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Books on Leadership
Author: 2008 Society for Human Resource Management
Posted: January 1, 2009
Words of Wisdom
“Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.” In The Power of Full Engagement, (Simon and Schuster, 2005) authors Jim Laehr and Tony Schwartz, describe how managing energy, not time, is the key to high performance and personal reward. One of the keys is creating highly specific, positive energy management rituals such as scheduling time for breaks, workouts, and meals.

Here are some new and interesting books worth checking out.

Salsa, Soul and Spirit, Juana Bordas, Berret-Koehler Publishers Inc., 2007, reprinted in part with permission.

If you want fresh ideas to help your organization succeed, try borrowing leadership techniques from multicultural sources. Ideas include the African American concept of sankofa, meaning learning from the past, and the Latino value of gracias, to incorporate gratitude and hope into the workplace. In Salsa, Soul and Spirit, author Juana Bordas explains how ideas from African American, American Indian and Latino cultures enrich any workplace, even those without a broadly diverse workforce. Multicultural leadership uses the values and practices of diverse cultures and “encourages diverse people to actively engage, contribute and tap their potential,” writes Bordas.

Giving Notice, Freada Klein, Jossey-Bass, 2007, reprinted in part with permission.

The Level Playing Field Institute, co-founded by author Freada Klein, reveals that more than 2 million professionals and managers leave their jobs annually “solely due to unfair treatment.” The cost of replacing those employees is $64 billion a year, according to Klein. The unfair treatment that is causing this is not headline-grabbing, lawsuit-prompting bias, but rather hidden bias, and costs employers dearly.

Giving Notice by Freada Klein examines how hidden biases become hidden barriers. The book describes how successful CEOs establish a culture that truly practices diversity at all levels in the organization, rather than simply playing “the diversity game” in which slogans and community events are used to appear to embrace diversity, but actions and values do not. Klein guides readers in identifying and dismantling stereotypes they may not realize they use. Readers also learn signs of possible hidden bias in assignments, mentoring, and organizational culture and climate. In addition, there is a section describing experiences of international employees who left jobs after experiencing bias, which is helpful for multi-national employers.

One Foot Out the Door, Judith Bardwick, AMACOM, 2008, reprinted in part with permission.

Employers face a “psychological recession” that leaves workers fearing job loss at any time, and holding back the commitment they otherwise might give to their jobs, says consultant and psychiatrist Judith M. Bardwick in One Foot Out the Door. Using research that includes extensive employee surveys, the book argues that a majority of employees are not committed and not engaged. To counter this, Bardwick shows how good management brings positive results both for employees and for companies. Based on extensive research showing how costly bad management really is, this eye-opening book offers concrete prescriptions for combating alarming trends such as high turnover, low productivity, and lackluster performance. Backing corporate examples with survey data, Bardwick ties motivated employees to profitability.

Discussing the Undiscussable, William R. Noonan, Jossey-Bass, 2008, reprinted in part with permission.

The attempt to talk to the boss that ends up with a heated exchange. The discussion with the vice president that feels more like a grilling from a police officer. The questioning that appears to indicate your abilities aren’t up to snuff. These events raise not only your blood pressure but also your defenses.

As author William R. Noonan writes in Discussing the Undiscussable, when people, or organizations, are threatened or embarrassed, they create “defensive routines” that blame others for problems and also damage their own abilities to get work done. When the whole organization is defensive, managers and employees do not feel personally responsible for the organization’s problems. Noonan explains how these defenses work and how to spot and dismantle them. Using a fictional narrative, woven through the book and portrayed on an accompanying DVD, the author illustrates how defensive behaviors influence the workplace.

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