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Leadership Jazz: The Essential Elements of a Great Leader Paperback – September 5, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (September 5, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440505186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440505181
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #429,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

William Blake said "Great things are done, when men and mountains meet," and this certainly holds true for De Pree's latest "mountain-top" musings on leadership. Following his earlier principle-based treatise ( Leadership Is an Art, Doubleday, 1989; selected as one of the "Business Books of 1989," LJ 3/15/90) he now razor-cuts right to the heart and soul of this most critical issue of our time. De Pree likens business leadership to the beautiful art of leading a jazz ensemble. He proves well the adage: leadership may be difficult to define, and especially to exemplify, but you'll know it when you see it. Mere task-oriented managers may be so frustrated by his limitless, penetrating insight that they just might prefer trying to nail jello to a tree. This is recommended for all business collections. --Dale Farris, Groves, Tex .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

Leadership in the workplace, says Max DePree, is like playing jazz; it's more an art than a science. Today's successful managers are attuned to the needs and ideas of their followers and even step aside at times to be followers themselves. As a result, they spark vitality and productivity from their work force. They culivate communication and spontaneity, diversity and creativity, and the unique potential of every person in the organization to contribute to the success of the team. In Leadership Jazz you'll learn

-How to hold people accountable but still give them space to make mistakes.

- How to balance the needs of your employees with those of the company.

- How to inspire change and innovation and maintain a sense of stability.

- How to practice the art of delegation.

- How to work constructively with creative people.

- How to assess candidates for senior positions.

- And much more!


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie on February 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
In Max Depree's book, Leadership Jazz, the importance of both the leader and the "follower" are explored in great detail. DePree chooses to not only relay what a leader must be in order for an organization to be a success, but he also focuses on what type of employees must be present for a company to achieve a goal. This book goes beyond the normal management book that dictates how to lead with rules and procedures and delves into the communication and respect that must be present at all levels at all times. It is an excellent guide for what should be contemplated, considered, and carried out in a thriving, team-based operation. This book is one that individuals should definitely consider reading if they are looking for this type of material.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Loren G. Carlson on August 28, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jazz is the right metaphor for business today.

I have long thought that the popular metaphor for business leadership of an orchestra conductor is wrong in the rapidly changing conditions of today. To say that a CEO's job is like an orchestra conductor's -- to keep every one at the same place on the same page -- assumes there is a score that all of the musicians have to follow. There isn't.

Jazz demands improvisation. It gives individual musicians the freedom to create and to respond to each others creations. Max De Pree recognizes this and states this metaphor accurately at the beginning of his book.

"We have much to learn from jazz-band leaders, for jazz, like leadership, combines the unpredicability of the future with the gifts of individuals." (page 9)

But, De Pree doesn't develop this metaphor further. The title of the book, "Leadership Jazz", implies more than the book delivers in development of the metaphor.

The book does deliver very good advice on leadership. It is an excellent description of the power of "servant leadership" which is the real metaphor of the book, and, judging from the many stories De Pree relates from his years as the CEO and Chairman of Herman Miller, Inc., it is the metaphor for his life. Leaders do need to read this book.

I just wish De Pree had developed the richness of the jazz metaphor.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 29, 1997
Format: Paperback
In the book "Leadership Jazz" by Max Du Pree he mentions the following statement "...one way to think about leadership is to consider a jazz band. Jazz-band leaders must choose the music, find the right musicians, and perform-in public. But the effect of the performance depends on so many things- the environment, the volunteers in the band, the need to everybody to perform as individuals and as a group, the absolute dependence of the leader on the members of the band, the need of the leader for the followers to play well." Du Pree, with this approach, starts to tell us his confession about leadership. In opposite from "The Leadership Challenge" by Kouzes & Posner that uses a scientific approach, "Leadership Jazz" uses personal experiences to define leadership. Moreover, Du Pree drives us into a profound essence of to be a leader.
In order to emphasize the importance of the word leadership, Du Pree uses certain terms or ideas that can be learned in to be an effective leader. At first,
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David V. Hunter on January 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Leadership Jazz" because of its easy reading style that enables the reader an ability to relate certain underlying principles with actual experiences. As for the principles presented, I am impressed because the focus is on solid leadership qualities that are genuine, opposed to appearances. As one who has managed people for 20 years, it is a practical and valuable resource. I did, however, bristle each time I read "she" rather than "he", but was able to accept this without too much difficulty. I have purchased a copy of the book for all department heads, and each of my children.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Aaron on February 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Leadership is an intangible quality that cannot be given by a CEO, learned in a book, or taught in a class. According to Max De Pree, chairman of the board of directors at Herman Miller and author of Leadership Jazz, leadership is something that is born in the heart. De Pree analyzes the topic of leadership through the analogy of a jazz band. To illustrate his point, De Pree states that while jazz band leaders must choose the music, find the musicians, and perform in public, so much of their performance depends on the environment, the volunteers playing, the need for everybody to perform as individuals and in the group, the dependence of the leader on the band, and the need for followers to play well. It is through descriptive analogies such as these, his professional and personal experiences as well as his own conventional wisdom, that De Pree reveals the secrets of effective leadership to readers. Throughout the book, De Pree asserts that leadership is not defined by a single event or act on any one person's part. Leadership is actually a process that begins by acknowledging the potential, or authenticity of each person in the workforce; allowing those individuals to live up to their potential and in doing so, making yourself vulnerable to the consequences; finally, connecting your voice and your touch to become an effective leader. As the author points out, the end result of this process is a vibrant, effective, efficient, and durable organization.
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