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Leading Up: How to Lead Your Boss So You Both Win Paperback – March 25, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; Reprint edition (March 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400047005
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400047000
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In his first book, The Leadership Moment (1998), Useem used stories to provide examples of leadership in extreme situations. He does it again, now using diverse stories from throughout the ages to show both good and bad examples of "leading up." Useem includes leadership lessons to reinforce the value of the stories and highlight particular points. An integral ingredient throughout the leadership lessons is communications. Providing accurate data, not withholding information or being afraid to speak up to a superior, is part of what he perceives as essential. He realizes that there can be risk associated for the person trying to lead up, especially in a business that doesn't foster managers communicating risks, strategies, and values up to CEOs. In the last chapter, he ties all this together in a formula for managers to use to lead up. Useem does provide insightful information for thoughtful consideration by managers and reinforces the importance of feedback and long-range thinking as necessary to keep the organization moving forward. Eileen Hardy
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Often the best coaching a leader can receive is directly from the team he/she leads. Openness to their feedback is critical, and Professor Useem’s new book provides many dramatic examples of successes and failures in this important dimension.”
—Arthur Martinez, former chief executive officer of Sears, Roebuck & Co.

“Teaching your boss is the most important thing that anyone in business, government, or the nonprofit world needs to know. Leading Up is a must-read for everyone.”
—Leonard A. Lauder, chairman, the Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.

“Professor Michael Useem has shown himself a master in the use of vignettes to teach us about leadership. In his latest book, Leading Up, he has again used reality, this time to discuss ‘those who would dare to lead their leaders.’ In today’s fast-moving and often chaotic world, this book is a must-read. It will help you help your boss be the best he can be and in doing so, build a better organization and increase your value to that organization.”
—General Charles C. Krulak, former commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and senior vice chairman, MBNA Corporation

“Leadership is not just about telling people what to do. It is about building a common purpose—a goal—that everyone on the team works hard to achieve. To do that, leaders must understand that it is not just about them and their goals. It is about creating a group where voices are heard and help offered is help received. Leading Up shows how great leaders create groups that win.”
—Joel Kurtzman, Global Lead Partner, Thought Leadership, PricewaterhouseCoopers

“The message afforded by Leading Up is powerful and germane as we continue to decentralize and empower our organizations. As Mike Useem says, ‘If we expect our subordinates to furnish us with unvarnished, unbiased advice and unswerving support at times when it really counts, we need to have cultivated a culture that encourages and rewards them to do so.’ His diverse selection of historical examples and his storytelling ability bring the concepts alive.”
—Charles O. Holliday, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, DuPont


From the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Michael Useem is the William and Jacalyn Egan Professor of Management and director of the Center for Leadership and Change Management at the Wharton School. He holds a PhD from Harvard University, and his research has focused on leadership, decision making, governance, and corporate change. He has presented leadership development programs in India, China, and elsewhere, and with Harbir Singh and Jitendra Singh has offered an annual program on corporate governance in Mumbai.

Customer Reviews

This book has great ideas and they're well presented.
R.S.
Changing well-established worldviews is certainly a difficult task, but the very fact that it is so difficult underscores the "overriding importance of achieving it."
Greg L. Thomas
This book could easily been written on a very short stack of 3x5 cards.
jimbo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By TJP on December 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
Typically when someone thinks about leadership, they believe the flow of power and authority to take a downward course. Although leadership usually gets delegated in such a manner, in Michael Unseem¡¦s book, Leading Up, he recommends that leadership must come from below as well as from the top. During the course of this book, examples taken as far back as biblical times are used to compare and contrast between individuals who were constantly in tune with their superiors to those individuals who were not in close communication with their superiors. I will be discussing the decisions that David Pottruck and Thomas Wyman made during their roles of senior company executives that caused them to dominate or disintegrate in their industry. By and large, based on the experiences of various individuals in this book, it is vital that a person become comfortable with and communicate to their superiors for the overall success of all parties involved in any endeavor.

STRENGTHS

„X Keep your superiors well informed of what you have done, what you are doing and what you plan to do.

„X Persuade your boss of a new course with a path that is right, a rationale that is airtight, and a determination that is steadfast.

„X Step up to a moment when you can make the difference even if your superiors fail to see it and the risks are grave in seizing it.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By R.S. on November 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book has great ideas and they're well presented. Therefore, I say it is a five star presentation. But, a word of caution. Before trying to implement any of this, you best be able to explain the philosophy behind it all, in case you get "called" on your motives. I recommend, as I do for all "how to" leadership books, that you absorb some of the knowledge in the book with the unlikely name, "West Point", by Norman Thomas Remick.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Greg L. Thomas on December 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
Leaders are not just bosses. In fact, some of the most effective leaders in an organization may be those leading the boss! Leading up is about helping your superiors lead and do their job better. Everyone can lead up. Even if you are a CEO you will need to lead your board and stockholders.

Michael Useem, the author of Leading Up, is professor of management and the director of the Center for Leadership and Change Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His writing style uses detailed cases from military history, politics, business and even stories of Biblical figures to emphasize the need to lead up. I found some of the stories a bit long and detailed, going beyond what some readers might desire in order to grasp the point being made. However, if you enjoy this presentation style, the cases are well written and provide fascinating insights into actual historical events.

Professor Useem says that business has often looked to the military model for lessons in leadership "because of the seemingly impervious top-down authority system." Using actual military stories, the author demonstrates that the military model can also offer invaluable lessons that are just the opposite. Encouraging your subordinates to say what is positive or negative about a plan before you impose an order can often avoid costly errors, or even save lives. Creating a culture that stimulates and rewards upward leadership is critical in today's complex environment where no single individual can possibly have all the answers. Useem says, "The military might appear to be the last place on earth where upward leadership is tolerated, but in fact such leadership is obligatory." Encouraging upward challenges can keep a leader on course regarding adherence to principles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Dodd on November 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book's title intrigued me, but it was the sub-title that compelled me to read it: "How to lead your boss so you both win." Having never heard the term `leading up,' I was hoping for a new way to see and understand leadership. I was not disappointed. As a retired career officer of Marines, I realized that I have experienced many leading up failures and successes, in and out of uniform.

Leading up is "...not the same as 'managing' up...The distinction is between 'running' the office and adding 'value' to it, between 'discharging' our responsibilities and 'exceeding' them...Nor is leading up a call for undermining authority or seizing power. It is about the effective exercise of power for the greater good...The challenge is to help both those below us and those above us achieve what we all want accomplished...."

Useem did an excellent job presenting and analyzing a series of historical leading up vignettes and their consequences. His study offered what might be considered five leading up principles: 1) Keeping your senior(s) well informed; 2) Getting your senior's attention on what he/she needs to see, and moving him/her along a course of action before it is too late; 3) Building the confidence of your seniors in you; 4) Working well with several bosses; and 5) Asking your boss the difficult but critical questions.

I also liked how Useem repeatedly reinforced that there is an obligation to lead up, and how the symbiotic responsibility for leading up rests with both seniors and subordinates. "The fates of our superiors often depend on our actions, just as our own fates depend on the actions of those below us...
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