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Truth About Being a Leader, The (paperback)

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Truth About Being a Leader, The (paperback)

Alternate Binding

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What really works when it comes to leadership - Become the kind of leader that others will want to follow!

  • Solid advice on 52 leadership challenges, from one of the world's leading executive coaches
  • The truth about delegating, team-building -- and getting things done
  • Learn how to build leadership confidence, reputation, network, and influence... gain trust and loyalty....then motivate, inspire, and deliver results


  • Copyright 2007
  • Dimensions: 5" x 7-1/2"
  • Pages: 256
  • Edition: 1st
  • Alternate Binding
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-303820-3
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-303820-0

Praise for The Truth About Being a Leader

“If you ever met Dr. Otazo, you certainly would read her new Truth book. She is as she writes—engaging, pithy, memorable. Take ‘Truth 33: Questions Unite; Answers Divide.’ Now ain’t that the truth. And there are 51 other bon mots just like it. Open the book. Read a truth. You will smile, reflect, and be a better leader for it.”

Paul McLoughlin, The Krow Show with Paul McLoughlin, aka ‘the work_wonk,’ Live Online Radio, Wednesdays, 1 pm Eastern, .VoiceAmericaBusiness.com

“This is a sharply written book with smart insights into the business world. Dr. Otazo is blunt, honest, and concise—exactly the advice a real leader needs.”

Rudy Giuliani

The Truth About Being a Leader is a book that offers practical advice about the very difficult and elusive art of leadership. Dr. Otazo’s book offers real lessons for anyone who is tasked to lead people!”

Marc Morial, CEO, National Urban League

“This book takes you on a tour ‘behind closed doors’ of the landscape of leadership. Just as great military leaders have to know the ground where a future battle will take place, you as an aspiring leader will need to know about the terrain that is covered in this book. And the scope of the landscape here is impressive. It is not just the expected areas such as vision, communication, and team work, but also the important and often undiscussable matters such as how to select an assistant, the role of BS, and the care and use of your body as a leadership act. You can either hire Dr. Otazo as an executive coach to impart her years of wisdom from working with great leaders—or you can read this compelling book and get the secrets here.”

Douglas T. (Tim) Hall Professor of Organizational Behavior, Director, Executive Development Roundtable, Boston University School of Management

“Dr. Otazo has written a must-have book for leaders and would-be leaders! This gem of a book contains concise, easy-to-navigate chapters and useful tips. Best of all, she has included additional reading as reference for those who want more. The book explains the fundamental elements of leadership in a direct manner. If you are a leader or see yourself as one, this book offers practical and honest ways to succeed. Otazo has created a tool that can be referenced again and again.”

Ellen Susman, Producer/Host of PBS television show for women Balancing Your Life with Ellen Susman, www.balancingyourlifeonline.com

“Dr. Otazo tops Jack Welch’s book, On Winning, with both her insight and depth. Amazing...This book is Otazo’s Master Class on leadership.”

Regina Gill, Head of Advertising Sales Germany/Austria, Financial Times Europe

“I am so impressed with this book. I especially like the point that there is no BS...it is straight to the point, concise, clear, and easy to read. My favorite chapter is ‘A Leader Must Always Be On.’ I have lived with this premise 24 hours a day for 45 years. I like the bathtub and fertilizer ideas!”

Walter Johnson, Chairman, Amegy Bank of Texas

“In this marvelous book, Dr. Otazo shares her profound wisdom from decades as one of the most respected coaches in the corporate world. Who better to help every aspiring leader become the very best they can be? Practical yet thought provoking, The Truth About Being a Leader creates a holistic way of looking at the roles of the leader. An added bonus is the further reading section—which in 30 pages is a wonderful summary of where the leader can go to learn more.”

Lynda Gratton Professor of Management Practice, London Business School, AIM Fellow

“Leading is about choices. We get them right or make mistakes. What informs our decisions are our frameworks and experiences. Dr. Otazo gives us a rich mix of both. She is clear and crisp, practical and theoretical. Help yourself make your choices. Read and study this book to find a tool kit for the ‘nuts and bolts’ of leading. She delivers a treasure chest of perspectives and insights for all leaders. So whether for the ‘mechanic’ or the ‘architect’ leader, or whether you’re an advanced, learning, remediating, or novice leader, this book’s for you and for all of us who lead.”

John D. Hofmeister, President and U.S. Country Chair, Shell Oil Company

“The simple truth is that everyone who is, or aspires to be, in a leadership position should keep this book close to hand at all times. An excellent distillation of the essential elements of leadership, this is a practical resource tool that speaks with the voice of a trusted friend and advisor. Clear and concise, this book has something useful to say on just about every facet of leadership. Dr Otazo, in print as in person, is always wise and always pertinent.”

Rosemarie Wallace, Regional Managing Director, Reader’s Digest Asia

“I very much enjoyed reading The Truth about Being a Leader, which accurately reflects so many of the situations I have encountered in 40 years of business life.”

