The AMA Handbook of Leadership

By Marshall Goldsmith; John Baldoni et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15

What Is an Effective Leader?
The Leadership Code and Leadership Brand

Norm Smallwood and Dave Ulrich

If you Google the word leader, you get more than 300 million hits. On Amazon, there are 480,881 books today whose topics have to do with leaders. It doesn't help to go to Wikipedia to get a clearer definition because, right off the bat, 11 different types of leaders are named, from bureaucratic to transformational to laissez-faire. In the field of leadership there are as many opinions as there are writers, and there is also a lack of common language and tools.

So it's no wonder that if you ask any roomful of leaders or potential leaders what effective leaders need to be, know, or do, you get as many answers as there are people in the room. Leaders are authentic, have judgment and emotional intelligence, practice the Seven Habits (Stephen Covey), and know the 21 Irrefutable Laws (John Maxwell). They are like Lincoln, Moses, Jack Welch, Santa Claus, Mother Teresa, Jesus, Mohammed, and Attila the Hun. So with all of this information, what does it really mean to be an effective leader and why are we writing yet another chapter on the topic?

We believe it is time to bring together decades of theorizing about leadership: we need to simplify and synthesize rather than generate more complexity and confusion. Faced with the incredible volume of information about leadership, we (along with Kate Sweetman, our colleague and coauthor of our most recent book, The Leadership

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