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Lead with Wisdom: How Wisdom Transforms Good Leaders into Great Leaders

Book Description

A practical guide for leading others with wisdom, integrity, and humanity

This book argues that great leadership requires wisdom. Rather than a formulaic managerial approach to leadership, Lead with Wisdom presents the case for leadership based on our shared humanity and the stories that unite us. What emerges is a model of leadership based on learning to read key patterns of human experience: the way language shapes our reality, how we form new meaning through conversation, how relationships determine influence and how we deal with uncertainty.

It presents readers with the tools and illustrated examples to implement the four arts of leading wisely: how to draw out and create a new story in the organization, how to find and leverage the brilliance of people, how to speak with promise to restore meaning and hope, and how to show grace in dealing with the most demanding people and circumstances.

  • Offers a leadership approach rooted in our shared humanity and the stories which unite and define us

  • Ideal for corporate leaders, middle managers, administrators, and anyone else with management responsibilities

  • Written by a popular speaker on leadership and the author of Arts of the Wise Leader, with personal CEO experience and a PhD in the history of ideas

  • Structured as one key idea per page or double page spread with funky line drawings supporting the concepts and skills

  • For anyone who wants to lead with wisdom, integrity, and humanity, Lead with Wisdom offers a welcome alternative to traditionally robotic and formulaic leadership strategies.

