Congratulations, you've just been promoted! While this opportunity is very exciting, perhaps you should wait before uncorking the champagne. The transition from management to leadership is considerably harder than most people expect. A big promotion does not just mean using the same skill set at a higher levelnew leaders must master a whole new blend of management and leadership skills, with perhaps none more important than the ability to have the exact conversations needed to drive high individual, team and organizational performance.
Leadership Conversations (Jossey-Bass; 978-1-118-37832-8; e-book available; February 2013) by Alan Berson and Richard Stieglitz is the ultimate guide to thriving as a high-potential manager and climbing the ladder to become a top organizational leader. Rather than engaging in an ongoing race to be heard and/or produce short-term results, managers and leaders at all levels must learn how to ask great questions and listen to the answers, to create a culture that places more value on learning than on what people already know, and to foster innovation and strategic thought to achieve long-term objectives.
At the heart of Leadership Conversations is a tactical, practical guide to achieving this, setting out the four types of conversation every leader must master:
-Conversations to Build Relationships: how to exhibit the emotional intelligence required to be an effective leader, embrace differences in order to connect with followers and align them with the organization's goals, and foster genuine transparency and honesty to gain trust and respect.
-Conversations to Develop Others: how to drive long term growth and provide the foundation and fuel for future success by tapping into the abilities of others; how to mentor and recognize people, lead high-potential managers, and ultimately celebrate their success.
-Conversations to Make Decisions: how to integrate facts with people considerations and ask great questions that maximize potential. Key tips are provided on developing good judgment, empowering choice, the importance of being curious, and learning what you don't know (but need to) in order to make good decisions.
-Conversations to Take Action: how to develop vision, allocate resources, and measure performance. How to avoid assumptions and entice followers into action in concert with the leader, rather than directing them to perform. Finally, based on the idea of military "after-action," how to discuss and learn from both failures and successes.
It's a different job at the top. Based on the proven management acumen of its authors, and including the stories of successful leaders from the authors' extensive network of contacts, Leadership Conversations is required reading for leaders of any level who want to improve their performance so they will be promoted into, and be successful at, higher positions.