The Human WayAfter many years of study, reflection, and practical experience as a manager, Kelly Odell identified 10 essential elements of successful leadership. These factors transcend varying organizational cultures and differences in individual personalities. In The Human Way, Odell presents his 10 commandments to transform managers into leaders. They present a values-based approach to leadership that is independent of specific activities, behaviors, and skills. Successful leaders are not perfect and do not always make the right decisions; rather, they understand and accept their own humanity, which allows them to achieve success.

There are 10 critical elements to successful leadership. Leaders should:

1. Be humble. To lead is also to serve.

2. Dare to delegate. A manager’s job is to lead, not have all the answers.

3. Maintain their freedom. A leader should always be able to afford to tell his or her employer to get lost.

4. Take risks. Losing a job is not the worst thing that can happen to a leader. In some cases, it may be the best thing.

5. Deliver actual results. Leaders should not worry about office politics. In the long run, results are what counts.

6. Be inspired and inspire others. Leaders need to be passionate about their jobs and evoke that same passion in others.

7. Base decisions on facts. Intuition is better than no information, but facts are best.

8. Say what they think. Leaders should create a workplace culture that encourages open communication.

9. Support their staff. Employees work for a manager of their own free will.

10. Go from manager to leader. Organizations appoint managers; employees decide whether their managers are also their leaders.

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41HMT8msViL._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_In Economics for Business, Ivan K. Cohen argues that in order to develop effective business strategies for their companies, leaders must first gain a fundamental understanding of the complex global economy in which they operate. With such knowledge it becomes possible to make better pricing, branding, and investment decisions. To that end, Economics for Business provides a comprehensive guide to the myriad forces, institutions, and concepts of micro- and macroeconomics.

To make successful business decisions, leaders must understand the essential principles of the economic environment, including:

  • Microeconomics: The study of independent economic entities like a company, industry, or market.
  • Macroeconomics: The study of the economy as a whole.
  • Supply: The quantity of a product that a supplier is willing to sell at a given price.
  • Demand: The lifeblood of any business; the consumer desire and ability to make purchases.
  • Forecasting: A strategy leaders use, informed by historic and market data, to estimate future conditions, such as demand for specific products.
  • Globalization: An economic phenomenon in which national economic systems grow more interconnected through international trade and investment.

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9780749475550Social media has changed the way people write, read, and understand English. The ability to manipulate business English has never been more important than in today’s globally interconnected world. In the second edition of How to Write…Effective Business English, Fiona Talbot employs her four-step Word Power Skills system to help readers write successful business English that conveys passion, not “management speak.” Talbot’s handy guide will help writers impress their audiences, sell products and services, and create brand reputation across a wide range of platforms.

The author believes that:

  • Written English is the primary form of communication in business today.
  • Social media messaging has transformed business writing.
  • Successful business writing uses simple, accessible language.
  • Writers should compose their messages to elicit a response.
  • An effective writer employs a style that conveys personal brand along with company values.
  • Knowing the target audience makes it easier for companies to customize content.

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The Politics of PromotionMastering politics is essential for advancement in the workplace, particularly at the management or executive level. In The Politics of Promotion, executive coach Bonnie Marcus explains that talent and hard work are not enough; to get promoted the way men do, women must learn the unwritten rules of the game, gather insider information, manage their images, and build influence with key stakeholders and decision makers. By acknowledging and understanding the need for politics and using Marcus’ Political Toolkit, women can effectively navigate their organizations’ political landscapes to rapidly move ahead.

The author believes that:

  • Many women mistakenly believe that hard work and talent will eventually lead to promotion, and they ignore the importance of workplace politics. Their failure to establish and manage strategic professional relationships often leads to them being passed over for promotions or even asked to step down.
  • High-achieving women face obstacles their male counterparts do not, including subtle gender bias and self-limiting attitudes and behaviors. Factors that keep women from getting ahead include lack of confidence, fear of being seen as unlikable or aggressive, failure to delegate, having a negative view of office politics, and being excluded from informal networks.
  • Career advancement requires political savvy. By demonstrating their value proposition, understanding workplace culture and dynamics, forming strategic alliances, seeking mentorship and sponsorship, and committing to executive coaching, women can remove roadblocks and achieve their career goals.
  • To get ahead and stay ahead, women must master Marcus’ Political Toolkit. This toolkit contains five metaphorical tools–the Mirror, Magnifying Glass, Pass Go and Collect $200 Card, Get Out of Jail Free Card, and GPS–that can help women put abstract political concepts into practice.
  • Continued career advancement demands dedication, ongoing self-evaluation, and being aware of ever-changing workplace dynamics. Highly developed political skills become even more critical at the senior level. Women must continue to use the tools that got them to the top to stay on top, but with a slightly different focus.

