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Leadership without the BS
Leadership without the BS
Management books and commentaries often oversimplify, seldom providing useful guidance about the skills and behavior needed to get things done. Here’s a better reading list for leaders.
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Getting beyond the BS of leadership literature
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How Abraham Lincoln's "Hot Letters" Can Keep You From Going All Alice Hoffman
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The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts: Doris Kearns Goodwin
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Leadership in context | McKinsey
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9 INSIGHTs ON: Leadership6Abraham Lincoln3Morality2
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The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts: Doris Kearns Goodwin
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Never forget the customer

Lincoln used to have ordinary people come into his office in the morning and just talk to him about what they wanted. And he’d listen to their family discussions. And after a while, his secretaries said to him,“Mr. President, you don’t have time for these ordinary people.” He said, “You’re wrong. I must never forget the popular assemblage from which I have come.” 

So Teddy Roosevelt took whistle stop tours on a train six weeks in the spring and in the fall, and he went to places where he’d been defeated as well as places where he had won.

2 months, 1 week ago
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How Abraham Lincoln's "Hot Letters" Can Keep You From Going All Alice Hoffman
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Lincoln's Hot Letters

“When [Lincoln] was upset with somebody, he would write what he called a ‘hot letter,’ where he would write it all down. He would put it aside until his emotions cooled down and then write ‘never sent, never signed."

This restrain became a staple of all great politicians, Obama being known for practicing the method. 

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Leadership in context | McKinsey
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Leadership Staircase

Is a pyramid of behavior analogous to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, based on a leadership study by McKinsey.  

In our hierarchy, some kinds of behavior are always essential. As organizational health improves, quartile to quartile, additional behaviors become apparent. 

2 months, 1 week ago
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Getting beyond the BS of leadership literature
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“If you want to be liked, get a dog.”

- Gary Loveman on the relaity of being a leader

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Getting beyond the BS of leadership literature
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Compromise (like Lincoln)
Lincoln had to compromise to get anything done. 

He was willing to do what situational exigencies required. Sometimes, he had to work with pro-slavery Democrats, or to flat out lie about the status of certain situations. 

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Getting beyond the BS of leadership literature
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Eschew popularity contests (like Steve Jobs)

Leadership is not about winning popularity contests or being the most beloved person in a social organization. It's what Steve Jobs showed at Apple & Pixar. He was  notoriously hard on the people who worked for and with him.

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Getting beyond the BS of leadership literature
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Moral Ambiguity to get things done (like Robert Moses)

Mose, a famous NY public works commissioner, pursued immoral or at least questionable actions (such as letting the political bosses and their friends profit from inside information) to accomplishpublic good, including the creation of Jones Beach. 

The problem of getting things done in a world of imperfect people and ambiguous choices—a reality that confronts many people in many sectors.

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Getting beyond the BS of leadership literature
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Build your power base relentlessly (like Lyndon B. Johnson)

Johnson took what he called a “nothing job,” assistant majority leader (also known as the whip) in the Senate, and turned it into a power base. The fundamental idea: work diligently to create resources that are useful to others and assiduously build relationships, even with enemies. He used resources, flattery anything that was needed. 

Johnson was so helpful that after the 1954 election, he became the youngest majority leader in history.

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Good leaders are pragmatic, moraly flexible

Some of the most successful and admired leaders—for example, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy—were above all pragmatists, willing to do what was necessary to achieve important objectives. 

And usually pragmatism means they are not bound by strict morality boundaries, something that Machiavelli noted in his book The Prince. 

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