Leadership Library Review – Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change

September 2019

Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams (Picador, 2019)

What are the big take-aways?

With candor, insight and flair, Stacey Abrams – the first woman and first person of color to make the general election ballot for governor of Georgia – offers a clever mash-up of memoir and leadership handbook in Lead from the Outside.  Drawing on her dazzling career as an attorney, novelist, entrepreneur, nonprofit guru, as well as her political experience as minority leader of the Georgia House Democrats before narrowly losing her bid for governor in 2018 in a vote-counting controversy, Abrams uses her own life story in service as a mentoring guide for all kinds of leaders to gain traction in systems historically rigged to keep them out. Her primary audiences for this book are women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people and millennials.  Abrams says on pp. 200-201 that the whole point of Lead from the Outside is to:

…ask each of us to think about why we want what we want and to give ourselves permission to figure out how we can continue to grow personally and professionally. I want you to be uncomfortable with the exercises, to dig into your plans, and to question your assumptions about what could be yours.  My mission is to help you imagine or reimagine your future…For all of us, even me, we have to consistently remember that the game is stacked, but if we unlock the cheat codes, we can play to win.

At the same time, she makes clear that the purpose of winning leadership power is to serve everyone with integrity, including those in whose favor the game is stacked.

Why do I like it?

I like the book’s advice on ethical ways to hack into powerful positions, and its consistent focus on authenticity and belonging.  For example, Abrams chronicles how she leaned into her natural gifts and strengths during her rise to power in the Georgia House in order to counter stereotypes about her as a woman of color, even as she realized that this caused people in her African American community to question her “blackness.” She was also keenly aware that her ability to transcend expectations of demonstrably indignant behavior created a bind for her within the double-standards applying to white men, whose similar calm demeanors were seen as “composed and introspective,” whereas she was critiqued as being “cold and aloof” (pp. 43).  Abrams confides on pages 43-44:

More than once, I have found myself wondering if I have overcorrected, moving from one stereotype to another: from Shanaynay to Uncle Tom.  When these doubts arise, my instinct is to quash them and bask in the righteousness of my decisions.  I refused to be a stereotype, to be reduced to the memes of my community.  But to defeat those labels and emerge authentic, we cannot simply ignore the fear of being treated as a single representation. We must examine our actions to ensure that our reactions are genuine and not a fear-driven response.  Fear of being seen as too colored, as too female, as too much of what we are.  The analysis must be internal, exhaustive, and honest.  And in the end, if you think you were right to behave as you did, then own it and move on.

In my opinion, Abrams is at her best in Lead from the Outside when she is in this mode of curating her own life lessons and then converting them into empathetic advice, career-mapping ideas and coaching tools. The whole book is an engaging course in how to effectuate change from outside of traditional power structures, but the most potent chapters – in addition to the inspiring preface – are the ones titled “Fear and Otherness,” “Hacking and Owning Opportunity,” “Money Matters” and “Prepare to Win and Embrace the Fail.”

In what situations would this be useful?

Lead from the Outside offers pragmatic strategies that any motivated person of an under-represented group can employ in order to spot, seize or create leadership opportunities without compromising their values or authenticity.  If you feel caught in the double-binds within double standards in your career and could use some moral support and fresh exercises to help you plan your next steps, this book could be very useful.

What other resources might “pair” well with it?

In alignment with Abrams’s philosophy of leadership, I too believe that sharing authentic narratives is crucial to how women, people of color (perhaps African-Americans in particular, at least in the U.S.) and leaders from other traditionally excluded populations can leverage their life stories in order to amplify their voices and influence.  For a handbook specifically designed to develop authentic leadership, see Bill George et al.’sTrue North Fieldbook (reviewed here in the Leadership Library).

For an exploration of courage in leadership, with a focus on the African-American experience, I recommend the On Being” interview of Congressman John Lewis by Krista Tippett, “Love in Action,” combined with an illuminating piece by Maria Popova in her wonderful Brain Pickings blog, entitled “A Burst of Light: Audre Lorde on Turning Fear into Fire.”   (Stacey Abrams opens her book with one of my all-time favorite quotations about leadership, which is by Audre Lorde: “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”)

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Leadership Library Review — “Research: Women Score Higher Than Men in Most Leadership Skills”

August 2019

“Research: Women Score Higher Than Men in Most Leadership Skills”

by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman in Harvard Business Review (June 25, 2019)

What are the big take-aways?

