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Book Title: Leadership and the Art of Struggle: How Great Leaders Grow Through Challenge and Adversity|
The author of the book: Steven Snyder
Date of issue: February 8th 2013
ISBN 13: 9781609946456
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 997 KB
Edition: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Read full description of the books Leadership and the Art of Struggle: How Great Leaders Grow Through Challenge and Adversity:In Leadership and the Art of Struggle, Steven Snyder combines examples of leadership struggles faced by leaders in many walks of life (big business, non-profit, politics) with exercises any of us can do to help clarify our path to reaching our own leadership aspirations. Woven throughout the combination of examples and exercises is a reminder of the beautiful utility of mindfulness, enabling anyone to "step off the treadmill of time."
Steven Snyder tells about a time in his life when he had made life decisions based on what seemed best for his interests and aspirations. The job he ended up in as a result of these decisions evaporated less than a year into the venture. This was not good. Steven Snyder talks about the self-pity he felt at the time: "I imagine that my reflective mind was calling out to me, trying to help, but hearing it in the midst of my panic would have been like trying to listen to a whisper in a windstorm."
Steven Snyder explains the difference between the "automatic mind," which "reaches judgements ... quickly but often prematurely" and the "reflective mind," which "challenges assumptions, generates multiple alternatives and evaluates them systematically" on the premise that strengthening the reflective mind can be a key to becoming a stronger leader who in turn helps other leaders grow.
When I was reading this book, I wondered if Steven Snyder had stopped by my office (or had a balcony seat to my mental goings-on!). He tells a fascinating story of Dr. David Abelson, who through a surprising twist of events moved from practicing medicine to being CEO of his large health-care delivery system. In discussing his eventual embrace of the position, Abelson said, "At some point I just heard an internal voice saying that being CEO would be my way of bringing value. It was almost a sense of reverence."
Dr. Abelson and I agree: reverence has to be part of the equation.
I also saw an echo of my own thought process in Steven Snyder's discussion of Frank Russomanno, who was overlooked the first time he applied to be CEO of his organization, Imation (he was asked to stay with the organization as COO instead). He says, "I didn't think they saw all the good things I'd done for the company."
I want to mention one other concept of Steven Snyder's that resonated so deeply with me: celebrating what's precious.
You don't hear the word "precious" thrown around a lot in the corporate world. But I know it's there for each one of us. I have seen the children's pictures tacked on to the hundreds of cubicles I have seen in visiting various contact centers in several states. I know it's where many people's minds go when a meeting wanders into a counterproductive spiral -- to the things, ideas, goals that are precious to them. The precious things are the passions, actions, and choices that energize us mentally, spiritually, and physically.
I know that for me, there is a windstorm blowing and that hearing that whisper, the one that helps me follow my reflective mind which is trying to tell me where to go, is going to take commitment and, yes, some struggle.
Steven Snyder recounted a conversation in which the eighteenth-century Hasidic rabbi Zusya's teachings were paraphrased:
At the end of your life, God will not ask you why you were not more like Moses. God will ask you why you were not more like Steven.
Yes, it is a struggle to hear that whisper through the wind, to figure out how to be "more like Paula". But a precious calm awaits.
Read information about the authorSteven Snyder, Ph.D., is the founder of the Snyder Leadership Group, an organizational consulting firm. An innovator in thought leadership, Snyder has developed the breakthrough concepts introduced in "Leadership and the Art of Struggle," based on years of leadership studies, intensive research, and data derived from extensive interviews with real-world executives from major corporations. He currently lives with his family in the Minneapolis area, where he remains actively engaged in philanthropy and community service.
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