Sunday, January 22, 2006

Leading Leaders, and, Career Warfare

Favorite Books
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

LEADING LEADERS: how to manage smart, talented, rich and powerful people
By Jeswald W. Salacuse
(Amacom, 2006)

CAREER WARFARE: 10 rules for building a successful personal brand and fighting to keep it
By David F. D’Alessandro
with Michele Owens
(McGraw-Hill, 2004)

Author Salacuse asks: How do you leverage the assets of the talented, highly educated, well-trained, experienced and powerful while making sure that egos remain unbruised? How do you lead executives, experts, investors, board members, professionals and other people with and significant resources and contributions to your organization? How do you lead lawyers, physicians, management consultants, investment bankers, research analysts, accountants and portfolio managers, to name a few, whose talents are the firm’s principal assets and who as partners may also be the firm’s owners?

HR heads do face this same situation as you work with fellow executives, managers and knowledge workers on a day-to-day basis and over whom you have limited or no authority at all. How do you lead your organizations’ leaders and professionals? How do you sell them your HR programs and systems? How do you lead leaders and peers?

Salacuse breaks down this unique leadership situation into seven tasks and seven challenges. These are: direction—negotiating the vision, integration—making stars a team, mediation—settling leadership conflicts, education—teaching the educated, motivation—moving other leaders, representation—leading outside the organization and trust creation—capitalizing your leadership.

Salacuse offers these lessons for leading leaders:
• Your ability to lead other leaders arises not just from your position, resources, or charisma but from your will and skill. You have to work at the job.
• The basis of leadership is your relationship with the persons you lead. Leaders will follow you if they trust you.
• Communication is your fundamental tool in building those relationships.
• The key process of leading leaders is communication through one-on-one interactions. You have to engage them and personally connect with them.
• Leading leaders is interest based leadership. Leaders will follow you because they consider it in their interest. You need to convince them that their interests lie with you.

On the other hand, author D’Alessandro writes that in order to win in an arena of hard-working and accomplished leaders, you need to develop a reputation or “personal brand” that convinces powerful people to trust you.

And this is the dilemma of HR people. Your own hard work, accomplishments and high-sounding programs will not ensure ready buy-in for your programs. You need to have the right personal qualities and project them well to people in power.

D’Alessandro offers ten rules to become mayor of your village, not the village idiot. To name a few:
• Try to look beyond your own navel. You can’t build a good personal brand if you can’t see yourself as others see you.
• Like it or not, your boss is the coauthor of your brand. Like it or not, your boss is the coauthor of your brand. Your boss decides how your accomplishments will be viewed by the higher-ups.
• Put your boss on the couch. Understand that almost every nice thing your boss does for you is done not out of love, but to further his or her own bran.
• Learn which one is the pickle fork. Sometimes a single embarrassment is enough to alter people’s opinion of you forever.
• It’s always show time. Reputations are usually built brick by brick by your day-to-day behavior.

Finally, D’Alessandro advises, “Choose a circle of people whose advice you trust to help you bet wisely. You are building your brand until the day you die, so expect to make adjustments. Be conscious every day of what you are building.”

DEEP SMARTS: how to cultivate and transfer enduring business wisdom
By Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap
(Harvard Business School Press, 2005)

THE HEART OF CHANGE FIELD GUIDE: tools and tactics for leading change in your organization
By Dan S. Cohen
(Harvard Business School Press, 2005)