Skip to main content

Flashback: Best New Leadership Book Of 2021

  

Today, we flashback to 2021:

This time each year, I select my pick for best new leadership book for the year. For 2021, my pick is, Heart FirstLasting Leadership Lessons From A Year That Changed Everything, by David Grossman, published in July 2021.


Written by a wise, award-winning leadership and communications expert, Grossman supplies clear, timely, critical, actionable advice, how-to’s and tips for leaders as the pandemic continues to challenge us...and as we get past the pandemic.

I selected this book because the book is easy to read, incredibly engaging, and is filled with inspirational and powerful stories of lessons learned by a wealth of leaders with diverse backgrounds. Plus, it covers today’s pertinent topics for workplace leaders, including diversity, equity, inclusion, and culture. 

  • It’s a playbook you’ll want to read and then refer to time after time. And, if you read only one leadership book next year, make it this one.

Reflecting on the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic, David says, “I saw many leaders using this challenging time as an opportunity to stand up and lead in moving ways. I was continually inspired by the concrete action leaders took to lead and communicate with heart – and guts. That is what this book is all about – applying those lessons learned to provide clear direction on how to be the very best leader and communicator you can possibly be.” 

He adds, “During the pandemic, many leaders rose to the occasion, often by drawing not just from experience and wise counsel, but from being human as they led – what David calls Heart First leadership.” 

Ten book chapters cover

  • Q&A from the front lines
  • Lead yourself first
  • Know your audience and their needs
  • Show your human side
  • Communicate the right messages at the right times
  • Frame the context and make it relevant
  • Talk openly about what’s happening
  • Use the right channels to communicate with impact
  • Be ready to answer questions
  • Be respectfully authentic

As you dive into Heart First, you’ll read Q&As with fascinating insights and practical advice from many business leaders, presented in a style as if you were sitting with your favored mentor over a cup of coffee. 

Leaders and Change Makers featured in the book include

  • Tamer Abuaita, Senior Vice President of Global Supply Chain, SC Johnson
  • Paula Angelo, Vice President, Internal and CEO Communications, The Hartford
  • Nadeen Ayala, Chief Communications Office, ABM Industries
  • Liru Chan, Head of Marketing, Visa Singapore
  • Adam Collins, Chief Communications & Corporate Affairs Office, Molson Coors
  • Sherri Dublin, Vice President DE&I, Culture, Engagement and Communications, Ingredion
  • Lisa Keltner, Senior Director, Inclusion and Diversity, Baxter
  • Erin Loverher, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Walgreens
  • Ken Meyers, Former CHRO, Hillrom
  • Triona Schmelter, Chief Transformation Officer, TreeHouse Foods
  • Stephen Smith, Chairmen, President and CEO of Amsted Industries
  • Matt Snow, CEO, DHG
  • Victor Swint, CEO, Tecomet
  • And many others

One of my sections of the book is where Grossman teaches how best to select the right channel to communicate most effectively with your employees. He provides expert advice for communicating via:

  • Face-to-face meetings
  • Video conference calls
  • Traditional conference calls
  • Town halls
  • Podcasts
  • Written communication
  • Email
  • Text messages
  • Voice mail
  • Blogs
  • Internal social media
  • Intranet
  • Employee surveys
  • Infographics
  • Notice boards
  • Videos
  • Your CEO
  • Employee ambassadors
  • Front-line managers

 

David Grossman

Today, Grossman shares these insights with us:

Question: What has the reader reaction been to the book since it was published this past summer?

Grossman: I’ve been incredibly humbled by the book’s overwhelmingly positive reception. While the book contains proven strategies, tips, tools, and time-savers to communicate with heart, not surprisingly, it’s the stories that are resonating most. These are real people opening up about their emotional journeys and how they managed to lead with humanity during these unprecedented times for business and society.

