Leading Leaders: How to Manage Smart, Talented, Rich, And Powerful People

Justin Valentine, a friend of mine at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University recently recommended that I read a book by one of his professors entitled ‘Leading Leaders: How to Manage Smart, Talented, Rich, And Powerful People’ by Jeswald W. Salacuse.  Mr. Salacuse is the Henry J. Braker Professor of Law at The Fletcher School*.

In my current role as an assessor, coach, and developer of leaders across all levels, he knew I would find this book intriguing and spot on in many facets. [By leaders, the author refers to people who have an independent power base outside their organizational roles. That power base might be the marketability of their own talents, their network of contacts, their stature within their professions, their wealth, their ability to access clients/funding sources.]

The most valuable people in and around an organization are often the most difficult to manage. They are the “elites” — executives, highly educated professionals, investors, board members, experts in critical functions, and others — whose special talents or positions give them unusual power and independence from those who seek to lead them. These influential individuals are not motivated by visionary speeches, by teambuilding sessions, or by a need to prove themselves (or keep their jobs). They are important assets to the company — but only when their strengths can be harnessed and aligned with organizational goals.

Leading Leaders shows the reader how to develop one-on-one, up-close-and-personal relationships with these movers and shakers, and how to leverage their expertise for better decision-making. Rather than top-down processes that might apply in a typical leadership hierarchy, the book establishes processes that resonate with these special “followers,” including negotiation, strategic planning, brainstorming and more.

Salacuse’s core idea is that you must discover the interests of those you wish to lead and then make it clear to them that you are serving their interests. This requires listening, personal attention, framing your objectives in their terms, and respecting their freedom and autonomy.

Leading Leaders breaks the challenge down into the Seven Daily Tasks of Leadership, and shows you how to carry out each task when you have to manage other leaders:

Task 1: Direction – Negotiating the Vision. How do you negotiate a vision for the organization that other leaders will buy into?

Task 2: Integration – Making Stars a Team. How do you make stars a team?

Task 3: Mediation – Settling Leadership Conflicts. How do you resolve conflicts over turf and power among other leaders so the organization can move forward?

Task 4: Education – Teaching the Educated. How do you educate people who think they are already educated?

Task 5: Motivation – Moving Other Leaders. How do you move other leaders who already seem “to have everything” to do the right thing for the organization?

Task 6: Representation – Leading Outside the Organization. How do you lead your organization’s outside constituents while still leading leaders inside?

Task 7: Trust Creation Capitalizing Your Leadership. How do you gain and keep other leaders’ trust, the vital capital that your own leadership depends on?

Drawing on the author’s own leadership experience as well as his research in the corporate, political, academic, and professional worlds, Leading Leaders answers these questions with a clear set of effective rules for all managers to follow in successfully leading other leaders.

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*Jeswald W. Salacuse is Henry J. Braker Professor of Law at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Formerly Dean of the Fletcher School and of the Southern Methodist University School of Law, he has practiced law with a Wall Street firm, directed a research institute in the Congo, been president of professional organizations, and served as a Ford Foundation executive in the Middle East and Africa. He has been a consultant to multinational corporations, universities, law firms, and international organizations. Salacuse is a member of the Steering Committee of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, president of an international arbitration tribunal, and an independent director of several mutual funds listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Portions of above adapted from publisher.

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Sandra Schwan

Sandra Schwan

Managing Partner at Evolving Strategies LLC
Sandra is the Managing Partner of Evolving Strategies LLC, a consulting firm helping companies and people learn, adapt and perform. Sandra holds a Master of Science degree in Adult Learning and Strategic Organizational Change from Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Arkansas. Previous employers include the Corporate Executive Board, Lante Corporation, Kensington International, and Accenture where Sandra was awarded mentor of the year.

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