Citing stark statistics about how women occupy tiny, single-digit percentages – 5% and under – of the CEO positions in top companies worldwide, Zenger and Folkman assert [authors’ hyperlinks]:

For centuries, there have been broad, cultural biases against women and stereotypes die slowly. People have long believed that many women elect not to aspire to the highest ranks of the organization and take themselves out of the running (though recent research disputes that). Lots of research has shown that unconscious bias places a significant role in hiring and promotion decisions, which also contributes to the lower number of women in key positions. […]  Our current data presents even more compelling evidence that this bias is incorrect and unwarranted. Women are perceived by their managers — particularly their male managers — to be slightly more effective than men at every hierarchical level and in virtually every functional area of the organization. That includes the traditional male bastions of IT, operations, and legal.

In this short article, after presenting compelling summaries of their data, the authors advise that men who are making promotion decisions consider their unconscious bias; they should “pause and ask, ‘Are we succumbing to unconscious bias? Are we automatically giving the nod to a man when there’s an equally competent woman?’”

Why do I like it?

I like that Zenger and Folkman not only offer crisp assessments about the nature and origins of discrimination against women leaders, but that they do two others things especially well in their data reporting that comport with my experience as a leadership coach to both men and women.  First, they analyze the granular differences in men’s and women’s evaluated competence in key measurable leadership skills (which generally validate my women clients’ self-reported experience of their competence relative to men colleagues); and, second, they address the association between age and confidence in men and women.  Women start out as less confident than men and then “[a]t age 40, the confidence ratings merge [for men and women]. As people age their confidence generally increases; surprisingly, over the age of 60 we see male confidence decline, while female confidence increases.”  These dynamics appear constantly in my coaching practice, and I regard age – and how my clients perceive age – as a vital factor for my women and men clients to consider when they are grappling with confidence issues.

In what situations would this be useful?

Zenger and Folkman’s information is possibly most useful to men – especially men at the board-of-directors levels and C-suite level – who are unwittingly diminishing their organizations’ potential by not elevating women to top leadership positions.

Of course, Zenger and Folkman’s data is also useful to women.  Across all of my leadership development work (coaching, consulting and training) I frequently encounter women who struggle with finding their voice in a world that is systemically and unconsciously biased against them.  One major reason for the struggle is because – and research backs this up – that women leaders tend to be perceived as either competent or likeable, but not both.  In my experience, the “competent v. likeable” dichotomy is less of a paralyzing double-bind than it is a gendered polarity that can be managed, and polarity management is a capacity we are more able to grow into as we mature.

There is a lot of data about women leaders that goes against stereotypes, and from my experiences as a leader and as a leadership coach, I’ve come to believe that the most effective adaptive approach to navigating the likeable/competent polarity is authenticity.  In my view, in its narrative aspects authenticity is crucial to how women, people of color (perhaps African-Americans in particular, at least in the U.S.) and leaders from other under-represented populations can leverage their life stories in order to amplify their unique leadership voices and transcend obstacles by focusing on the larger arc of their individual life purpose.

What other resources might “pair” well with it?

For more information about unconscious bias, I highly recommend raising your own consciousness by taking Harvard’s “Project Implicit” Implicit Bias Assessment Tests (on race, gender, age and more), if you haven’t already done so.  I encourage you to be gentle with yourself regarding your results, and to use them as motivation to get curious about your biases and find ways to challenge your assumptions.

For more evidence of the effectiveness of women leaders, see Scaling Leadership – the latest book published earlier this year by Bob Anderson and Bill Adams – which includes a passionate section discussing the results of their 360 evaluation data analysis that show how and why women leaders out-perform men leaders.  They write, “The predominance of relationship strengths [in the top leadership competencies] suggests that women are more effective because they lead relationally.  Doing so also requires a high degree of self-awareness and authenticity” (p. 46).  If you’re interested in a contemporary real-life example, in my opinion an epitome of what Anderson and Adams are describing is the leadership of New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, in the wake of the terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques in March of this year.