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You Said WhatAs Kim Zoller and Kerry Preston explain in You Said What?!, effective communication is vital in the workplace. Building relationships with others means making them feel valued, respected, and, above all, heard. But even the most well-intentioned professionals make common communication blunders. Because professional communication skills are not intuitive, they must be learned and perfected over time.

The author believes that:

  • People are always communicating whether they know it or not, but few people know how to communicate effectively.
  • Communication is not only about the words people speak; it is about the actions people take and how they are understood by others.
  • Everyone has different communication styles and preferences, but in business it is vital to communicate with and be understood by a diverse range of personality types.
  • In today’s business environment, individuals must communicate over a wide range of mediums, including through social media, over email, and in face-to-face meetings.

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9780749471354In People Risk Management, Keith Blacker and Patrick McConnell provide insight and practical suggestions about how to manage people-related risks at large commercial firms. Due to their size and complexity, large companies are more prone to disastrous outcomes, such as those experienced by BP, Enron, and Lehman Brothers. The authors offer practical tools, real-world examples, and best-practice guidance about how to implement effective people risk management across an organization and thereby improve decision-making processes.

From bad business decisions to illegal activity, people risk — the risk that people will deviate from an organization’s rules and procedures in a way that damages profits and reputations — presents a growing threat to increasingly complex and global businesses. Leaders should be aware of the following aspects of people risk:

  • Individuals and groups make bad decisions when they fail to consider all of the facts. A bad decision can benefit a firm, and a good decision can be morally dubious.
  • Rather than using rational analyses to make decisions, people are subject to cognitive biases or blind spots, such as overconfidence or groupthink.
  • A company’s culture has a significant effect on people risk management. The culture is influenced from the top down.
  • A company can use a decision checklist as well as pre- and post-mortems to help improve decision-making throughout the organization.
  • Organizations should create personalized codes of conduct to help individuals take personal responsibility and improve decision-making processes.

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The Serving LeaderThe Serving Leader by Kenneth R. Jennings and John Stahl-Wert showcases the powerful yet paradoxical method of achieving greatness by serving others. They intertwine tales of an estranged son and his dying father within the lessons to provide insight into the five actions anyone can take to transform his or her organization or community. Serving Leadership has power and value in many different types of environments, including industries, nonprofits, schools, homes, and churches. The best Serving Leaders turn everything the world knows about traditional leadership upside down and achieve amazing results by doing so.

Serving Leaders must follow five specific and powerful actions if they want to totally transform their businesses, communities, or teams. While these five actions seem paradoxical, they have been proven to yield extraordinary outcomes:

  1. Run to great purpose. Every person, team, organization, or community needs a purpose to help fuel their work. Serving Leaders are people in pursuit of a great purpose. They articulate this purpose in a way that is so compelling that people are willing to run toward it. The leaders set the pace, and this spirit gets transferred to the people they serve.
  2. Upend the pyramid. In a traditional leadership environment, the leader is at the top of the pyramid looking down on all his or her workers, team members, and community citizens. But in a Serving Leadership environment, the pyramid is flipped upside down. In this scenario, the leaders put other people first. They give credit to others before themselves. In doing this, the people they build up will do the same for those they work with. The cycle continues.
  3. Raise the bar. While on the surface Serving Leadership seems soft, it is the opposite. In Serving Leadership environments, standards are very high. No one can join the team unless they meet very rigid criteria. Once they are there, high expectations for performance are placed on them. Mistakes may happen and can be forgiven, but training and corrections are immediately put into place. Those who cannot perform even after extensive coaching are let go.
  4. Blaze the trail. There are often very tough barriers for people to get through on the road to success. Serving Leaders move those barriers and eliminate obstacles to make success easier for those they are leading.
  5. Build on strength. While it may be common for people to think they need to work on their weaknesses, in a Serving Leadership environment, people focus on their strengths. They know their weaknesses but instead of trying to fix them, they find other people who are strong in that area and bring them onto the team.

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