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Survival Guide for Leaders

Survival Guide for Leaders

Publication Date: June 01, 2002

This article includes a one-page preview that quickly summarizes the key ideas and provides an overview of how the concepts work in practice along with suggestions for further reading.Let’s face it, to lead is to live dangerously. Although leadership is often viewed as an exciting and glamorous endeavor, one in which you inspire others to follow you through good times and bad, such a portrayal ignores leadership’s dark side: the inevitable attempts to take you out of the game. This is particularly true when a leader must steer an organization through difficult change. When the status quo is upset, people feel a sense of profound loss and dashed expectations. They may need to undergo a period of feeling incompetent or disloyal. It’s no wonder they resist the change and often try to eliminate its visible agent. This “survival guide” offers a number of techniques–relatively straightforward in concept but difficult to execute–for protecting yourself as you lead such a change initiative. Adapted from the book Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading (Harvard Business School Press, 2002), the article has two main parts. The first looks outward, offering tactical advice about relating to your organization and the people in it. It is designed to protect you from those who would push you aside before you complete your initiatives. The second looks inward, focusing on your own needs and vulnerabilities. It is designed to keep you from bringing yourself down. The hard truth is that it is not possible to experience the rewards and joys of leadership without experiencing the pain as well. But staying in the game and bearing that pain is worth it, not only for the positive changes you can make in the lives of others but also for the meaning it gives your own.

Pages: 20

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Survival Guide for Leaders

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