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

Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life

4 (65 ratings)
11 mins

Brief summary

"Redesigning Leadership" by John Maeda is a guide to transforming leaders from authoritative figures to empathetic, collaborative ones. It provides insights on the importance of design thinking and inclusivity in modern leadership.

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    Redesigning Leadership
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    Creative and successful leaders manage by being mobile.

    How often do you see the head of your department walking around the workplace? Rare occurrence? Department heads usually stay in their offices unless they have to come out to lead meetings.

    That means they don’t connect with their employees very much – they just keep in touch through periodic meetings and reports. But you’ll never truly understand your business and how it can be improved until you form strong connections with the people you work with. You need to get out of your office and interact with the people under you. In other words, you need to manage by walking around.

    The author did this when he first got his post as the president of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). He wanted to know everything about the school, so he left the office and got to know the people in the departments around him. He brought them food and even helped the new students carry their luggage when they moved in, among other things.

    This style of personal management doesn’t mean taking over other people’s jobs, however. If you get too invested in working right alongside your employees, you might end up accidentally taking someone’s work from them, or making all the important decisions yourself, so your team members have nothing to do but the menial tasks. That will make them feel useless, as they won’t be contributing much to the team. Leaders need to lead, after all!

    A manager has to find the balance between working with their employees and giving them their space.

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    What is Redesigning Leadership about?

    Redesigning Leadership (2011) takes the jargon out of management and replaces it with a human touch. Being a great leader means taking to the shop (or office) floor, making contact with your employees and – most importantly – keeping their focus and respect. The author offers simple ways to be a manager who retains their principles – and heart.

    Redesigning Leadership Review

    Redesigning Leadership (2011) by John Maeda is a must-read for anyone looking to transform their leadership style and adapt to the challenges of the digital age. Here's why this book is worth your time:

    • Packed with practical insights and strategies, it equips leaders with the tools to navigate the complexities of modern organizations.
    • With its emphasis on empathy and collaboration, the book offers a fresh perspective on leadership, challenging traditional notions and encouraging innovation.
    • Through compelling case studies and real-life examples, it demonstrates how successful leaders can embrace technology, design, and creativity to drive organizational change.

    Best quote from Redesigning Leadership

    Respect is constantly earned, and shouldnt be assumed because of your position.

    —John Maeda
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    Who should read Redesigning Leadership?

    • Leaders at any level of a company
    • Anyone who wants to learn how to lead in the modern world
    • Managers who want to connect better with their employees

    About the Author

    John Maeda is an author, computer scientist, graphic designer and the former president of the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1999, Esquire named him one of the 21 Most Important People of the Twenty-First Century.

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    Redesigning Leadership FAQs 

    What is the main message of Redesigning Leadership?

    The main message of Redesigning Leadership is that leadership needs to evolve to be more inclusive and design-oriented.

    How long does it take to read Redesigning Leadership?

    The reading time for Redesigning Leadership varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Redesigning Leadership a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Redesigning Leadership is worth reading as it provides valuable insights on transforming leadership for the modern world.

    Who is the author of Redesigning Leadership?

    Redesigning Leadership is written by John Maeda.

    What to read after Redesigning Leadership?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Redesigning Leadership, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Moore’s Law by Arnold Thackray
    • Third Millennium Thinking by Saul Perlmutter
    • Leadership by Henry Kissinger
    • Good Energy by Casey Means
    • Untangling You by Kerry Howells
    • Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff
    • Raising Mentally Strong Kids by Amen MD Daniel G. & Charles Fay