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Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up Hardcover – October 14, 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"..useful advice…offers encouragement and inspiration. The book breaks its lessons down into simple steps." -- Harvard Business Review

"...concrete advice for those who find themselves working in the middle…whether that means honing your diplomacy skills, eliciting great ideas, or taking that essential leap of faith." -- Washingtonpost.com

“…down-to-earth, nuts-and-bolts, and easy to connect with…” -- leadershipnow.com

Selected as on the best books of 2009 by CEO Refresher.com

Selected by Leadershipnow.com as one of the Best Leadership Books of 2009

”… strategies for getting your ideas heard, establishing trust at the top and throughout your team, generating honest feedback, becoming a leader in your own right…” -- T+D magazine

Book Description

Every manager on the move wants to have influence at the top in order to get his or her ideas heard and ultimately acted upon. In Lead Your Boss, recognized leadership guru John Baldoni gives managers new—as well as tried-and-true—methods for influencing both their bosses and their peers, and giving senior leaders reasons to follow their lead. Featuring instructive stories based on real-life experiences from leaders at all levels, Lead Your Boss reveals proven strategies for:

• Developing spheres of influence

• Handling tough issues

• Asserting oneself diplomatically

• Putting the team first

• Persuading up

• Establishing trust

• Using organizational politics to everyone’s advantage

• Inspiring others through-out the organization

Lead Your Boss gives readers practical, tactical advice on becoming a key player in any organization, regardless of whether or not they have an office in the Csuite…YET.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM (October 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814415059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814415054
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Baldoni is an internationally recognized leadership consultant, coach, and author of more than dozen books that have been translated into 10 languages including Mandarin, Hungarian, Arabic, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese. John serves as chair of leadership development at N2Growth, a global leadership consultancy.

In 2015, Trust Across America named John to its list of top 100 most trusted business experts for the second consecutive year. In 2014, Inc.com named John to its list of top 50 experts for leadership and management and top 100 list of leadership speakers. And Global Gurus named John number 11 on its list of top thirty global leadership experts. John was first named to this prestigious list in 2007.

John has taught what it means to inspire at the top of a mountain in the Canadian Rockies. At sea level in Orlando, Florida, John spoke to nearly one thousand USAF/JAG commissioned and non-commissioned officers on leadership and communication. And his book, Lead Your Boss, was hailed by Harvard Business Review as a "guide that provides useful advice... [and] is encouraging and inspirational."

John began his business career in a fifteenth floor office with a view of a private golf course. Around the corner was a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean. In between was a recording studio where John produced and edited corporate radio spots worked with Fortune 500 executives in leadership communications and development. But John gave that all up to start his own business in the spare bedroom of a beachfront rental more than three decades ago.

In time, John established a career as a highly sought after communications and leadership consultant, where he had the privilege of working with senior leaders in virtually every industry from pharmaceutical to real estate, packaged goods to automobiles, and finance to health care.

John's newest book is MOXIE: The Secret of Bold and Gusty Leadership, which explores the grit and determination leaders need to exert to overcome challenges. Blending real-life stories with research and interviews, John provides a roadmap for how leaders can lead with greater awareness, more determined purpose and focused engagement in order to achieve inspired results.

His tenth book, Lead With Purpose: Giving Your Organization a Reason to Believe in Itself, solidified John's reputation for blending thought-provoking ideas with pragmatic advice. Over the past decade John has established himself as world authority on topics that matter to leaders who are seeking insight into leadership challenges of the day.

His 2012 book, The Leader's Pocket Guide: 101 Indispensable Tools, Tips and Techniques for Any Situation, has been recognized as a practical resource for those seeking to improve their leadership skills. His follow-up book, The Leader's Guide to Speaking with Presence, has provided insights that managers need to present their messages and themselves authentically.

Through his books and his over 500 columns for leading business publications including Forbes.com, Harvard Business Review, Inc. and many others, John has become a source of practical wisdom on topics such as influencing without authority, applying power appropriately, leading with grace and conviction, and developing genuine followership. All of these topics complement John's mission to help individuals and their organization achieve positive results.

