17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Transitions are a part of everyone's life. And since the publication of Judith Viorst's "Necessary Losses," transitions has become and increasingly popular subject for authors.
Dotlich, Noel, and Walker in "Leadership Passages" cover thirteen common personal and professional passages (transitions) that they say make or break a leader...in fact, they can make or break any human, not just leaders. The authors based this book on their work as executives within major companies, business advisors and executive development consultants.
Passages are predictable and inevitable. Most will go through more than one. Since passages are intense, they can destroy one's spirit. At the same time, they represent an opportunity as those who successfully navigate these difficult currents of life will experience real personal growth. And if not handled with emotional and intellectual honesty, these passages lead to danger.
Most people, the authors have found, who move through life experiencing one success after another are shallow. They distinguish between the senior executive who has been strengthened and deepened by his/her passages and failure, from those who have not. The former are the most effective leaders.
"Leadership Passages" is filled with examples and covers the following transitions.
1. Joining a company.
2. Moving into a leadership role.
3. Accepting the stretch assignment.
4. Getting responsibility for a business.
5. Dealing with significant failure for which you were responsible.
6. Coping with a bad boss and competitive peers.
7. Losing your job or being passed over for the promotion.
8. Being part of an acquisition or merger.
9. Living in a different country.
10. Finding meaningful balance between work and family.
11. Letting go of ambition.
12. Facing personal upheaval.
13. Losing faith in the system
There is something in this book for everyone. This is a book that will have value at many points in your career. And these passages will test your resiliency, your ability to accept responsibility, your ability to reflect, seek support, develop and seek refuge, use a professional network, gain perspective, take risks, refine, and pass on your experience.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Authors David L. Dotlich, James L. Noel and Norman Walker connect the growing body of work about the emotional intelligence of leaders with the practice of executive coaching and leadership development. Where does emotional intelligence come from, and how can you stimulate its development in the next generation of leaders? The authors' answer is that growth is indivisible from pain and change. Any great leader fights personal and professional battles, and earns a few scars. The bottom line: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. For individual leaders-in-training, the question is how to grow after being hit by life's curveballs. For firms, the question is how to incorporate executives' personal lives and career setbacks into their development as leaders. In this regard, the book bridges a gap in executive development literature. We very highly recommend it to those experiencing difficult transitions, and to human resource and development professionals.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2004
Leadership Passages offers a guided tour of real-world do's and don'ts, as it relates to the 13 most common passages most executives will face at some point in their career. The passages themselves are not surprising. They include things like dealing with a significant failure for which you are responsible, being part of a merger or acquisition, and coping with a bad boss or competitive peers.
What's different is the way the authors cast failure and seemingly negative events in a new, more positive light. The book maintains that these events are a critical part of truly successful leadership. I was encouraged to read passages like the following:
"(The) passages have an impact on leaders, just as they do on all of us. If you go through them with your eyes-and your mind-closed, you diminish your own development. If you go through them consciously and are open to the lessons they hold, you dramatically increase the odds of being a consistently effective leader."
"High-performing leaders are aware of their strengths and their weaknesses; they talk and think about their limitations and failures and try to learn from them. They see themselves as continuously learning, adapting, and responding to both positive and negative circumstances. Most important, they are highly conscious of their feelings and behaviors as they move through life."
I would recommend this book for any executive who is looking for new perspectives on professional development and is willing to invest the time and effort to confront both the highs and lows we all experience. I hope you find the book as thought-provoking and rewarding as I did.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This book focuses on an interesting premise- that leadership is significantly developed by key experiences and the person's reactions to them. Many of the key experiences need to be actively sought out and accepted such as accepting a stretch assignment or living in a different country. Others are often a matter of time such as joining a new company, coping with a bad boss, or facing personal upheaval. Another- dealing with failure- is in between with an element of decision in choosing to take risks and stretch oneself, and an element of time. What links all these experiences together is that they must be dealt with honestly in order to learn from them. The book does a good job of presenting these ideas and more, with examples of people who have gone through the passages- some successful, others not. While few will agree with everything presented, it raises good questions and should be appreciated for that.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2007
I have not read a Dotlich book that has disappointed. If you're an executive, or making your living helping executives, you'll lap up the honesty and authenticity of "Leadership Passages". Leadership is a topic about which few people can write without mistaking good fortune for wisdom. Dotlich and his colleagues have written about the lessons in authenticity we all can learn from narrowly surviving, and even failing, the challenges that any executive must expect to encounter at some point in his or her career. If you've had a few of these searing experiences already, you can trust "Leadership Passages" to help you be as prepared emotionally as any book can help you be for the next one. What's more, you will gain inspiration to participate purposefully, and perhaps even zestfully, in what today has become one of the most challenging of all civilization's passages: the bending of corporatism to addressing intelligently the true needs of all this planet's creatures.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2004
Leadership Passages offers a refreshingly holistic view of what it takes to learn and grow as a leader. Unlike the narrow way many corporations define and measure leadership success, Dotlich and his co-authors address the importance and value of personal/life experiences, as well as seemingly negative "failures," as a natural part of professional development. The book is well-organized and the content is both approachable and relevant to anyone interested in growing their leadership ability as an integral part of life's journey.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2006
A light reader with diagnostics and Rx that is heavily oriented to senior leaders' career peaks and waves but it has great personal advice for aspiring leaders' and mid careerist's leadership tool box. Also, valuable advice for organizational leaders that shape high performance work cultures. If you buy into life long learning philosophy - this book is for you. If you think learning is for the birds. . .I recommend you still get it - it might open your mind to a new and re-focused you.
on July 10, 2013
As best summarized by the authors: "We have selected thirteen passages to describe in this book...we have chosen the thirteen that senior leaders mention most often and describe as particularly compelling or intense. If you work ling enough, you will experience many of these passages, perhaps all of them. When you do, you will find them to be emotionally, intellectually, and even spiritually intense. And they are passages because as the world indicates, they take you from one place to another you see the world and yourself differently after you've gone through the events and emotional states that define each passage...Our goal is to help you understand, learn from, and navigate the passages successfully. If you do, you will dramatically increase your leadership effectiveness. If you don't, you'll risk bypassing the most important leadership development experience you can face: your own life."
