Skye Book Review: What To Ask The Person In The Mirror


By Morag Barrett on October 22, 2012

Posted by Morag Barrett | October 22, 2012Skye Book Review: What To Ask The Person In The MirrorI have just finished reading this book and am only sorry that I allowed it to languish in my “to-read” book pile for so long.  This is a great book and I would recommend it to leaders at all levels in their career.Great leadership is not about having all the answers – it is, more often, about having the courage to ask the right questions.  In his book What to Ask the Person in the Mirror,  Robert Kaplan provides a guide and questions that any leader can ask of themselves and others to improve their effectiveness as leaders.  Robert Kaplan provides a series of critical questions that should be asked on a regular basis, the insights from which will help you to lead your organization more effectively and to take charge of your own career.“I have found that almost without exception, successful leaders go through significant periods of time in which they feel confused, discouraged, and unsure of themselves and their decisions. Even as they project an air of confidence, they harbor deep feelings of uncertainty and apprehension,”If we all experience ups and downs in our careers and organizations, what differentiates those leaders who successfully navigate the periods of uncertainty from those who do not?  Is leadership about focus? Are great leaders born or can they be made? What changes as we go up the corporate ladder? How do you deal with setbacks?All too often leaders (and all employees) are swept up in the plethora of meetings, email and other distractions that prevent effective reflection or consideration about whether you are moving in the right direction, at the right speed, and with the right people.  Robert Kaplan includes in each critical chapter questions that will cause you to pause, reflect and make adjustments to your own approach and leadership style.Do I clearly articulate my vision and top priorities to my employees and key constituencies?Does the way I spend my time enable me to achieve my top priorities?Do I give subordinates timely and direct feedback they can act on? Do I actively seek feedback myself?Have I developed a succession roadmap?Is my organization’s design aligned with the achievement of its objectives?Is my leadership style still effective, and does it reflect who I truly am?This book will be a standard recommendation within our leadership programs and executive coaching engagements.  I particularly liked the starting with a “clean sheet of paper” exercise to identify opportunities to learn and adjust your game, as well as the “where are you spending your time” discussions, both critical barriers to leadership success when not given the time and attention that both require.Listen to Robert Kaplan discussing the book (there are other short videos discussing each chapter available on YouTube)Related ArticlesTags »Best Leadership BookscommunicationEmotional IntelligenceHigh Performing Teamleadership development denverleadership training colorado Share
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