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What Matters Now

Seth Godin’s Free e-Book

It’s worth every penny! Download it for free here:


It contains more than seventy big thinkers, each sharing an idea for you to think about as we head into the new year. From bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert to brilliant tech thinker Kevin Kelly, from publisher Tim O’Reilly to radio host Dave Ramsey, there are some important people riffing about important ideas here. The ebook includes Tom Peters, Jackie Huba and Jason Fried, along with Gina Trapani, Bill Taylor and Alan Webber.


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An informal survey done over the listserv of the International Leadership Association resulted in the following list of most influential books on leadership. I came across this list in Deeper Learning in Leadership by Dennis C. Roberts.

International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior by N. Adler
Integrating the Individual and the Organization by C. Argyris
Knowledge for Action by C. Argyris
Social Foundations of Thought and Action by A. Bandura
On the Nature of Leadership by R. Barker
Bass & Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership by B. Bass
Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations by B. Bass & B. Avolio
Spiral Dynamics by D. Beck & C. Cowan
Leaders by W. Bennis & B. Nanus
Stewardship by P. Block
Thought As A System by D. Bohm
Power Up by D. Bradford & A. Cohen
The Student Leadership Guide by B. Burchard
Leadership by J. M. Burns
Philosophical Foundations of Leadership by D. Cawthon
The Courageous Follower by I. Chaleff
Leadership Theory and Research by M. Chemers & R. Ayman
To Lead The Way by D. B. Clark
The Charismatic Leader by J. Conger
Principle Centered Leadership by S. Covey
The 8th Habit by S. Covey
The Deep Blue Sea by W. Drath
A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness by F. Fiedler
New Approaches to Effective Leadership by F. Fiedler & J. Garcia
Paradigms and Promises by W. Foster
The Reconstruction of Leadership by W. Foster
Nuts! by K. Frieberg & J. Frieberg
The Leadership Investment by R. Fulmer
On Leadership by J. Gardner
Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way by R. Gerber
Servant Leadership by R. K. Greenleaf & L. C. Spears
Leadership by M. Hackman & C. Johnson
The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell by O. Harari
Leadership Without Easy Answers by R. Heifetz
Kinds of Power by J. Hillman
Leadership by R. L. Hughes, R. C. Ginnett, & G. J. Curphy
The Social Psychology of Organizations by D. Katz & R. Kahn
Exploring Leadership by S. R. Komives, N. Lucas, & T. R. McMahon
The Leadership Challenge by J. Kouzes & B. Pozner
Leadership On The Line by M. Linsky & R. Heifetz
The Connective Edge by J. Lipman-Blumen
SuperLeadership by C. Manz & H. Sims
The Leader,  the Led, and the Psyche by B. Mazlish
The Leadership Odyssey by C. S. Napolitano & L. J. Henderson
Leadership by P. Northouse
The Adventure of Working Abroad by J. Osland
Surfing the Edge of Chaos by R. Pascale, M. Milleman, & L. Gioja
In Search of Excellence by T. Peters & R. H. Waterman
Lincoln on Leadership by D. Phillips
Ready To Lead? by A. Price
Leading People From The Middle by W. Robinson
Leadership for the Twenty-First Century by J. Rost
Organizational Culture and Leadership by E. H. Schein
Leadership in Administration by P. Selznick
The Fifth Discipline by P. M. Senge
Insights on Leadership by L. Spears
Policy Paradox by D. A. Stone
Leadership and the New Science by M. J. Wheatley
A Theory of Everything by K. Wilber
The Leader’s Companion by T. Wren
Leadership in Organizations by G. Yukl
The Nature of Executive Leadership by S. Zaccaro

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Who’s hiring?

I’ve blogged before about the importance of professionals using social networking sites like LinkedIn. As someone who has changed jobs often along with doing consulting work, it’s so important to have that network of connections with which I can keep in touch. Having lunch every once in a while with former co-workers, friends and even family in business can open doors that would never have been possible alone. Sites like LinkedIn and Plaxo don’t make that happen automatically, but they do make it easier to find folks that you otherwise may not communicate with very often.

LinkedIn has the ability to create and join groups. Leadership In Action has one (please join ours)! I also recently came across a worldwide group called Linked:HR Leadership. It’s a sub-group of the Linked:HR group, which has over 170,000 members worldwide.