Below are key excerpts from the book that summarize the main points:
1- "Although, everyone experiences adversity and diversity in unique ways, the general nature of these experiences can be predicted and prepared for. When you know the passages you will encounter, you're better able to maximize their value as learning tools...they're organized according to the four quadrants of the matrix: (1) diversity of work experiences, (2) work adversity, (3) diversity of life experiences, and (4) life adversity."
2- "Ultimately, the way we use our skills, obtain results, or establish relationships is contingent on our internal awareness of who we are. If we're blind to our weak spots, they're bound to trip us up."
3- "Without a failure or two along the way, leaders never have to move out of their comfort zones, adjust their identities, or develop their capacity for compassion...Failure, though, can also deepen you. It gives you a sense of your own fallibility and forces you to reassess your point of view."
4- "Companies therefore need to be proactive in helping their new executives deal with this passage; the first thing they should do is counsel them on the implicit rules of the culture and how to maximize the impact of their entry and minimize the cultural upheaval...follow this five-step method to learn and grow as you move through the passage: 1) Identify the gap between the company's intention and your experience...2) Focus on your boss and learn to read him accurately...3) Build a coalition that stretches throughout the organization...4) Diagnose the culture yourself...5) Create a time-focused vision of what you want to accomplish."
5- "Challenges for First-Time leaders: 1) Losing an Identity...2) Seeing your Star Dim...3) Balancing People and Tasks. The Normality of Struggle: 1) Reflect and talk about the feedback your receive...2) Heed your instincts...3) Make the time to focus on people...4) Grasp the network of influence and politics...5) Don't abuse your power. 6) Do the right thing, but don't be convinced you always know what the right thing is."
6- "The Role of Paradox in Business: 1) Value the unfamiliar...2) Display a hang-in-there mentality...3) Accept the paradoxical nature of work."
7- "Four Dos in Dealing with Failure: 1) Examine your decisions that catalyzed the failure...2) Talk to your boss, a coach, or some other trusted adviser about this incident...3) Reflect on what you might do differently in the future...4) Summon the energy to persevere."
8- "A bad boss or peer is a reverse role model - one you can use to guide yourself away from counterproductive actions and attitudes. To take advantage of these three learnings, we recommend the following steps: 1) Choose an interpersonal strategy to manage the relationship...2) Ask yourself what your reaction to a boss or peer says about you...3) Define your values."
9- "How to Grow from Being Diminished: 1) Refuse to allow the event define you...2) Understand why it happened...3) Use your support network...4) Develop a "what next" strategy."
10- "Learning More Than How To Keep Your Job (in an M&A): 1) Figure out new rules quickly and start playing by them...2) Remain a strong leader despite your sense of vulnerability...3) Transcend the politics while focusing on the mission...4) Maintain an open mind...5) Create a new network. Growing as a Company Changes: 1) Determine if you should remain with the new company... 2) Work at assessing and expressing how you feel about the merger or acquisition...3) Reconnect to the company...4) Keep the lines of communication open with your direct reports...5) Be patient."
11- "How to Take Advantage of a Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity (living in a different country or culture)...1) Adopt an adventurer's mind-set...2) Learn first; teach second...3) Function effectively without knowing the rules or how to behave."
12- "Finding a Meaningful Balance Between Work and Family...1) Let your values be your work-family guide. 2) Involve your partner early on in your decisions about work and family...3) Monitor your attitude towards success."
13- "How to Manage Upheaval: 1) Reveal your vulnerabilities...2) Be authentic...3) Accept fate and move on."
14- "Leadership Development Is About Experiences: 1) Stretch assignments 2) Education 3) Key Relationships 4) Outside activities 5) Coaching 6) Diverse experiences 7) Living abroad 8) Feedback 9) Selection and Staffing."
15- "An Eight-Step Survive-And-Thrive Guide: 1) Learn Resilience...2) Accept Personal Responsibility...3) Reflect...4) Seek support from your partner, family, friends, and professionals...5) Develop and Use a Professional Network...6) Seek Refuge...7) Gain Perspective...8) Take Risks."
16- "The thirteen predictable, intense passages can certainly be stressful, confusing, and emotionally volatile periods in your life. They are also the foundation with which you can become stronger, more humane, and more effective leader. With insight, reflection, and a strong dose of self-forgiveness, you can turn the experiences of your life and career into personal growth for yourself and for others."
on April 27, 2013
I enjoyed this book very much. I thought that it was insightful and I could apply and reflect upon so much. A little for everyone, for sure.
on November 22, 2014
For those of us in the talent selection and leadership development business, I believe this is an excellent book with many experiential examples all focused on the multiple stages in an executive's life which which both challenge and accelerate an executive's development.