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Leadership Library Review — Story Mastery: Leading with Inspiration

July 2019

“Story Mastery: Leading with Inspiration” in Leadership from the Inside Out 

by Kevin Cashman (Berrett-Koehler, rev. 2017)

What are the big take-aways?

This leadership handbook has been a favorite of mine since the 2008 edition, and now I am reviewing a new chapter that appears in the latest revision from 2017, entitled “Story Mastery: Leading with Inspiration.”  On page 46, Cashman writes:

While spreadsheets are the language of management information, stories are the language of leadership inspiration [author’s emphasis]. Stories can activate our deepest, best selves; they are certainly one of the most transformative of all leadership tools.  Powerful narratives can bridge the authentic, essential depth of a leader to the complex breadth of strategy, culture, values and purpose.  The best stories are like concentrated, potent mantras that resonate with our shared humanity and enliven our collective aspirations.

I agree with him when he says we under-emphasize effective, genuine, relevant story-telling as a vital leadership development tool.

Why do I like it?

The “Story Mastery” chapter does a nice job of comprehensively yet succinctly addressing the ancient role of story-telling in human history, what elements make a story engaging (think: Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey”), and the brain science of narrative (apparently character-driven stories about overcoming challenges produce oxytocin), all elucidated by two examples of CEO keynotes and why one fell flat whereas the other brought the audience into a state of collective emotional transcendence.  I liked Cashman’s quotation of consultant Annette Simmons: “People do not want information.  They are up to their eyeballs in information.  They want faith – faith in you, your goals, your success, in the story you tell” (p. 47).

In what situations would this be useful?

While this chapter is only an introduction to the power of narrative, it should get the attention of any leader who is not already intentional about telling her authentic story, the organization’s, and where they intersect in ways that will be relatable to different stakeholder groups. In addition to presenting “story mastery dynamics” and a good list of “six practices for inspiring stories,” Cashman describes a free online StoryLine exercise at CashmanLeadership.com that you can use to help to elevate your self-awareness to a greater level of understanding “Where do my strengths and development areas come from? How did I acquire these strengths? Where did I form these values? Why are some challenges particularly difficult for me?” [p. 65, author’s emphasis].

Importantly, “Story Mastery: Leading with Inspiration” also covers the “five shadows of destructive stories” (pp. 68-69), describing how certain kinds of narratives can not only be less effective or enduring than others but actually be harmful and create long-term damage.  These types of stories are those that: diminish, discount or exclude groups of people; prescribe only one way of being, behaving or seeing the world; are designed to make us look good (“[s]tories designed to impress are typically not very impressive” [author’s emphasis]); are emotionally detached and/or inauthentic; and stories that misrepresent, in order to secure gain or avoid pain.

What other resources might “pair” well with it?

You can find the StoryLine exercise here.

A masterful story-teller herself, Brene Brown (who is cited by Cashman a couple of times in the chapter) writes practically and persuasively about the power of narrative. Her most recent book for leaders is Dare to Lead: Daring Greatly and Rising Strong at Work, reviewed here in the Leadership Library.

For another wonderful leadership handbook that emphasizes values, story-telling and purpose, see Bill George et al.’s True North Fieldbook: A Personal Guide to Becoming an Authentic Leader, reviewed here in the Leadership Library.

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Leadership Library Review — Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness

June 2019

Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness

by Rick Hanson, Ph.D. (Harmony, 2018)

What are the big take-aways?

I loved Hanson’s book from 10 years ago, Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom, which discussed brain anatomy and processes in ways that explain why ancient practices of mindfulness (present-moment awareness) and meditation (intentional interior mind-training) actually work to reconfigure the brain. This book, Resilient, is a distillation of the science, habits and attitudes that form the twelve inner strengths of “resilience,” which he defines as the ability to cope with adversity and push through challenges in order to pursue opportunities (p. 2). Resilient draws heavily on neuroscience, and adds more positive psychology and autobiographical real-life examples, to offer strategies to refine the brain rewiring process.

Why do I like it?

