How Great Leaders Think

Here is some good advice from Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal, authors of the book, How Great Leaders Think:

Good thinking is the starting point for good leadership.

Leaders who can reframe—look at the same thing from multiple perspectives—think better. They create a lucid portrait of what’s going on around them and have a clearer vision of what’s needed to achieve desired results. Also, reframing involves shifting frames when circumstances change.

Leaders can see and do more when they know how to negotiate four key areas of the leadership terrain: structural, human resource, political, and symbolic.

Great structural leaders:
  • Do their homework.
  • Insist on clear goals.
  • Rethink the relationship of structure, strategy, and environment.
  • Focus on detail and implementation.
  • Experiment. 
A designated leader is no guarantee that a team will be well led. An effective team requires leadership that aligns the group’s structure with the group’s tasks and circumstances. If the official leader doesn’t bring the structural awareness or leadership skills that the team calls for, someone else must step in to ensure that the team stays on track and gets where it needs to go. Structural leaders help groups get clear about why they’re there, who is in charge, who is supposed to do what, and how team members can work with one another to achieve the group’s purpose.

One of the most basic and pervasive causes of leadership failure is interpersonal blindness. Many leaders simply don’t know their impact on other people. Even worse, they don’t know that they don’t know.

Storytelling is our most basic and powerful form of communication. It transmits emotionally charged information in a form that is accessible, attractive, and memorable to others. Stories are also a basic form of social glue, bonding groups and organizations together through historical legends and memorable tales.

Read the whole book for lots of additional insights and advice for how great leaders think.

Thank you to the book's publisher for sending me a copy of the book.


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