John speaks widely to corporate, professional, military and university audiences. Those who attend John's keynotes and workshops find his advice to be practical and his advice inspirations. Mixed with stories of great men and women, and leavened with light-hearted humor, John seeks down-to-earth practical advice that individuals can apply immediately. John's presentations blend his passion for leadership with genuine enthusiasm for helping people achieve their leadership ambitions.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The fact is that I would have given this book a six star rating if the title was something like, "Help Your Boss and Your Team Succeed" or "Influencing Your Boss." The sixth star would have been extra credit for avoiding the current-day compulsion to label everything good as "leadership."

But the publishers and perhaps the author, John Baldoni, chose Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up as the title for the best book I've read on a subject that most managers want to know more about. I know that from a quarter century of training men and women entering their first job as a boss.

In every class, we identify the things that these people want to learn about. There are only two items that ever come out on top. One is confronting team members about poor performance. The other is dealing with the boss.

This book is not a compendium of theory or a program that promises success if you just follow the author's five, or five hundred, "easy steps." It won't be easy. What John Baldoni describes in this book is some of the pick-and-shovel work you have to do if you have a boss.

After you read this book, you'll still have a lot of work ahead of you. But the good news is that you'll know what you need to do. You won't have to learn on the job and you won't try a lot of things that don't work.

Baldoni has divided the book into three sections. The first two direct you to ask two diagnostic questions: "What does the leader need?" and "What does the team need?" That's head work.

The pick and shovel work comes when you ask the question that guides the third section: "What can I do to help the leader and the team succeed?" That's a critical question because it moves things out of your head and on to your To Do list.
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Format: Hardcover
John Baldoni offers a great deal of wonderful management advice that would work quite well in any progressive organization that truly engages its employees in a trusting environment of open and honest communication. Unfortunately, some organizations are not so progressive; rather, they are hierarchial and bureaucratic; micro-managment is pervasive, and a culture of fear defines its essence.

Welcome to corporate America.

Strangely enough, the concepts Baldoni proposes throughout this book alligned with my management philosophy during my 26 year experience in corporate America; throughout this book, I was constantly nodding my head in agreement in support of the strategies "to lead the boss"; they would work quite well in any organization that believes in giving its employees as much autonomy as possible to effectively run the business, and most importantly, stay focused on its customers' needs and expectations.

In the real world of business, some bosses have hidden agendas which don't always take into consideration the best interests of those they manage; rather, they inhibit autonomy and make it virtually impossible to sustain any sort of long-term career growth. Under those conditions, no one wins.

Certainly, anyone with a good set of core values and a desire to succeed as an integral part of a team, would embrace the tactics proposed by Baldoni. It's terrfic management advice, in theory.

From firsthand experience, implementing these wonderful concepts can be extremely challenging in the real world of business. Proceed with caution.

Review submitted by Larry Underwood, author, Life Under the Corporate Microscope: A Maverick's Irreverent Perspective
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Format: Hardcover
Don't be misled by the title of this book. The information and counsel that John Baldoni provides will help almost anyone (at whatever level) in almost any organization (whatever its size and nature) to achieve several critically important objectives in relationships with associates, including direct reports as well as with those to whom you report. Specifically, how to

1. Continuously improve your performance
2. Engage others who can assist your efforts
3. Help them to improve their own performance
4. Improve communication, cooperation, and collaboration with others
5. Over time, make whatever adjustments required by new circumstances

For Baldoni, to lead is to take the initiative in relationships with others. Where to begin? Consider these action steps he recommends at the conclusion of the first chapter:

o Establish trust be following through on all commitments
o Make yourself available to help others
o Share credit with others
o Be proactive re solving problems
o Demonstrate common sense (e.g. be realistic and practical)

To these, I presume to add two other suggestions: Volunteer for difficult or unpleasant tasks but only if you can complete them satisfactorily, and, congratulate others on a job well-done.

Credibility is the coin of the realm in a workplace: Baldoni brilliantly explains how to establish and then sustain others' confidence in you, not only in your talents and skills but also in your character. It is imperative for associates, indeed for everyone with whom you interact (including customers) to know that they can count on you.

Throughout his lively narrative, Baldoni cites dozens of real-world examples to demonstrate his key points.
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