Leading Up

Leading Up by Michael Useem is an excellent book on how to lead your boss so that both of you can succeed. Through 10 exceptional and diverse stories, Mr. Useem showed how to accomplish this vital task.

To lead up successfully requires initiative, persuasion, influence, persistence and a dose of humility. From military lessons from the American civil war, to the Rwandan genocide where failure to convince superiors left over 800,000 dead, to boardroom ousters of CEO’s of Compaq, British Airways and CBS, there are enough lessons to guide any leader on how to lead up.

Some of the major lessons I learnt from this highly enjoyable book include:

•Share your vision.
•Keep your superiors fully informed of what you are doing, what you plan to do and what you have done.
•Learn how to persuade your boss of a new course with facts, airtight logic and determination. The failure of UN Commander Romeo Dallaire to convince his superiors led to the worst genocide since the Second World War.
•Even when you are the CEO, remember you are answerable to the board and never surprise them. The CEOs of BA, Compaq and CBS fell short and paid the price with their jobs.
•When you have several bosses, serve each as if he were your only boss but let all know what you are recommending to each.
•Step up if the boss’s leadership is faltering.
•Convey intents downward and interests upwards.
•Instead of just motivating those below, you must muster those above; instead of learning from just those above you must also listen to those below.
•Develop your subordinates.
•Above all set a positive example.

To lead up successfully also requires you ask and answer the following questions:

•What does my boss need to do his job better?
•What does my team need?
•What do I need to do to help my boss and team succeed?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and I am sure you will.

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