Leveraging Your Leadership

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Categories: Book Review, Leadership, Soft Skills, Sponsors

We’re now in the lazy days of summer and I’ve spent the last six months immersed in leadership learning.  I’ve attended virtual leadership conferences/webinars/workshops (Leadercast, Milken Institute 2013, John Maxwell), partnered in my community to pilot a mentor program for STEM students, connected with my network via a Twitter chat called #PMChat and spent time reading, writing and reflecting during my weekends.  It's a daily choice to invest in my leadership to support my goal to always pay it forward to advance the profession one project manager at a time and practice collaborative leadership.

Why is this important for project, program and portfolio managers who are leading projects in their organizations to take time out for these types of immersion activities?   Seriously, there is so much to learn about success and failure and everything in between.  If you want to go from a good to great leader you must invest in your leadership skills daily; it’s pretty simple.  How do you do this?  Set aside time to  read, watch movies, go to the theatre, unplug and go for a hike, take a yoga class, connect in your community locally, regionally, globally, blog,or tweet. 

Earlier this year, I bought a few new books recently released for summer reading, left a book/took a book from the neighborhood book library (www.littlefreelibrary.org) and was sent a few leadership books for review.   Let me share a few tips from my reviews of my favorite books.

“Leadership and the Art of Struggle” – Steven Snyder

Often I get requests to review leadership books and I was honored to be provided an advance copy of Steven Snyder’s’ book for review.  This book is very much like True North written by Bill George but better.  First of all, Bill George, author of True North, wrote a compelling foreword and credits Steven Snyder for taking the same themes and diving deeper to provide each reader insight into the struggle lens.  The book is broken out into three parts: Part 1: Become Grounded, Part II: Exploring New Pathways and Part III: Deepening Adaptive Energy.  Snyder’s first story is about Steve Jobs; he shares that with any leader we’re not perfect so we struggle through failure and success.  Snyder states that like Steve, all leaders can go through a “developmental metamorphosis… all we need to do is choose it.”

Reading through the book, soaking up each chapter of personal stories, strategies, techniques and exercises so much resonated with my personal struggles.  Each story was a journey of leadership and validated the introspection necessary to become a better, more grounded leader.  As a mentor; it's a book I'd recommend to a mentee as well as I highly recommend this book to any leader looking to continue their personal growth as a leader since it will help you in two ways:

1: Continue on the path to become a better “YOU” through organic introspection and renewal. 2:  Allow you to look back to lead forward so you can to become a more fulfilled leader from the inside out.

In addtion, the special bonus of this book is to take this learning and apply it; Snyder Leadership Group offers tools on its website and provides a special offer for readers who purchase this book. 

"The Project Manager Who Smiled " - Peter Taylor

Earlier this year, Peter Taylor reached out to me to consider submitting a fun story for his book.  Several months later; Peter self-published this book and released it in June 2013.  Peter’s book is available on Amazon.com and it’s packed with fun experiences, jokes and “PM Celebrity Gossip” contributions from myself and a few of my PM collegues.  It's a great gift, coffee table book and a fun read for your own library.

"Strategies for Project Sponsorship" – James, Rosenhead, Taylor

Project Sponsors are important to ensure more successful projects; just read any article on project management failure, governance and leadership.  This book is a great guidebook for project managers and sponsors;  our project management community has been anxiously waiting for this sponsor publication just released in June 2013. Every Project Management Office, consulting project manager and organization should order a copy of this book for their sponsors.  The authors of this book share an afterword to extend the message through a “Campaign for Real Project Sponsors”.  Visit the website www.strategies4sponsors.com; buy a book and contribute to help advance the profession through the education of the management team and C-Suite executives in organizations.

Every few weeks I get asked by a project manager for advice on how to get a job or  how to navigate their career or how to get that next promotion.  Although there is so much I could offer; I think I’ll just suggest to unplug and go take a hike (to reflect), meditate or go read a book.  Invest in your leadership, make the commitment, shift your mindset, enjoy the journey and oh, keep smiling...

Posted on: July 25, 2013 07:23 PM | Permalink

Comments

Network:144



Naomi, great article. I could not agree more with your advice, "If you want to go from a good to great leader you must invest in your leadership skills daily; it’s pretty simple." Thanks..!

Network:11



Great point Mark, a lot of people don't feel like spending the time and becoming a great leader is that important, because the focus is always to get the job done.

If more leaders were focused on being great, instead of just good, it would do wonders for the industry.

Great article Naomi..

Thanks
Bill Dow, PMP


Network:12



Personally while I am a great reader of business-related books and have designed and run team and leadership workshops and programmes, I am a bit reluctant when it comes to "How to..." books on leadership. After all, if you are a true leader, why aren't you out there leading, instead of writing about it? And leadership is so environment-dependent - what works in one is rarely transferable - what makes a great leader is that they have the instinct to apply the right approaches, not that they have a fixed tool kit they can just gift through some writing.

Personally to gain insights into leadership I'd rather read books about the great changes, whether these are in business or some other aspect of life. This gives a true flavour of how leadership emerges and is required in many ways, and how the great leaders were forged by their situation.

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