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Centered Leadership: Leading with Purpose, Clarity, and Impact Hardcover – March 18, 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Centered Leadership is a personal and practical roadmap to taking on the challenge of leadership."

- Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook and author of Lean In

"Many have tried to define the common characteristics of leadership, but few have applied the rigorous, research-based approach that Joanna Barsh takes in Centered Leadership. The result is a book that is both authoritative and actionable."
- Dan Doctoroff, CEO & President of Bloomberg L.P. 

"During in-depth interviews with over 165 men and women, [Barsh] gathered data on thriving and rising at work; she then articulated her new model for thinking about leadership development in two books: How Remarkable Women Lead and the upcoming Centered Leadership. They should be required reading for every young person- man or woman."
-Jessica Bacal, director of the Smith College Wurtele Center for Work and Life and author of Mistakes I Made at Work

"Centered Leadership is the essential leadership guide for our times, as it puts personal development at the center of the corporate leadership endeavor. Here's a program that transforms your work and life balance from a challenge into a strategy."
- Steven Pleshette Murphy, CEO Christie's International PLC

 "Barsh’s voice is original, authoritative, and above all extraordinarily practical regardless of where we are in our leadership journey. I read this book smiling—it’s a rare personal guide for every generation.” -Andrea Jung, former Chairman and CEO, Avon Products

“Many of us in leadership positions tend to think that we instinctively know what it takes to inspire and motivate others. But CENTERED LEADERSHIP opened my eyes to the fact that great leadership is more a science than we realize. Barsh and Lavoie draw on deep research and fieldwork to genuinely help us build our capabilities. “ -Gary E. Knell,  President and CEO, National Geographic Society

The Centered Leadership Project may have begun as an investigation into what makes remarkable women leaders tick, but after reading Barsh’s excellent second book, I have become convinced that she and Lavoie have their fingers on what anyone  - woman or man - can do to become the kind of inspirational leader everyone will want to follow.  -D. Ronald Daniel, Former Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company

"In Centered Leadership Joanna Barsh has given us a highly effective guide to building the more comprehensive, often deeply human, leadership skills that this complex, fast paced era requires."
- Luis Ubinas, former CEO Ford Foundation

About the Author

JOANNA BARSH is the author of the business bestseller How Remarkable Women Lead and director emeritus at McKinsey & Company. At McKinsey, she led the creation of Centered Leadership in 2008. Joanna now helps governments and businesses grow the global community of Centered Leaders. She has spoken to executives and governments in over 20 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, France, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, and the U.K., and Fortune 100 companies such as Citi, Danone, GE, Google, Time Warner, and Walmart. She has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, FT, Businessweek, and more. Joanna holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School where she was a Baker Scholar.

JOHANNE LAVOIE is a master expert in McKinsey's organization practice; with Joanna and dozens of practitioners inside and outside the firm, Johanne launched Centered Leadership programs. Today, Johanne is the global dean of the Centered Leadership Program, the leadership course for senior executives. She mixes twenty years of business consulting with expertise in adult development and organization culture at Fortune 100 companies. In addition, Johanne serves on the advisory board and faculty of the Banff Leadership Center. She has an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business (March 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804138877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804138871
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Centered leadership is transformational concept with a massive impact on not only how you lead but also how you live your life.

I have high hopes on this book, and after starting to read I have to say: I am not disappointed! With great personal and inspirational stories - not only from the author but many other successful leaders - the book really showcases why the pilars of centered leadership (Meaning, Framing, Connecting, Engaging, and Energizing) are so essential. The book takes the reader on their centered leadership journey giving practical tips and exercises that can be put into action in work and personal contexts.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about themselves and who is curious about what they COULD be able to achieve if they find out what is their Meaning, how they Frame the world, how they should Connect to get there, how to Engage on their goals and how to stay Energized along the way. Be warned: the book does not give the answers, but rather invites the reader to figure out their own answers.

I will extend this review as soon as I finished the book. Now I have to go back reading!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Joanna Barsh, a 30 year veteran of McKinsey, takes the reader on a journey through self paced and extremely insightful exercises to arrive at a better place for leadership and self awareness in this easy to read but challenging book. Barsh begins by focusing on the element of centering. Centering crossed my path as "centering prayer" several years ago, and revolves around self awareness, stillness and connection as well as grounding. Barsh crosswalks this meditative practice to an active implementation in "Centered Leadership".

The book begins with a useful introduction to centered leadership, and an introduction to the five components which make up the centered leadership facets:

* Framing - self awareness, pausing and adaptability
* Connecting - Trust relationships, networks and community, sponsorships
* Engaging - Presence, ownership and taking risks and action
* Energizing - Energy balance, recovery and sustaining practices
* Meaning - Happiness, core strengths and purpose

Barsh then walks the reader through each of the five elements, accompanied by a series of self reflective and team exercised designed to awaken and develop each of the five facets. At the end, she hopes that he reader will have improved their leadership impact, self-fulfillment and resilience.

Ultimately, the book is a useful tool - as much for self awareness and self development as to provide enlightening leadership techniques. Barth seems to embrace the approach that to lead, one must first take care of themselves and understand (perhaps even "center") themselves for maximum effectiveness. It is a worthwhile read, and the exercises are thought provoking and useful.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Centred Leadership
by Joanna Barsh, Johanne Lavoie

Leadership guidebook or guide to transform your life. I was undecided early on, and honestly I am still not sure.

The authors presents her approach to self-improvement, based on a foundation of discovering meaning; examining how they Frame the world; being Connected to get there; how to Engage on their goals; and how to stay Energized.

The book suggest using it as a workbook with a group, and certainly for change to occur it will be easier to be motivated working within a group. It will take a very self-motivated individual to follow her directions to accomplish all that the book has.

The authors illustrate their principles with personal and inspirational stories, from a variety of leaders, as well as providing practical tips that allow the reader to put learning into action.

It contains questions to assist your learning. The content is based on quantitative research, which I have not validated.

The stated aim is for any leader, from novice to corporate CEO to acquiring the same skills as today's most esteemed leaders, and therefore reaching their highest potential.

There are some ideas in the model for people on the journey of self-discovery, as well as developing leaders. It is not a quick fix, but rather the beginning of a journey into leadership.
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Format: Hardcover
While reading a previously published book, How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life (2011), co-authored by Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston, with substantial assistance provided by Geoffrey Lewis, I noted that remarkable men lead others in much the same way that, as Barsh and Cranston explain, remarkable women do: by leveraging their talent, desire to lead, and tolerance for change within all areas of their lives.

Barsh and Cranston characterize this as "Centered Leadership" within five separate but interdependent dimensions: Meaning, Framing, Connecting, Engaging, and Energizing. They devote a separate chapter to each of the five. However they are named and defined, these are areas in which aspiring leaders are challenged to attract the support of others. The greater challenge is to sustain that support. What Barsh and Cranston share in this book is what they learned from five years of rigorous and extensive research that involved hundreds of remarkable women in all manner of leadership positions.

In this book, co-authored with Johanne Lavoie, Barsh develops these and other insights in much greater detail, drawing upon a wealth of real-world experience at McKinsey & Company that Lavoie has accumulated to complement what Barsh has gained during her own distinguished career at that firm. Their objective is to help as many executives as possible to become a centered leader -- or become a more effective one -- at a time when the global marketplace is more uncertain, more volatile, and moving at a faster pace than at any prior time that I can remember.

Here's what Barsh and Lavoie have to say:

"Our approach helps leaders gain greater self-awareness and self-reflection. With those, comes greater choice of thought and action.
Read more ›
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