Mastering Leadership Book Summary - Mastering Leadership Book explained in key points
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Mastering Leadership summary

Robert J. Anderson and William A. Adams

An Integrated Framework for Breakthrough Performance and Extraordinary Business Results

4.3 (87 ratings)
18 mins

What is Mastering Leadership about?

Mastering Leadership (2015) explores the link between personal development and great leadership. It reveals the mindset needed to lead effectively, and explores how insights from classical mythology can help managers find their inner heroic leader. 

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    Mastering Leadership
    summarized in 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Leaders are often unaware of what’s expected of them.

    Let’s start by looking at what organizations expect from their leaders. First, they have explicit expectations. For instance, we explicitly expect our leaders to take financial responsibility, to strategize, and to deliver tangible results. These are the things that leaders understand are expected of them. After all, they’re usually written in their job descriptions.

    But along with these explicit expectations are lots of other, unspoken expectations. Subordinates expect fair treatment, for instance, and a high level of engagement from their leaders. They demand good listening skills, and expect their leaders to inspire them. These expectations might be unwritten – but they have a big impact on how effective the leader is perceived to be. 

    The key message here is: Leaders are often unaware of what’s expected of them. 

    Together, all these expectations comprise the promise of leadership. The promise describes key areas in which subordinates believe their leaders have implicitly “promised” to perform well. When leaders “break” their promise, and underperform in these areas, then they are perceived to be inadequate. 

    The first promise that subordinates believe leaders have made to them is to provide both direction and meaningful work. Leaders fulfill this promise by creating a vision and developing strategies for organizational growth. Leaders are expected to create a company’s core values and culture. In doing so, they ultimately create the meaning of the company, and answer a key question: What is our organization’s unique contribution to the market, and to the world?

    The second leadership promise is to engage every stakeholder within the organization. It’s not enough for the company’s direction and meaning to be understood by its leaders; it must be owned and carried forward by everyone else, too. Leaders must find a way to link the values and the mission of the company to the personal contribution of each employee. To achieve this, leaders must draw out each person’s unique talents and passion, and develop a culture in which everyone can thrive and to which all can contribute. All employees go to work with a question: How does my work actually make a difference? They expect their leaders to give them an answer. 

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    About the Author

    Robert J. Anderson is the Founder and Chief Development Officer of The Leadership Circle, a leadership-development organization. He is also the creator of The Leadership Circle Profile, an integrated leadership-assessment tool that has been used by thousands of businesses globally. 

    William A. Adams is the CEO of Full Circle Group North America and CEO of The Leadership Circle. Over the last 35 years, Bill has advised executive teams and CEOs around the world, and has helped Fortune 500 corporations and start-ups tackle their business challenges. 

    Who should read Mastering Leadership?

    • Middle managers aspiring to join the C-suite
    • Leaders looking for fresh insights
    • Business owners seeking a new perspective

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