The Human Resource professionals in this group are some of the people who are doing that hiring. They screen thousands of resumes and phone interviews, and work with several levels of management and leaders. These are the people you need to convince of your skills and talents when you interview for your next job. The question I posed to that membership is this:  “What are the top leadership qualities are companies hiring for in middle and upper management?”

The responses are still coming in, but have some pretty good insight. Ability to inspire with vision and show integrity are some of the comments so far. What a great opportunity for you to join the discussion!



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For the principle of recycling described in the previous post to work effectively in a leadership system, it requires leader and followers to work in partnership–the third principle of ecological systems. All parties must trust and respect each other if the flow of communication is to remain open. Without trust and respect, relationships become poisoned with fear, anxiety, and competitiveness. The exchange of information between people becomes constricted. This limits people’s responses to the environment.

Partnership requires each person to exercise the principle of flexibility. You need to build rapport with someone if you are to develop mutual trust and respect. You achieve rapport by communicating in a way that is comfortable and understandable for the other person. This puts that person in his or her comfort zone when interacting with you. The person will then be more open to sharing their thoughts and feelings with you and listening to yours.

When people’s interactions are characterized by flexibility, the entire system becomes more flexible in its response to various situations. People are open to learning and sharing rather than protecting themselves behind habitual behaviors and uncompromising opinions.

Flexibility fosters the principle of diversity. The more wide ranging the perspectives and skills within a group, the more options are available to it when responding to varying circumstances.

This supports the system’s sustainability–the sixth principle. The more effective the group in responding to changes in the environment, the more likely the group will thrive.

This brief outline of the relationship between ecological principles and leadership systems is meant to encourage further exploration of the organic nature of leadership.

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This blog entry continues to explore the application of ecological principles to leadership by considering the principle of recycling.

All organisms in an ecosystem produce waste. What is waste for one species, though, is food for another. The result is a system without waste. This cyclical process differs from a linear operation, which ends with waste being discarded unused.

The principle of recycling applies to the flow of information within a system. Information is a system’s food source. According to organizational consultants Margaret Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers writing in their book A Simpler Way, “Information feeds the local explorations that keep a system viable and stable.” The needs of a system are “nourished by Information.” If information is restricted, the life of the system is threatened.

A system takes in data, processes it, and produces outputs. Information that is received and evaluated as irrelevant is discarded. What is rejected is informational waste. What is considered unimportant by one part of a system, however, may be deemed useful by another part of the system. A system’s viability is enhanced when the system improves its capability to notice, process, and apply a broader field of information. One individual within a leadership system may not take notice of a specific piece of information. Someone else, though, may see the relevance of that discarded bit of data and apply it for the good of the system. Each individual within the system brings a different perspective to every situation. Each person’s point of view needs to be respected if it is to benefit the whole.

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In one of the university leadership courses I teach, the students and I were exploring ways to break out beyond the classroom to extend our opportunities for learning how to become better leaders. I immediately posted the Leadership In Action link to the course website. I also have started an online network called Learn To Lead. I invite the Leadership In Action community to join us at http://learntolead.ning.com. The intent of the network is to create a forum where college students and lifelong learners may support each other in becoming better leaders. It is a place to share questions, experiences, thoughts, and resources with fellow learners on the subject of leadership. It is also a way to help educate our young leaders. I invite you to join the journey.

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It was awesome to see such a great turnout at our very first Leadership In Action event on Monday January 26th. We had close to 40 people gather at the AAA building in Amherst. Thanks again to Jennifer Argenteri and Lesley Lannan of AAA for their hospitality and use of their beautiful building.

Mitch Alegre facilitated a lively discussion. The topic was “Leading Isn’t Leadership,” something he briefly described in his post a few weeks ago. Mitch got us all thinking about our own systems of leadership that includes the leader, the followers, and the context of our “ecology of leadership.” Feel free to leave a comment on this post to let us know your own thoughts about the meeting and Mitch’s message.

We were all encouraged with the great feedback we received from the folks who attended. I think we’ve found a great group to help achieve Leadership In Action’s vision of being a leading source of leadership development resources in the Buffalo/Niagara region.

If you couldn’t make it to fill out our survey and evaluation, we would appreciate your feedback by filling out a survey so we can plan future events to meet your leadership needs.

Tell us what you think

Tell us what you think

Our next meeting is set for Wednesday, February 25th at 7:00pm. We all look forward to another great turnout and interactive discussion.

Please also leave feedback right on the site so we can start some of our own online discussions. You can comment to any blog posting by clicking on the “Comments” link. Tell us what you do or don’t agree with, and especially tell us your experiences!

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