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Real Leadership: Helping People and Organizations Face Their Toughest Challenges Annotated Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1576753439
ISBN-10: 1576753433
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Real Leadership: Helping People and Organizations Face Their Toughest Challenges
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Editorial Reviews

Review

A well-developed set of theories and best practices, reinforced through excellent examples and cases, that strengthens leaders at all levels. -- Marshall Carter, Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange

A wise and capacious book on the real challenges of leadership. Williams writes with a rare and unique global perspective. -- Warren Bennis, University Professor, University of Southern California, and author of On Becoming a Leader and coauthor of Geeks and Geezers

I welcome the broad and refreshing approach Dean Williams adopts in The Responsible Leader, which should help foster new leadership. -- Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Leaders of any organization, whether CEOs, directors or ministers, can benefit from studying the principles Williams has distilled. -- Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore

About the Author

Dean Williams leads the World Leaders Interview Project, chairs the Global Change Agent program, and teaches at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He is also the director of the Social Leadership Singapore program and served for six years as the chief adviser to the president of Madagascar.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Annotated edition (October 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576753433
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576753439
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Dr.Williams gets it right. This book gets favorable reviews from people like Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland- and I can see why. I'm on Organizational Behavior student who has read many a leadership book. This one stands out from the rest. This book instills a rare grace and brings humanity back into being a leader. A Real Leader is not just someone who is good at bossing people around. Great read, and I believe will become part of University curriculums.
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Format: Hardcover
This book debunks popular leadership notions of the strong visionary charismatic individual who stands head and shoulders above others leading his followers to victory.

Dean William's premise is that at the end of the day a group of people themselves need to confront their reality and themselves contend with conflicting demands on their ingrained values, habits and practices. This is easier said than done of course. The role of someone exercising true leadership is to help the group analyze it's challenges (and it shows how to do so) and help them come to terms with attitudinal shifts they may have to make to respond to these challenges. It provides an excellent framework to analyze context specific leadership challenges as well as the tussle between a groups feeling, the barriers to progress in exercising leadership and potential rewards should progress be achieved.

It goes to the core of the leadership matter and explores issues with examples across the private enterprise, politics, non profits and the public sector. The book is replete with colorful anecdotes, topical and historical examples and news items which help to intuitively clarify the context and challenges of leadership. In order to illustrate concepts Williams examines characters and contexts from popular movies that many of us may have seen (Gandhi, Lawrence of Arabia, the Fog of War, The Last Samurai etc) through the prism of his framework. For me this helped to do away with much of the jargon one sees these days in the academic literature on leadership.

`Real Leadership' does not stop at just analysis and interpretation. It also provides valuable practical tools and strategies for one to actually do something about it.

Overall an excellent read and decidedly a book worth buying.
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Format: Hardcover
Needless to say, there are a multitude of leadership books out there. However, "Real Leadership" was unique. I found it readable and full of interesting examples about leadership on both the governmental and individual level. Williams has had fascinating experiences as a consultant in various countries, and I appreciated the insights shared.

If you're like me and fascinated by human behavior and leadership, then I recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
One is intrigued early on to read Harvard University's Dean Williams categorize much of what passes today for "leadership" as a "preoccupation with dominance," and not authentic, transformative, long-lasting influence. The book just gets better from there.

Offering a refreshing global perspective derived largely from personal experience, the globe-trotting Williams proposes that the proper function and purpose of leadership is to be wisely adaptive (flexible) to the difficult realities of a given organization's most pressing challenges -- the primary threats or opportunities that must be confronted in order to progress. Adaptive Leadership styles contemplate and correspond to Activist, Development, Transition, Maintenance, Creative, and Crisis modes.

Highly readable and highly useable (typical of Berrett-Koehler publications) material for those charged with leading organizations... which may simply include one's own family.

Coke Newell, MSPR, consultant and author, "Journey to Edaphica"
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Format: Hardcover
Dean William's remarkable book tackles a subject almost completely ignored by most management courses and books on leadership. Context matters when deciding what are the most appropriate responses leaders can have to different situations. His insight about the five different leadership challenges--from crisis to development--creates a taxonomy that is not only useful, but also provides the reader (an aspiring leader) with practical diagnostic and interventional tools. His examples and case studies support his thesis that these different challenges are not dependent upon culture, but on three universal dimensions: The condition of the people, the barrier to overcome, and the promise on the other side. Not only do I use these insights in my own work, I have successfully integrated it leadership development courses on several continents.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book offers some deep questions into what leadership is and then offers guiding principles to help the person to go from being a leader to a great leader. I appreciate the many historical examples and real life scenerios to help the individual see the challenges in his/her leadership and how to change them.
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