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Leading the Unleadable: How to Manage Mavericks, Cynics, Divas, and Other Difficult People Paperback – November 29, 2016
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"It’s a logical organizational design and learning approach, supported by a few realistic case studies and some very practical advice...Positive, and enough for new and seasoned managers to use as a guide to the divas around us." --Booklist
"His system will give leaders at all levels the skills and confidence to give a group the freedom they need to be creative and productive without letting them wreak havoc with the team’s agenda." --Retailing Insight
"[Willett] urges you to appreciate the diversity of every leaf…mavericks, cynics and divas aren’t out to sink you; they just see another path to improving the organization." –Globe and Mail
“…makes a compelling argument to set the bar higher and accept the call to exceptional leadership….provides useful practical guidance and is an important addition to the reference collection of project managers seeking to achieve their full leadership potential.” —PM World Journal
“…how to become an exceptional leader who can manage any¬one in any situation…an easy-to-read book on a complex subject.” —BizEd
“Presents a framework, approach, and recommendations for transforming the troublesome to the tremendous.” – PM World Journal
“...wonderful resource for all leaders, because it discusses strategies for improving leadership at all levels with a thorough discussion of leadership challenges and strategies for improvement.”— Technical Communications
Is that one guy dragging you all down?
The control-freak, the narcissist, the slacker, the cynic... Difficult people are the worst part of a manager’s job.
Whether it comes from direct reports or people above, outbursts, irrational demands, griping, and other disruptions need to be dealt with—and it’s your responsibility to do it. Leading the Unleadable turns this dreaded chore into a straight forward process that gently, yet effectively, improves behaviors. Written by an insider in the tech industry, where personality issues routinely wreck projects, the book reveals a core truth: most people actually want to contribute results, not cause headaches.
Once you realize the potential for change, the book’s simple steps, examples, and scripts explain how to right even the most hopeless situations. You’ll learn how to:
• Master the necessary mindset
• Explain the problem calmly in a short feedback session
• Get a commitment to change, and follow up
• Coach others to replicate the process
• Develop the situational awareness required to spot trouble even earlier in the future
Every manager has “problem people.” What sets great managers apart is how they turn them into productive team players. Prepare to transform the troublesome into the tremendous.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Honestly, I approached this book with a bit of trepidation. I wasn’t even sure what this was going to be about, never mind why I should need but. But being the inquisitive person that I am I decided to give it a read. It was the subtitle How to Manage Mavericks, Cynics, Divas, and other Difficult People that got to me. Yes, I had managed a bunch of cynics and divas and I had managed my share of difficult people so I read the book. And now that I’ve read it I can say is that anyone who has ever managed anyone needs to read this book.
From talking about how to handle the expert that everyone hates; to the slacker, the person who just not seem to be giving a hundred percent to the ever-popular cynic, you know that guy he is in the one sitting in the corner of the room arms tightly folded, eyes rolling out of his head as you try to pump your team up for the next great challenge.
Author Willet takes you on a systematic journey describing how to deal with all types of difficult people.
He gives us real life examples of how to deal with the person who is having troubles at home and bringing them to work. He shows the reader how to get to the bottom of any situation by patiently talking to the person. He even gives explicit instructions on how to hold a conversation with that person.
I really like the chapter where he talked about motivating your people by creating gripping challenges that will make them feel like they are doing something extremely important. The reason I like this is because it’s true to life. We are all doing something important at work it’s just something that point gets lost in the mundane of daily work.
Finally, there is the art of listening. One of the common themes throughout the book is knowing how to listening something that we all need to do and do better.
Look, if you are a leader, a manager, a CEO, or a President you need this book. Don’t let another day go by before reading it.
Willett brings a view of leadership that inspires leaders to be undaunted and team members to find hope.
He draws on a rich background of lived experience to show how his approaches have worked in real situations. His advice is specific, pointed and practical, but what really struck me was the way that advice is all interwoven into a broader context that I find inspirational.
He communicates a view of leadership as an extension of personal empowerment. In his world, to be a real leader is to reach deep past your own hesitations and doubts to focus on being truly of service to your team. You are never a victim, but a problem solver.
Your team is not left to struggle in a leadership vacuum, and challenging employees are given the tools and guidance to help them understand their effects on others and how to make the choice to adjust their approach to better serve not just the team's goals, but their own personal values. These are the kinds of changes that are more likely to be meaningful and durable, and which can bring tremendous value to both the individual and the organization.
It also comes across as pretty rewarding for the leader, both in how they are perceived and how they feel about their own work.
I have to admit that this is not the kind of book that is typically that attracts my attention, and that I intended to use it simply to kill some time on an international flight. But I got drawn into the stories that were used to illustrate the key concepts – to the point where I put the book down between chapters to reflect on how Alan’s experience aligned with my own (or not). This was facilitated by the “Reflection Points” at the end of each chapter. By taking the time to think through the answers to those questions, I avoided the need to buy yet another book for the return flight!
This is the kind of book that I wish I had read before initially stepping into my first leadership position. It would have armed me with insights that would have prepared me better for the unforeseen, but inevitable challenges to come. I would recommend it for anyone in, or thinking about entering, a leadership role. It’s a good read that I expect will be even better the second time around.