Resilient is broken down into four categories of the twelve strengths, which are: Compassion, Mindfulness, Learning, Grit, Gratitude, Confidence, Calm, Motivation, Intimacy, Courage, Aspiration and Generosity. He offers easy-to-memorize methods of repeating certain patterns or habits to build the twelve inner strengths, and at the end of each section there is a beginner exercise in using the strength. If you’re new to any of these strengths as concepts or practices, Hanson makes them all very straightforward and accessible in the exercises. This what I like the most about the book.

In what situations would this be useful?

As a leadership coach, I found that the inner strengths most likely to be of immediate use to my clients at work (while all of the strengths would certainly serve the whole person regardless of context), are the “recognizing” strength of Mindfulness; the “resourcing” strengths of Grit, Gratitude, and Confidence; the “regulating” strength of Calm; and the “relating” strength of Courage. The Malcolm Forbes quotation that opens the essay on Confidence (p. 109) especially spoke to me in terms of what so many of my women and men clients – of all ages and phases of their careers – struggle with at the core of their leadership development process: “Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”

What other resources might “pair” well with it?

Since they are such different books with different emphases, I recommend pairing Resilient with Buddha’s Brain if you’re curious about brain structure and some basic mindfulness strategies for interrupting strong primitive responses to one’s environment, such as anxiety. If you’re new to mindfulness and want a simple place to start, consider experimenting with apps like Headspace, Calm or Breathe. I like the gentle and easy (and free) guided meditations at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, which range from 3 minutes to 19 minutes in length.

My favorite hub for information about resilience and related topics and practices in positive psychology is the Greater Good Science Center out of UC Berkeley, which focuses on the scientific exploration of well-being. The Center has a new set of initiatives designed to support workplace leaders. I recommend signing up for the GGSC’s weekly news magazine, which once featured an interesting article on “The Myths of Mindfulness.”

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Leadership Library Review: “The Roadmap to Nobility”

May 2019

“The Roadmap to Nobility”

TEDx Talk by Cindy Wigglesworth (2014)

What are the big take-aways?

In “The Roadmap to Nobility,” former Exxon human resources director Cindy Wigglesworth tells the story of how – after 20 years in corporate leadership – she started her own company whose mission was discover the describable traits and behaviors of the world’s most admired humans (think: Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Mother Theresa), and then figure out how to measure them.  This project resulted in a definition of “spiritual intelligence,” a complementary form of intelligence to IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence) that is remarkably succinct: “the ability to behave with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the circumstances.” Wigglesworth’s rigorous research and resulting instrument identified the skills, which are laid out in detail in SQ21: The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence (SelectBooks, 2014).

Why do I like it?

I like the SQ21 because it is a practical approach to effective leadership that incorporates mind, body and spirit in ways that are deliberately informed by adult development theories (Kegan’s, Cook-Greuter’s, etc.).  More and more business leaders, researchers and organizational development specialists are acknowledging that the journey to embodying the best leadership – transformational leadership – is a “spiritual boot camp,” to use Bob Anderson and Bills Adams’s turn of phrase in Scaling Leadership (Wiley, 2019).  It is a process self-transformation that, over time, can allow an evolving leader to grow the expansive capacity for complexity required to effectuate cultural transformations.

This process of self-transformation (experienced by many people as the quieting of our internal “ego voice”) happened to Wigglesworth.  While still in her job at Exxon, and during a particularly challenging time in her personal life as well as at work, Wigglesworth undertook some major personal growth efforts.  Eventually she noticed that a huge shift had occurred within herself, and she “was able to lead with more grace than ever before.”  This observation made her extremely curious about the nature and scope of this type of “intelligence” she had apparently cultivated.  She left Exxon, founded Deep Change and began her research.  Wigglesworth found out that when people are asked to list the qualities of the people – often leaders of various kinds – they admire most, and what makes them different, the words that come up the most frequently include: authentic, courageous, visionary, inspiring, humble, loving, selfless and calm/centered.  But how do people become that way?

In what situations would this be useful?

Wigglesworth’s research revealed that there are pathways to this kind of maturity, this kind of ability to listen to the voice of your truest, “highest self.”  Part of it is viewing your own life as a hero’s journey, part of it is recognizing that what you admire about the noble leaders you look up to is likely what you seek for yourself, and the largest part of it is a willingness to do what it takes to nurture your ability to lean into becoming your highest self.  In the TEDx Talk, she suggests beginning with humble curiosity, using self-awareness-building tools and reflection practices like journaling, and asking self-coaching questions such as, “What is the noblest thing to do in this situation?”

