“Why is it that some people challenge us and motivate us to rise to our best abilities, while others seem to drain our energy and spirit? What is that particular quality certain people have that causes those around them to engage fully and feel connected?”
You are a leader. You do not need to be in a boardroom, on a battlefield, or on a ballot to have a profound impact on everyone around you. In this life-changing book, Betsy Myers—senior adviser to two US presidents and former executive director of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership—demonstrates how each of us has opportunities to take the lead every day and shares seven core principles that will enable us to be more productive, engaged, and successful.
From the Oval Office to the playground, cabinet meetings to kitchen tables, in public life and private, Betsy Myers has seen firsthand the emergence of a new leadership model where having all the answers up front is less important than asking the right questions, where strength is derived less from the power you wield than from how you make the people around you feel.
With personal stories from her time in government, in academia, and on the campaign trail, as well as her experiences as a wife, daughter, and mother, Myers helps all of us learn to set the right priorities for ourselves; to connect on a deeper level with the people around us; to uncover problems early when they are still easy to fix; to collaborate with those whose points of view are different from our own; and to push through our fears and live our most authentic lives. Myers demonstrates that more than simply making people feel good, this kind of leadership can have a profound effect on the results achieved: it is how initiatives are launched, profits are made, and work gets done.
Personal, practical, and profoundly inspiring, Take the Lead is a book for anyone who wonders where all the great leaders have gone. Betsy Myers helps us see that true leadership is all around us—and within us.
Myers, senior adviser to presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and former executive director of the Harvard Center for Public Leadership, hits a homerun with this first work that takes a fresh look at characteristics and traits that enable individuals to motivate, inspire, and influence individuals and groups. Myers explores what constitutes successful modern leadership, focusing on qualities of emotional intelligence, which she maintains are as essential to leadership effectiveness as more tactical management abilities. The author organizes the book around seven leadership traits: authenticity, connection, respect, clarity, willingness to collaborate, an openness to continuous learning, and the courage to do the right thing, themes which she illustrates with examples drawn from her impressive vantage point in government and academia as well as from her own personal life. As instructive as her stories are about Bill and Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Donna Shalala, Rahm Emanuel, and Barack Obama, among others, are her stories about her daughter, sister Dee Dee Myers, and friends, which underscore her point of view that leadership is about being in touch with one's true self, feelings, and passionate engagement. Written in an intelligent but conversational and approachable tone, this inspirational primer is a perfect read for anyone seeking to understand, develop, or unleash his or her genuine leadership potential.