 

If a leader is committed to lifting others up and making the workplace better, we have a special opportunity for them to get the book at no cost (really!) for a limited time. That’s why we started our Great Giveback Giveaway, where you can GET a complimentary copy of the book during this season of giving, and then GIVE a copy to someone who’s had a positive impact on your career. Since we started, we’ve given away almost 3,400 copies to amazing trailblazers looking to learn and grow, and there’s still time to participate by using this link  

Question: Why do you believe readers have reacted that way to your book? 

Grossman: Many leaders shared that this moment is causing them to rethink how they lead and find new ways to connect with their teams, understand their needs, and inspire them to work together to make change. The insights they were generous to share will help all leaders find their playbook for leading in this dynamic time for business. 

Question: Your books are always so beautifully designed and illustrated. What made you decide to use that approach for your books?

Grossman: Leaders are busy. We wanted Heart First to stand out as an easily accessible book that invites leaders in and where leader can choose their own way to access the tips, tools, and time-savers. Everything is in bite-sized pieces with an emphasis on ways to be even better. That said, leaders could read the book cover-to-cover. They could focus solely on a chapter of special interest such as “Lead Yourself First,” “Show Your Human Side,” or “Be Respectfully Authentic.” They could read a spread with one of our proven methodologies to know how to better communicate change or learn “8 steps to active listening.” 

Question: What makes you most proud about Heart First?

GrossmanHeart First is so much more than a book. It’s a philosophy that’s the key to effective leadership for this new reality: leading with empathy, authenticity, and most importantly, with heart. My passion and purpose are about engaging employees and helping leaders lead with heart, and I’m humbled by the response of so many leaders who are committed to lifting others up, and know – in their hearts – that they can and will do better. 

Question: What is your biggest takeaway from all the Q&A's and Change Maker insights featured in the book? 

Grossman: What stands out for me is the new level of empathy and humanity I see leaders looking to fold into their leadership. The pandemic and racial unrest of the past year forced a reckoning of sorts, and many leaders expressed the need to look inside themselves and reflect on how they might better connect with their employees in a personal and authentic way. Whereas before leaders were concerned about showing their personal side out of fear of being seen as weak or vulnerable, they are now seeing that kind of authenticity as a strength. 

I was continually inspired by the concrete actions that leaders took to lead and communicate with heart, helping carry forward their teams in tough times as well as the calmer ones. Sometimes the simple act of acknowledging how challenging a moment is – and then finding ways to better support employees during a chaotic time – goes a long way toward building a connection and a shared sense of purpose for a team. 


Question: What is your top advice/tip for leaders as we head into 2022?

Grossman: Here are my top 5 leadership lessons from the pandemic:

  1. Understand that inspired leadership matters
  2. Increase your commitment to communications
  3. Show your humanity
  4. Prioritize gratitude and recognition
  5. Be flexible

Prepare to spend a lot of time with this informative and wonderfully designed and visually appealing book. It’s worth it!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How To Lead With Heart

  Those who lead with heart consistently have discussions with their teams about their unexpressed needs, fears, desires, gifts, and sense of purpose , explain the authors of the timely and compelling new book, Leading With Heart .   CEO coaches and authors John Baird and Edward Sullivan share that anyone can learn how to make an authentic connection with their teams in order to drive better outcomes. And their book provides readers clear and practical insights to help them succeed in making those connections. Be sure to read the highlighted key principles and takeaways at the end of every chapter.   Baird and Sullivan further share that since 2020, over 40 million Americans have left their jobs. Feeling disrespected was cited by 57% of those who left as the reason. Workers today want to feel seen and appreciated for who they are. That’s why companies with the best retention, morale, and productivity are led by leaders with heart.   As Alexander Den Heijer said, “ When a

Effective Listening: Do's And Don'ts

Here are some great tips from Michelle Tillis Lederman's book, The 11 Laws of Likability .  They are all about: what to do and what not to do to be a leader who's an effective listener : Do : Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smile) Ignore distractions Don't : Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finish someone's sentences