What other resources might “pair” well with it?

For a much more detailed explanation of the “spiritual intelligence” research, the interplay between SQ and EQ, a step-by-step analysis of the SQ21, and how to cultivate those skills in yourself, I highly recommend Wigglesworth’s well-written and fascinating book.  For more about adult development theory (also known as vertical development, ego development or consciousness development) and the “developmental gap” in business leadership as described in Anderson and Adam’s Scaling Leadership, see this white paper by Anderson.  It draws heavily on the work of Robert Kegan; my favorite book of his, with Lisa Laskow Lahey, is Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in You and Your Organization (Harvard Business Press, 2009).

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Leadership Library Review — Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps: How to Thrive in Complexity

April 2019

Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps: How to Thrive in Complexity by Jennifer Garvey Berger (Stanford, 2019)

What are the big take-aways?

This is a deceptively slim volume that offers powerful tools.  Jennifer Garvey Berger – one of my favorite thought leaders at the intersections of adult development theory, leadership and organizational effectiveness – has published a clever new book about how five “quirks” in our thinking become traps when we’re navigating complexity.  The five quirks each get a chapter of their own:

  • Trapped by Simple Stories: Your Desire for a Simple Story Blinds You to a Real One
  • Trapped by Rightness: Just Because It FeelsRight Doesn’t Mean It IsRight
  • Trapped by Agreement: Longing for Alignment Robs You of Good Ideas
  • Trapped by Control: Trying to Take Charge Strips You of Influence
  • Trapped by Ego: Shackled to Who You Are Now, You Can’t Reach for Who You’ll Be Next

While they are all sharp and insightful chapters with very accessible and actionable “keys to unlock” each mindtrap, the chapter that personally affected me the most was the final one on how to “build a ladder” of habits to escape the mindtraps.

Why do I like it?

As in Berger’s last book (with Keith Johnston), Simple Habits for Complex Times, there is a well-scripted fictional story that follows a few main characters through the chapters to illustrate the five mindtraps. The story is extremely helpful to understanding the traps, how to recognize them in your own day-to-day conversations at work and at home, and what it looks like to get past them. Also, in the chapters’ main discussions of the mindtraps, Berger offers “key” questions and habits for unlocking yourself.  E.g., the key questions when you’re trapped by rightness are two of what Berger refers to as the “most transformative” in her entire career-long collection of questions: What do I believe? and How could I be wrong? (pp. 52-54).

As I mentioned above, I also really like the chapter on how to build a ladder up and out of the mindtraps.  It starts with a handy chart summarizing the mindtraps and the key questions and habits, then goes on to describe the four rungs of the ladder: connecting to purpose, connecting to your body, connecting to your emotions, and connecting to compassion for yourself and others.  All of them, in my view, are simple and practical forms of mindfulness that any leader – any person– would benefit from adopting.

In what situations would this be useful?

I’m not surprised that the first rung of the ladder you can build to escape the mindtraps is connecting to purpose.  Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps would be useful to all leaders for whom any of the above-listed mindtraps resonate, but it might be especially useful for leaders who feel confused about or distant from their guiding purpose.  Berger cites research showing that having a greater purpose in life actually lowers one’s mortality, and that it’s not achieving your purpose but pursuing it that matters most.  A purpose is different from a goal, and is not about the traps of fame or ego; as Berger writes on page 118, “’Make partner by thirty-one’ is a goal. ‘Create artistic experiences that elevate people from their daily existence and bring them to more joy and compassion’ is a purpose.”  She goes on to share a helpful case example that parses these distinctions, and to offer a simple practice to help you identify the seeds of your own purpose. This isn’t to say that the other rungs of the ladder – i.e. the other connections – aren’t incredibly important and useful, but I share Berger’s instinct to start with purpose, perhaps as the foundational one.

What other resources might “pair” well with it?

