The one sentence summary
You can lead teams of equals with intelligence and diplomacy.
WHAT THE BOOK SAYS
- To master leading smart people effectively, you need to look to yourself (leading me), the team, and the organisation. It only works when you combine all three components: me, team, and organisation.
- Leading me involves being assertive, authentic and resilient, radiating energy, building trust, developing you for the future, having emotional intelligence, and listening well. You also need to be able to overcome the imposter syndrome (Any time now they’ll discover I’m not up to the job), and juggling the roles of leading, producing and managing.
- Leading the team involves choosing when to step up and lead, coaching, decision-making, delegating, and providing empowerment and motivation. There is also a need to have necessary conversations, resolve conflict, set clear objectives, and ensure healthy team dynamics.
- Leading the organisation involves developing the business, dealing with change, promoting diversity and inclusiveness, leading your boss as well as your equals, mentoring, networking, and managing stakeholders – not to mention strategy and vision. There’s a lot to do.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- There are many sharp, fast recommendations of what to do, including:
- Try fogging responses: that means listening carefully and acknowledging true elements, but not feeling pressured at that moment to do anything specific.
- Learn and practice saying no. Listen and don’t take notes – just focus.
- Accept that you cannot control the behaviour of others, but do call out mischievous behaviour.
- Change your verbs: ‘I want’, ‘I need’, ‘I feel’ are stronger than ‘could’ or ‘should’.
- Make reflection a routine. Get rid of distractions. Be comfortable with silence. Check your mind talk. Become conscious of what you are saying to yourself. Clarify what you want.
- Recognise that you are probably dealing with dilemmas.
- Sometimes consider not making a decision.
- Feed forward as well as feedback: that means offering timely suggestions to help people improve, and of course tell them how they are doing. When providing feedback, be specific and balanced, and don’t overdo it.
- Build psychological safety – make it safe for people to challenge and be challenged.
- Make sure that everyone knows that whatever you are doing, you are doing it for the good of the whole firm, not for self-aggrandisement, or to build your own reputation.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- Not much. This is a pithy handbook with a lot of good advice.