for genuine conversation are the curiosity to ask questions about the other person and the generosity to share something about yourself.
  • Look for opportunities for people to meet informally, share personal stories and build relationships.

3. RESPECT

  • Making the effort to notice – opening your eyes and seeing the people around you, taking the time to talk with them and become conscious of what’s going on in their lives.
  • People want to feel that their voice matters. Effective leadership takes the time and care to listen and make sure people feel truly heard.
  • Respect means being willing to listen and let others have their voice, even when it might be inconvenient, difficult or painful to do so. This doesn’t mean we have to agree with another’s decision. It simply means being willing to listen & appreciate people for their unique perspective.
  • You have to listen and gain their trust before you can even have a conversation. You can disagree honorably once you have trust in the relationship.
  • Sometimes sharing an observation or a bit of feedback can be tremendously helpful.
  • The way we communicate and frame an issue and our awareness of the timing and context, can make all the difference in how we are heard and what results we get.
  • It’s not about ego and it’s not about who had the idea in the first place, it’s thinking strategically about who is the best person to get the job done.

4. CLARITY

  • Every organization must have a larger purpose and part of any leader’s success is the ability to communicate that purpose with vivid clarity so that it can be passed from person to person within the organization.
  • As important as what we did were the things we chose not to do
  • Less is more: instead of trying to do a bunch of different things everyday, do one thing at a time.
  • What makes a leader effective is the ability to help people become clear about which tasks are essential to the goal.
  • Informed people feel secure. People will pull together, if they all understand what’s going on and what’s at stake.
  • The key to developing people is to catch them doing something right.
  • It is easy to make assumptions about other people’s expectations, about what matters to them or what makes them feel appreciated. The only reliable way to gain that clarity is to ask.
  • Leadership is not about having all the answers, it is about asking the questions. The clarity comes from listening to the people in the field.

5. COLLABORATION

  • Effective leadership is about inclusion. People feel they are integral part of the larger process.
  • An effective leader then clearly communicates that decision is out to the troops, including what the decision is, why it was made, and what it means to the organization and to each individual involved.
  • A key ingredient in creating true collaboration is becoming aware of our assumptions and learning to challenge them.
  • If you aren’t willing to hear another point of view, how do you grow?

6. LEARNING

  • My curiosity fueled my life long learning.
  • The capacity to engage others – which is all about listening. Second, hard work and discipline and determination to keep at it and keep showing up.
  • Leaders learn is to get outside the bubble of their own experience or comfort zone and discover what is happening in the lives of people around them.
  • Effective leaders believe that their people have valuable perspective, insights and information.
  • Every leader should be willing to sit down with his team and ask them, what are we doing right? what are we doing wrong? what behaviors need to change?

7. COURAGE

  • Leaders are not necessarily fearless, but they are people who have learned how to confront and push through their fears.
  • Courage is about pushing through our fears.
  • We gain strength, and courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face. We must do that which we think we cannot.
  • It is when we push through our fear t stretch and grow that we gain confidence.
  • The greatest act of courage is to follow your heart and do the right thing even if it isn’t popular.
  • Sometimes you have to make decisions not everyone is going to be comfortable with. You have to focus on what you are trying to accomplish, with as much respect and care as you can for everyone involve. But you can’t let that stop you from what needs to be done. Leadership takes courage – but courage without being reckless.
  • Courage is a matter of speaking up and giving voice to an uncomfortable truth.
  • Often, once you summon the courage to take this step, it turns out to open up wonderful new possibilities that otherwise might have remained closed or hidden.

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