While it focuses primarily on the mindtrap of “simple stories,” there is a wonderful interview of Jennifer Garvey Berger about this book and the mindtraps on Amiel Handelsman’s podcast, The Amiel Show.

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Leadership Library Review — Scaling Leadership: Building Organizational Capability and Capacity to Create Outcomes that Matter Most

March 2019

Scaling Leadership: Building Organizational Capability and Capacity to Create Outcomes that Matter Most

by Robert J. Anderson and William A. Adams (Wiley, 2019)

What are the big take-aways?

Anderson (creator of the Leadership Circle Profile™ or LCP) and Adams argue that transformational organizational growth – the ability to be agile, thrive and continually reinvent – in any industry these days requires transforming ourselves by scaling our leadership.  “Leadership,” they write, “is scaling the capacity and capability of others and the organization to create outcomes that matter most” (p. 23).  The authors posit that a majority of leaders are in over their heads, limited by a developmental mismatch between the leaders’ individual capacities for complexity and the complexity of their job roles.  In an increasingly disruptive, chaotic and VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world, Anderson and Adams declare “[i]t is a business imperative today that we transcend our current level of leadership” (p. 8; authors’ emphasis).  But how?

Why do I like it?

I like that the book so forcefully and yet compassionately takes on the ambitious task of describing exactly how Anderson and Adams recommend we transcend our current level of leadership.  (In addition to the the persuasive data, there is a meaty chapter devoted to “Practices that Transform Leadership.”)  Also, I share the authors’ overall approach to comprehending the self-development required for effective leadership as a spiritual journey – a “spiritual boot camp,” or “crucible.”  Based on their research into their extensive database of senior leaders providing 360-degree written feedback to other senior leaders, Anderson and Adams uncover six necessary “conditions” for scaling leadership.  They are: Creative Leadership (versus Reactive, in the LCP); Deep Relationship; Radically Human (a type of learning-oriented vulnerability represented in the Leadership Circle Profile by the competencies of Self-Awareness and Authenticity); Systems Awareness; Purposeful Achievement; and Generative Tension.

I imagine that most of the authors’ information regarding the six conditions – at least to those of us who study leadership – is unsurprising.  What intrigued me was what surprised them!  Anderson and Adams expected more of a focus on Achieving Results (an LCP competency), but when they looked at the written data, the results were “skewed toward relationship, suggesting that effective leadership is about leading people.  When you combine these people strengths with the other High-Creative endorsed strengths of passion, vision, authenticity, and a calm approachable presence, you have a recipe for creating the conditions for scaling leadership” (p. 45; authors’ emphases).

In what situations would this be useful?

For anyone who has read Mastering Leadership and/or engaged in the LCP 360 process, Scaling Leadership takes the model to a provocative, inspiring, higher level with its stunning meta-analysis.  That said, you don’t need to be familiar with these other resources in order to use the powerful information in this book.

Perhaps Scaling Leadership would be especially useful and encouraging to women leaders.  As a leadership development professional who coaches a lot of women leaders, I was gratified that Anderson and Adams highlighted the fact that despite being proportionally fewer, the women in their study were rated as more effective (by 15 to 20 percentile points more Creative and less Reactive) than the men (p. 45).  After another way of slicing their data, the authors concluded, “women are more effective because they lead more relationally. Doing so requires a high degree of self-awareness and authenticity” (p. 46; authors’ emphasis).  Notably, these findings bolster Zenger & Folkman’s landmark research summarized in this Business Insider article, “Why Women Leaders Are More Effective Leaders Than Men.”  I agree with Anderson and Adams that the primary reason more women aren’t in more senior roles “is because of systemic bias created and maintained by a male-dominated power structure” (48).

What other resources might “pair” well with it?

For more about adult development theory (also known as vertical development, ego development or consciousness development) and the “developmental gap” as described in Scaling Leadership, see this white paper by Bob Anderson.  To go directly to Robert Kegan’s work, my favorite book of his is Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization (Harvard, 2009) which he co-authored with Lisa Laskow Lahey.  My current go-to leadership book on what a developmentally conscious organization looks like and runs like in practical terms – especially in the nonprofit sector – is Simple Habits for Complex Times: Powerful Practices for Leaders by Jennifer Garvey Berger and Keith Johnstone.

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