Leading Leaders: How to Manage Smart, Talented, Rich, and Powerful People

Leading Leaders: How to Manage Smart, Talented, Rich, and Powerful People

Leading Leaders: How to Manage Smart, Talented, Rich, and Powerful People

Leading Leaders: How to Manage Smart, Talented, Rich, and Powerful People


A unique leadership challenge: the ability to manage other leaders.

"Whether you were born a leader or have had leadership thrust upon you, you’re in for a whole new set of challenges when managing other leaders. Think of the qualities that have brought you to a leadership role: your vision, confidence, and charisma, or perhaps your experience, unique skills, expertise, or network of powerful allies. Now remind yourself that other leaders share some or all of these qualities with you.

The leaders you are called upon to lead may be other executives, highly educated experts, investors, board members, government officials, doctors, lawyers, or other professionals. The potential contributions of these elites to any organization are vital, but the likelihood of friction is also high if you don’t manage relationships carefully. In any case, they are people with significant resources -- and strong opinions. How do you leverage the assets of the talented and powerful while making sure that egos remain unbruised?

Leading Leaders breaks the challenge down into the Seven Daily Tasks of Leadership, and shows you how to carry out each task when you have to manage other leaders. The seven tasks and the special challenges they entail in leading leaders are:

1. Direction How do you negotiate a vision for the organization that other leaders will buy into?

2. Integration How do you make stars a team?

3. Mediation How do you resolve conflicts over turf and power among other leaders so the organization can move forward?

4. Education How do you educate people who think they are already educated?

5. Motivation How do you move other leaders who already seem “to have everything” to do the right thing for the organization?

6. Representation How do you lead your organization’s outside constituents while still leading leaders inside?

7. Trust Creation How do you gain and keep other leaders’ trust, the vital capital that your own leadership depends on?

Drawing on the author’s own leadership experience as well as his research in the corporate, political, academic, and professional worlds, Leading Leaders answers these questions with a clear set of effective rules for all managers to follow in successfully leading other leaders."


I first began to think seriously about the subject of leadership in May 1980 when I was appointed dean of the School of Law of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. After the university’s president James Zumberg offered me the job and I had accepted, he proceeded to give me what I later came to call the “leadership speech,” a pep talk that tells a newly appointed leader the wonderful things that are expected to happen under his or her leadership. As President Zumberg expressed his confidence that the law school’s faculty would be strengthened, the student body improved, and the endowment increased under my leadership, I remember thinking, “What is this man talking about?”

Leadership was just not a word I associated with myself. Leadership was what Winston Churchill did in World War II, what Martin Luther King did during the civil rights movement, and what John F. Kennedy did in launching the New Frontier. It had not occurred to me that leadership was something that would be required of me at SMU. Manage, yes. Administer, sure. But lead? During the course of that interview, two questions first came to mind that I have continued to think about to this day: What is leadership? And how do you do it? Over the next twenty-five years in various other leadership positions and in my own research, I looked for answers to those two questions. This book is the product of that exploration.

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