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Better Under Pressure: How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Themselves and Others Hardcover – May 3, 2011
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An original and noteworthy contribution to executive selection which is invaluable to those charged with top executive assessment.” Chartered Management Institute
Better Under Pressure compliments books like Clutch, but with examples more specific to organizations other than professional sports. Even if you operate a one-person small business, it will give you a blueprint for how to conduct your best performance under pressure.”- Small Business Trends (smallbiztrends.com)
Listed under Summer  reading suggestions for federal leaders” - Washington Post
Personal and practical, this book is a potent resource for aspiring, emerging, and seasoned business leaders alike. Most mindful!” CEO Refresher
an extremely interesting book that deserves a wide readership.” - Execupundit.com
An extremely worthwhile read for leaders, or aspiring leaders, in these turbulent times.” - BusinessandLeadership.com
What an intellectual feat! Justin takes leaders on a tour of the attributes of truly great CEOs, but the book is so much more than that. By showing us how those attributes connect and come to life, Justin’s stories reveal how the best leaders think and act under the hardest circumstances.”
--Ralph Larsen, former Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the interviews with the CEO's and Justin's insightful analyses of the lessons learned. His concept of "reaching full potential" hits the nail right on the head.”
--Marijn Dekkers, CEO, Bayer AG
Better Under Pressure is a well-researched, conceptually sound, practical leadership guidebook for global business executives. Instead of serving up simplistic leadership pabulum, Menkes provides a rigorous and clear-eyed look at the world stage facing CEOs and the critical judgments required for their companies to survive and thrive.”
--Noel Tichy, Professor and Director Global Citizenship Initiative at the Ross School University of Michigan, and co-author (with Warren Bennis) of Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls
Justin Menkes captures the essence of leadership in today’s tough environment: getting the best out of your people. In this thoughtfully written book, he shows aspiring leaders how to successfully engage and inspire their people, both through their own actions, and through their ability to thrive under pressure.”
--Irene Rosenfeld, CEO, Kraft
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
But as instructive it is to learn why some leaders succeed, it's certainly just as instructive (and more fun) to read why - and how - others fail. The author's unique position within the world-class executive search firm Spencer Stuart gives him access to hundreds of confidential assessments of leaders who have been considered for the top positions in the world's most prestigious Fortune 500 companies. Without disclosing names (though it's sure fun to try and guess who they are!), Justin Menkes takes us step by step through a series of spectacular leadership blunders. He then explains why these leaders buckled at moments in which other CEOs would have shone.
This isn't a simple "how to" book, and I urge readers not to approach it this way. Instead, consider "Better Under Pressure" a thoughtful manual of excellence that teaches us to recognize how we confront and handle the stress that naturally accompanies leadership in the 21st century. Justin Menkes then gives the tools, exercises, and encouragement to help leaders (and their organizations) achieve the same results as the successful CEOs interviewed for this book.
This book responds to an especially important question: "How to realize your own potential while helping others to do so?" Moreover, helping others to do so is central to fulfill one's one potential. "My research has shown that the best leaders work [begin italics] with [end italics] the people they lead to seek their mutual maximum potential together: they co-create their success." After briskly identifying the "what," Menkes focuses most of his attention to explaining "how" and, when appropriate, "why." His vast and rigorous research suggests that there are three traits, each of which serves as a catalyst for the development process: realistic optimism, subservience to purpose, and finding order in chaos.Read more ›
It is a serious work to be preferably read through in one go and then revisited selectively from time to time. It is not the typical "How to ..." leadership guide with the HBR references but more a work to be dipped into for some deep and private introspection. The interview passages with the CEOs and their analysis interpersed throughout are very revealing as so are some of the executive case situations discussed in the book.
What you can take from most of the chapters could depend a lot on how you would like to think through on the concepts presented which could be a function of your present work situation and profile. The book also has a small number of "timed exercises" built in for further "reflection" but it is not for the faint hearted.
Some of the references presented in chapters 3, 5 and 6 are first rate and are definitely worth exploring for more depth and clarity. Going through the "marshmallow studies" (in chapter 5) which originated from Stanford University Professor Walter Mischel's seminal work on "delay in gratification in four-year-olds" and thanks to the reference(s) was in itself a "moment of truth" for me. Though the chapters do have a strong psychological bent there are some tremendous learnings and insights to be gained.
All in all an excellent read and a worthwhile investment!
* Leaders' ability to realize their maximum potential and the potential of their workforce is the most profound way that they can differentiate themselves.
* Leadership means realizing potential - in yourself and in the people you lead.
* That no person has a fixed identity.
* The first key in realizing your people's potential is to bring to the forefront the threats and uncertainties from the external environment and to make them palpable to your people.
* An awareness of actual circumstances means that you balance what is known and unknown to prepare for multiple plausible events.
* Effective leadership requires an individual to take in both positive and negative messages, recognize their respective merits, and use the data to pursue a strategy that is most likely to yield positive outcomes in the future.
* Impervious optimism blocks an awareness of actual circumstances and is a fatal flaw to anyone trying to lead in a world of ongoing duress.
* High sensitivity refers to heightened radar, a more acute, broader spectrum of awareness of what is actually happening.
* Great leaders must balance: knowing when to intervene in a problem to set things straight - and when to create a context in which the participants can take responsibility.
* Great leaders do not perceive the same boundaries that others do.
* What would my role model do?
Paul B. Thornton---Author of, Leadership -Off the Wall
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Menkes provides pearls of wisdom that every CEO or leader needs to know. As a new CEO, the book was very special to me and came at exactly the right time. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Salvatore Emma Jr
5 stars - really? Yeah.... Justin Menkes focuses his career on executive assessment. Drawing on in-depth interviews with sixty CEOs and also leaders in non-business professions,... Read morePublished on November 12, 2013 by Camerons
Enjoyed this book from beginning to end. Good insights into being dedicated to the mission, assisting others to reach their potential and thrive in a changing environment. Read morePublished on June 23, 2013 by M. G Manders
As Scottish Victorian-era writer Thomas Carlyle once noted, "No pressure, no diamonds." Perhaps this is why some CEOs can thrive under pressure and achieve even more stellar... Read morePublished on July 10, 2012 by Rolf Dobelli
An insightful book although given that the author is a psychologist, the nuanced and subtle portrayals and understanding of human and leadership characteristics would be expected. Read morePublished on July 14, 2011 by JSC Siow
I was going to write a blog entry on how we create our own pressure - like the pressure to do a blog post. In reality it would make no difference if I skipped it. Read morePublished on May 30, 2011 by Jim Estill
The design on the cover gives you a real hint about the benefits you will find in the book. The design shows a few lumps of coal and then one diamond. Read morePublished on May 25, 2011 by John Chancellor