“Leadership isn’t reserved for presidents, generals, and CEOs – the “big shots.” You don’t need a written invitation to be a leader. It is a mindset and way of behavior that begins today.” – Robert Steven Kaplan
Many people believe leaders are born, not made. Others believe you need to climb the corporate ladder and/or have an important job in order to become a leader — that you receive an implied permission to become a leader. Harvard Business School professor Robert Steven Kaplan disagrees. He explains in his powerful new book, What You Really Need to Lead that leadership qualities are not something you either have or don’t. Leadership is not a destination or a state of mind. Leadership is about what you do rather than who you are – and it starts with an ownership mindset.
“It sounds simple: Think like an owner. In fact, it is hard to do. It means getting to conviction — a threshold level beyond which you feel a high level of confidence about what you believe should be done.
Searching for conviction can be challenging. We need to take sufficient time to gather information, consider alternative arguments, agonize, and make sure we arrive at a balanced judgment. This process might feel like a grind, but as a leader, you do need to constantly strive to get to a level of conviction on key issues. You and your team need to focus on the steps that will get you to sound judgment.”
Besides thinking like an owner, Kaplan believes learning to lead involves two additional elements:
- A relentless focus on adding value to others.
- A willingness to act on your beliefs.
Great organizations are built around a nucleus of people who think and act with an ownership mindset, argues Kaplan. Leadership is accessible to everyone today. It requires curiosity, hard work and the openness to ask tough questions and learn from their answers. This book helps demystify leadership and will help readers to strengthen their leadership skills and unlock their power to think and act like an owner.
“Leaders don’t look for excuses for why they can’t act like an owner. Instead, they embrace the challenge of ownership and encourage their teams to do the same.”