    Table of Contents

    1. Cover
    2. Title page
    3. Copyright page
    4. Dedication
    5. Introduction
    6. Part I: Wisdom and Leadership
      1. The Story Behind Wisdom and Leadership
      2. Chapter 1: Wisdom
        1. Wisdom is the stuff of life
        2. Wisdom is close at hand
        3. The Priority of Wisdom
        4. A useful distinction: Wisdom is observation and insight, not law, morality, or formula
        5. Wisdom reads well the patterns of life
        6. Watch life’s patterns and learn
        7. Words change things
        8. The Big Idea of the One and Many
        9. How to Pick a Split World
        10. Abstraction, or the curse of the school project
        11. Wisdom Translates Well the Patterns of Life
        12. Translating takes perspective
        13. Three Tests for Strategy
        14. Wisdom stays open to the patterns of life
        15. Attention is as varied as we are
        16. Thoughts on Attentiveness
        17. Wisdom lives the patterns with integrity
        18. Wisdom lives the patterns with care
      3. Chapter 2: Leadership
        1. Leading well is bringing wisdom to life
        2. It’s a cliché, but leading is a journey
        3. Authority and character are always in the mix
        4. A useful distinction: Formal authority extends to lists. Informal authority extends to hearts and minds.
        5. A Tale of Mana
        6. Qualities that Shape a Group
        7. Deep Character
        8. Blessing expresses deep intent
        9. Build on Brilliance
        10. Create the space to find voice
        11. Truth, Beauty, Goodness & Living Well
        12. Leaders (Re)Shape the System
        13. Leaders who Lead Learners
        14. Failure is an anvil for wisdom
    7. Part II: Patterns
      1. The Story Behind Patterns
      2. Chapter 3: Naming
        1. We live and lead in language
        2. How Naming Can Transform
        3. A useful distinction: Naming is letting meaning unfold in language, not forcing precision through definition
        4. Language shapes reality
        5. Naming is more than positivity
        6. Naming and maturity
        7. The Significance of Naming our Past Well
        8. Strong naming subverts clichés
        9. Behind the Idea of Naming Stand Some Significant Thinkers
        10. Naming complexity by systems
        11. Poets, Wizards, and Misfits
        12. The Unusual Story of Naming as Learning
        13. Hunting for a name
      3. Chapter 4: Conversation
        1. We construct meaning in conversation
        2. A useful distinction: Conversation is not the same as communication
        3. Meaning unfolds in relationship
        4. Two Roads for Engagement
        5. We know by indwelling
        6. How We know Shapes how we Talk
        7. Conversation brings strength
        8. Breakdown enables new meaning
        9. Breakdown enables new meaning
        10. Maintain commitment
        11. Moving to questions
        12. The Arts of Asking Grounded Questions
        13. How One School Began its Transformation
        14. Living Conversation
        15. There’s no point talking to …!
        16. Sustain core conversations
        17. Champion strategic conversations
      4. Chapter 5: Influence
        1. To lead is to influence
        2. The Story of Joshua Chamberlain
        3. A useful distinction: Position influences compliance. Character influences hearts and minds.
        4. The boundaries of influence
        5. Commitment and Meaning Enable Influence
        6. Building relationship
        7. When we Hear Each Other
        8. The Ancient Arts to Invent and Persuade
        9. All it takes is little hinges
        10. Influence in social systems
        11. The Power of Positive Deviants
        12. Character shapes influence
      5. Chapter 6: Character
        1. Character rests on dignity
        2. Reflections on Dignity
        3. Nobility and humility express character
        4. A useful distinction: Personality expresses individuality. Character is the substance beneath it.
        5. Daughter of the Killing Fields Theary Chan Seng
        6. Character holds the will
        7. Two Visions of Life a Tale of Two Trees
        8. Brokenness
        9. ‘I wronged you. Period’.
        10. Choosing character
        11. Imagining your end
        12. Growing in character
    8. Part III: Arts
      1. The Story Behind Arts
      2. Chapter 7: Story
        1. Story is the stuff of life
        2. A useful distinction: Abstractions claim certainty by ignoring people and context. Stories enable clarity by engaging people and context.
        3. ‘Storied’ thinking
        4. Faith, Hope, and Love as Storied Ways of Knowing
        5. Story and identity
        6. Story and relationship
        7. Story and culture
        8. What History Offers Us
        9. Drawing out stories
        10. A Storied Approach to Change
        11. Stories unlock value
        12. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
        13. A storied approach to strategy
        14. Images of a storied heart and mind
        15. And then we Speak
      3. Chapter 8: Brilliance
        1. We all shine somewhere
        2. A useful distinction: Brilliance is ability, heart, and mind expressed uniquely. Conformity shrinks each.
        3. Everyone can shine
        4. [Not so] Everyday Brilliance
        5. Our stories hold the clues
        6. An Exercise to Map your Brilliance
        7. Unpacking the exercise
        8. Introducing the BrQ©™® Brilliance Quotient
        9. Brilliant by design
        10. Unlikely brilliance
        11. A timely word can release brilliance
        12. A Wildly Generalised History of Brilliance
        13. Finding Brilliance in Craft
        14. Mapping Reputation
      4. Chapter 9: Promise
        1. A strong and true word of hope
        2. A useful distinction: A promise speaks truth with hope. A platitude is a banal wish.
        3. Words that kill strategic capacity
        4. How words can limit life
        5. Calling false and weak behaviour
        6. Promise strengthens interpretation
        7. What Do you See?
        8. Clarity and Respect in Straight Talk
        9. Enabling Robust Meetings
        10. A Model for Speaking Life into Strategy
        11. Reflections on the Idea of Transformation
        12. Ripple of hope
      5. Chapter 10: Grace
        1. Grace is the ‘yes’ of life
        2. Grace is a radical idea
        3. A useful distinction: Grace subverts status
        4. A further distinction: Rank is responsibility. Status is self-interest.
        5. Grace reframes strength
        6. A Tale of the Harmony of Grace
        7. Grace: How to Use the Arts
        8. Exploring the Practical Insights of Grace in Business
        9. Let it go
        10. When rights are not enough
        11. Peering into the Puzzle of Grace Upon Grace
        12. Growing in grace
    9. Part IV: Applying the Patterns and Arts
      1. The Story Behind Application
      2. Chapter 11: Leader’s Journey
        1. We need to know our stories
        2. This is Mark’s Story
        3. We need to make sense of our stories
        4. Look for the Patterns and the Arts
      3. Chapter 12: Leading One
        1. We enter the other’s story
        2. Mark on Mark and Luke’s Story
        3. Luke on Mark and Luke’s Story
        4. We need to make sense of our stories
        5. Look for the Patterns and the Arts
      4. Chapter 13: Leading Many
        1. We embody the story and sustain the conversation
        2. The Surprising Untold Story of Paul
        3. We need to make sense of our stories
        4. Look for the Patterns and the Arts
    10. Conclusion
    11. Acknowledgements
    12. Endnotes