How to Be Exceptional. Drive Leadership Success By Magnifying Your Strengths

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Authored by: John Zenger, Joseph R. Folkman, Robert Sherwin Jr., and Barbara Steel

I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it! Here are some highlights:

Are you a good leader? Or are you EXCEPTIONAL? The leadership gurus of Zenger Folkman & How to Be Exceptional gives us a slightly different approach to developing our individual leadership style. So often we hear or read about building up the areas where you have weaknesses and learning to overcome them in order to become a well-rounded leader. How to Be Exceptional suggests focusing on your strengths and building on what you already have. I love that!

I also love that it is based on actual research. The authors pulled data from more than 20,000 leaders to demonstrate a real correlation between strengthening the leaders and the overall success of the entire organization or team.

Many of us can understand and identify with the concept of “cross-training” when it comes to athletics. The authors suggest this same approach with various leadership competencies. They have identified 16 differentiating competencies of leaders. The first step is determining YOUR leadership traits so that you can select the right plan to magnify them.

The authors have also identified between five and twelve companion skills for each differentiating competency. This is where the idea of cross training comes into play. Rather than jumping right into areas of weakness, which can be intimidating, the focus is on building up the companion skills that boost the areas where you already show strength, which help push you from good or great, into the realm of exceptional.

The ideas in the book are not just conceptual, but the reader is provided with an actual formula for escalating leadership qualities. There is also a formula for sustainability, so you build follow-through into your development plan to ensure that your strengths are sustainable.

This was a fantastic read with worthwhile ideas to help you leverage and work with the tools you already have. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

– Michele

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