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A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.Francis Bacon

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Act like a Leader, Think like a Leader

Act like a Leader, Think like a Leader

Practical recommendations for positioning yourself as a leader.

Author(s): Herminia Ibarra

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

Date of publication: 2015

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A professor at Insead, the author has watched many managers pass through leadership programs. She often noted the same difficulties reconciling leadership posture and operational management. In the very first chapter, she points out what she feels is a major error, i.e., the belief that the practice of leadership comes from having perspective. However, gaining this perspective is often impossible for managers who feel trapped dealing with operational emergencies. Conversely, the author recommends that managers begin by taking action. In chapters two to five, she breaks down the major initiatives managers can take to position themselves as leaders over time.

Generally speaking, she recommends that managers progressively change the nature of their added value, rather than trying to reconcile operational management and leadership. In this way, they can create leeway by eliminating management driven by operational emergencies. They are encouraged to devote the freed up time to developing their network both with their hierarchical superiors and laterally with external partners. The author also advises managers to expand their range of leadership styles, in order to be better able to cope with a variety of situations.

The examples are telling. We have all come across excellent managers who regularly achieve their goals, but don’t manage to embody the leadership posture expected of them. Here, the author shows how some succeeded, using simple measures and without exhausting themselves, to develop the qualities required to be entrusted with greater responsibilities. It almost sounds easy!