Act like a leader, think like a leader

Act like a leader, think like a leader

Book review

“My limited view of the job was negatively self-reinforcing,” Ibarra writes. “Instead of driving an agenda of things I wanted to accomplish, I stayed in reactive mode, doing the least rewarding of the administrative tasks.” The situation will be all too familiar to many operating executives and professionals who are promoted because they do great work, only to find, once promoted, they no longer have time to do it. Happily, Ibarra’s excellent, concise and practical guide offers many ways for leaders to climb out of “the competency trap” and devote more time to four important responsibilities: building bridges between their team and others outside it; crafting and explaining their vision of the future; engaging people in change; and “embodying the change”. Leaders work outside the established goals, procedures and structures to which managers must stick, Ibarra writes. But as her title makes clear, thinking about how you are going to lead will not make you a leader. Ibarra’s research, and that of others, shows, instead, that “people become leaders by doing leadership work”, a principle she calls “outsight”, to distinguish it from more inward- and backward-looking insights.

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