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What Do Leaders Really Do?. Getting under the skin of what makes a great leader tick

  • ID: 2240577
  • Book
  • August 2007
  • Region: Global
  • 224 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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"This is a book about experiences. Thankfully, it is not telling us to ′do′ anything. It is not a ′must do/should do′ tract of management speak.

It offers insights and philosophies from people who have been in significant leadership positions. I personally found it helpful to check off some of the strengths and weaknesses I have, and simply reflect on the way others approach similar situations that I face. I spent half the time reading and the other half asking myself challenging questions!"
—Adrian Moorhouse – Chief Executive and co–founder of Lane 4 Management Group, The Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to work for 2007 – ′Best for Leadership′ award

If ′command an control′ leadership is no longer relevant what are the best modern leaders doing and saying that is really working? What do leaders really do? asks the key questions of the best leaders around and comes up with some surprising and insightful answers. Leadership insights are drawn from those in the frontline of business, sport, media and the military, including:

  • Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games for 2012.
  • Greg Dyke, former Director–General, BBC
  • Charles Dunstone, CEO and co–founder, Carphone Warehouse
  • Kevin Roberts, Worldwide CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi
  • Dame Stella Rimington, former Director–General of MI5
  • Major General Patrick Cordingley, Former Commander of the Desert Rats during first Gulf War
  • Martin Johnson CBE, World cup Winning England Rugby captain
  • Sue Campbell, Chair of UK Sport
  • Martin Glenn, CEO Birds Eye Iglo Group
  • Field Marshal Lord Inge, former Chief of Defence Staff
  • Heather Rabbatts CBE, Executive Deputy Chair, Millwall FC and Chair of Millwall Holdings

What do leaders really do? is leadership straight from those who know first hand what it′s all about. This is how it really is.

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Foreword ix

Introduction xi

Acknowledgements xiv

Part One 1

1 Characteristics of Leadership 3

The charisma question 10

A substitute for charisma 12

Leadership by osmosis 14

2 Background 17

The influence of family life 20

Education 22

Learning leadership 26

Career progression 27

3 Influences 31

The influence of parents 32

The influence of teachers 35

The influence of bosses 37

Mentors and mentoring 43

Part Two 45

4 Vision 47

Creating the vision 49

Communicating the vision 54

Long or short term? 59

5 Decision–making and Risk 63

Military mission analysis 68

Risk and the military 70

Risk and business leaders 73

6 Mistakes and Setbacks 79

Learning from experience 85

Analysing failure and success 89

7 Change Management 93

Why do most change initiatives fail? 96

Communicating change 99

Culture change 102

Early days, quick wins 104

Part Three 109

8 Empathetic and Authentic Leadership 111

Empathetic leadership 113

Caring leadership 116

Sensing mood 118

Delivering bad news 121

Authentic leadership 124

The stories people tell 128

Visibility 131

Keep your distance 133

9 Motivation, Inspiration and Morale 135

Celebrating successes 140

Morale 142

Inspirational leadership 144

The role of oration 147

10 Choosing and Building a Team 151

The power of diversity 154

Trust 157

Developing future leaders 159

Preparing for success 160

Teamship rules and professionalism 162

Team spirit 164

11 Communication 167

Too much talk? 168

Authentic communication 171

Honesty and integrity 174

Communicating outside the company 176

Dealing with the media 177

12 Looking After No 1 181

Creating space to think 184

Self–improvement and learning 187

Recommended reading 189

Leadership and lifelong learning 190

Knowing when to quit 192

Final thoughts on leadership 195

Appendix 197

Bibliography and Further Reading 202

Index 204

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“One of the best new books gathering insights into leadership styles from a range of successful people...” (
Financial Director, October 2007)

"You will find stories that resonate and "stick" with you." (People Magazine, October 2007)

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