HARD TIMES: LEADERSHIP IN AMERICA – PROLOGUE

My most recent book – Hard Times: Leadership in America – was published in October by Stanford University Press. Beginning February 3, I will be posting excerpts. The book has 26 short chapters, including the Prologue and Epilogue. Selections from each will be posted in this space, in the order in which they appear.  

When this project is complete regular readers will have a sense of context. They will understand why leadership is not about single individuals. Rather it is about a system in which leaders, followers, and contexts each play equally important parts. While this particular book is about leadership in America, the components of context are fungible. They apply to leadership in the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates, as they do to leadership in the United States.

 

Excerpt from the Prologue:

Hard Times: Leadership in America “is not a ‘how-to’ book – a book about how to be a leader. Instead it is a how-to-think-like-a-leader workbook that provides a clear, cogent corrective to the thousands of other instructions already available. Hard Times is a checklist of what you need to know about context if you want to lead in the United States of America in the second decade of the twenty-first century. It is not a handy-dandy manual on what to do and how to do it, for the specifics of the situation determine the particulars. What it does do is make meaning of leadership in America in a wholly new and different way. What it does do is provide every American leader with a framework for seeing the setting within which work gets done….

A few words about the title of the book: Hard Times. It signifies my bias, my strong bias. Leadership in America has always been difficult to exercise. But, for reasons that will become clear, leadership in America is more difficult to exercise now than it has ever been before.”

 

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