Looking Back At The Best New Leadership Book For 2018



If you haven't yet read the book I named the Best New Leadership Book for 2018, here's a reminder about why I think it is so good:

The book, Say What You Mean, by Oren Jay Sofer, couldn’t have come at a better time. Because 2018 was a year filled with communication challenges for so many people. Often, those conversations were ineffective and unhealthy, causing frustration, conflict and distress.

Published toward the end of 2018, Sofer’s book teaches you how to find your voice, speak your truth and listen deeply.

Most important, via the book, Sofer provides us the skill necessary to transform communication into a vehicle for greater intimacy, honesty, and compassion to bring us to greater equity and peace.

And, that’s why, Say What You Mean, is my pick for Best New Leadership Book for 2018.

The overarching framework for the book is taking three steps to create effective conversation:
  • Lead with presence – show up and be fully in the moment.
  • Come from curiosity and care – rooted in the foundation of our intention.
  • Focus on what matters – honing our attention and training our mind’s capacity to discern what’s essential and shift its focus in a nimble and responsive manner.
More specifically, you will learn how to:
  • Feel confident during conversations.
  • Stay focused on what really matters in an interaction.
  • Listen for the authentic concerns behind someone’s words.
  • Reduce anxiety before and during difficult conversations.
  • Find nourishment in day-to-day interactions.
Sofer provides stories, well-researched examples and end-of-chapter practical suggestions to guide you along the way.

Key takeaways from the book are:

The power of pausing before you speak is critical.

To truly listen depends on a kind of inner silence. It requires that we empty ourselves and make space to receive something new. It entails a fundamental letting go of self-centeredness. You have to put down your own thoughts, views and feelings temporarily to truly listen.

At the heart of listening is empathy, which includes:
  • Cognitive empathy: seeing things from another’s perspective.
  • Affective empathy: feeling another’s emotions.
  • Somatic empathy: sensing another’s embodied experience.
When giving feedback, be specific about what is and isn’t working and why, which makes it easier to learn.

Whenever possible, check if the other person feels understood before moving on to a new topic or shifting the center of attention to your own experience.

When in conflict, if we aim to listen to the other person first it increases the chances that they will be willing to listen to us.

You have more clarity and power when you use fewer words with more sincerity.

Add this book to your must-read book list for 2019. It is strategically timely, powerful, essential and relevant. 


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