How To Be A Go-To Person At Work

Bruce Tulgan ’s book,  The Art of Being Indispensable at Work   is   all about  how to win influence, beat overcommitment, and get the right things done in your workplace .   Tulgan says that what truly sets “go-to people” apart is how they think and what they do, including:   They understand the peculiar mathematics of real influence  – doing the right thing for the long term. They lead from wherever they are  – going vertically before going sideways (or diagonally). They know when to say no and how to say yes . They work smart  – creating checklists, step-by-step instructions, and professionalizing everything they do. They finish what they start . They get better and better at working together . They promote “go-to-ism”  – finding other indispensable people throughout the organization and building new go-to people whenever there’s a chance to do so.   Other  characteristics of indispensable people , are:   Maintaining a positive attitude Doubling down on hard work Taking personal res

Leadership Books To Read This Summer

 

Elevating The Human Experience In The Workplace

A recent Deloitte quantitative survey led by  Amelia Dunlop  of 6,000 people in the US revealed that 84% of respondents said they do their best work then they feel worthy. And nine out of 10 people surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that it matters to them to feel worthy. Yet, five out of 10 indicated that they sometimes, often, or always struggle to feel worthy.   It’s this last finding in particular that presents a real challenge in the workplace. Dunlop, author of the book,  Elevating The Human Experience , explains that all too often, “Work is not only a place where we are missing inherent worth with systems that do not recognize the worthiness of all humans, but also a place that actively obscures our efforts to see ourselves as worthy because we are constantly reminded of, and competing, for our relative extrinsic worth in the form of praise, promotion, and raises.”   Dunlop’s book is for anyone who knows what it is like to struggle to feel loved and worthy when showing up at wor

6 Ways To Seek Feedback To Improve Your Performance In The Workplace

Getting feedback is an important way to improve performance at work. But sometimes, it can be hard to seek out, and even harder to hear.  “Feedback is all around you. Your job is to find it, both through asking directly and observing it,” says David L. Van Rooy, author of the new book,  Trajectory: 7 Career Strategies to Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be . As today's guest post, Van Rooy offers these  six tips for how to get the feedback you need to improve performance at work . Guest Post By David L. Van Rooy 1.       Don’t forget to as k :  One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming things are going perfectly (until they make a catastrophic mistake). By not asking, you’re missing out on opportunities for deep feedback: the difficult, critical feedback that gives you constructive ways to improve. 2.       Make sure you listen :  Remember, getting feedback is about improving your performance, not turning it into a “you versus the

10 Ways To Be An Effective Leader

Here are 10 behaviors, techniques and tips you can use to be an effective leader: Respond to questions quickly and fully. Take an interest in your employees and their personal milestone events. Give feedback in a timely manner and make it individualized and specific. Be willing to change your decisions. End every meeting with a follow-up To Do list. Support mentoring -- both informal and formal. Don't delay tough decisions. Do annual written performance appraisals. Explain how a change will affect employee's feelings before, during and after the change is implemented. Have face-to-face interaction as often as possible.

Sample Of Solid Business Guiding Principles

I really like these  10 guiding business principles  that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company  USAA has lived by: Exceed customer expectations Live the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect) Be a leader Participate and contribute Pursue excellence Work as a team Share knowledge Keep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together) Listen and communicate Have fun Too many companies don't make it simple for their customers to do business with them. Is it easy for your customers to: Buy from you? Make returns? Get pricing and terms? Receive timely responses to their e-mails? Quickly get answers when phoning your company? You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book,  1001 Ways To Energize Employee s .

The Four Components That Create Customer Satisfaction

Great customer service tips from author Micah Solomon's new book, High-tech, High-touch Customer Service : You provide value when you deliver the four components that reliably create customer satisfaction : A perfect product or service Delivered in a caring, friendly manner On time (as defined by the customer) With the backing of an effective problem-resolution process Micah has been named by the Financial Post as “a new guru of customer service excellence.” He is a keynote speaker and consultant on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture.  He previously coauthored the bestselling Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit .      

Today's Quote

  "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why" -- Mark Twain