Maarten van den Bergh, Chairman Lloyds TSB Group plc

“From her own vast experience as a coach and leader herself, Dr. Otazo has written a book that really does tell the truth about what it takes to be a leader. Those who want a book that will give easy answers about leadership should look elsewhere. The answers given here aren’t the easy ones—but they are the correct ones. This is the book that I will be giving to my own clients in leadership positions—and constantly referring to myself!”

Mark Forster, Time Management Guru, Author of Get Everything Done and Still have Time to Play and other books

“Put away all those leadership theories and pick up this book. Dr. Otazo presents real issues with pragmatic strategies and immediately actionable tactics. A must-read for experienced and emerging leaders and their coaches.”

Sheryl Spanier, President, Sheryl Spanier & Company, Leadership coaching guru

“Whereas academics have leadership theory and successful leaders like Jack Welch (‘Winning’) can relate their experiences, Dr. Otazo speaks from having seen what works—and what doesn’t—across thousands of her client managers. This is a very readable, practical manual, chock full of savvy insights and advice.”

Brad Smart, Author of Topgrading, www.topgrading.com

“Dr. Otazo has allowed the ‘Divine’ to enrich, bless, and empower us with detailed insights that make a difference. Simple tenets for complex times. Elegant prose, proficient wit, sweet charm, and tried and tested expertise is what the global business community needs...now. Like an ancient sage of old, her still gentle prophetic voice crying loud from the wilderness of information clutter and foolishness will guide us. Leaders will sing a ‘new song’ in a strange land.”

Dr. Alvin Augustus Jones, CEO, Be

“Leadership is no mystery! Dr. Otazo not only breaks the code, she arms her readers with sure-fire, time-tested wisdom. If you dare to grow...read on!”

Jeff Mosely, CEO Greater Houston Partnership

“The contents of Dr. Otazo’s new book truly live up to its title, The Truth About Being a Leader. The many valuable insights in the book don’t come from theory but from Otazo’s tremendous experience. The good advice ranges from the importance of the leader’s assistant to treating customers as part of the company’s resources to playing it straight with the media.”

Murray Weidenbaum, Honorary Chairman, Murray Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy, Washington University in St Louis

“In Dr. Otazo’s work, you will find many truths and much practical advice on leadership. This is a book where you can pick your topic and cut to the chase.”

Courtenay Huff, Partner, Accenture

“Dr. Otazo writes with brilliant clarity—this book contains a superbly crafted series of impactful lessons that perfectly capture the unconscious world of ‘being a leader.’”

[md]Paul Norris, Managing Director European Equities, Lehman Brothers

“Dr Otazo brings a precise, frank assessment of the dynamics most executives face at some point in their career. (Or, face over and over!). Her suggestions on how to frame and ‘deal’ provide a powerful jumpstart for those prepared to listen.”

[md]Chris O'Donohue, Vice President PepsiCo International

What really works: how to become a great leader, starting today

When it comes to effective leadership, everyone has an opinion. But you don’t need opinions: you need proven, real-world solutions, based on facts and evidence. That’s what The Truth About Being a Leader delivers: high-power leadership techniques you can use every day, whether you lead one person or 100,000.

Dr. Karen Otazo has spent more than 20 years coaching executives in virtually every type of organization. She’s worked personally with more than 2,000 individuals, from interns to CEOs. Now, drawing on hundreds of secret leadership feedback reports, she reveals what actually works–and doesn’t work– when it comes to being a great leader.

You’ll find simple, easy-to-use techniques for smoothly assuming new leadership roles...honing your style...maximizing your impact...crafting a vision, shaping strategies, and getting buy-in... using power wisely...handling tough coaching and feedback sessions...avoiding leadership pitfalls... strengthening key leadership relationships...inspiring people, building world-class teams, and achieving outstanding results.

Prepare for the toughest challenges of leadership

Widen your “mental bandwidth” in seven key areas

Get beyond the numbers

Learn how to use all your resources, tangible and intangible

Sharpen your vision, and communicate it crisply

Engage, motivate, and inspire all your audiences

Don’t let stress impact your performance

Manage your stress, manage your energy

Use power wisely, and choose your battles

Apply the right touch: not too light, not too heavy-handed

Grow your people, grow your team

Develop outstanding people, achieve outstanding results

Leaders aren’t born, they’re made... and you can make yourself a great leader, starting today! This book’s 52 proven leadership principles and bite-size, easy-to-use techniques that work!

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Foreword  xiii

Introduction  xix


TRUTH 1         More-Responsible Roles Require More Mental “Bandwidth”  3

TRUTH 2         Inheriting an Assistant Requires Reeducation  6

TRUTH 3         Staffing Your Leadership Office: Your Assistant Plays a Vital Role  10

TRUTH 4         The Gaps in Your Work Habits Show Up When You Move Up  14

TRUTH 5         The Truth About Effective Leadership Styles  21

TRUTH 6         Soft-Spoken Leadership Requires Stamina  23

TRUTH 7         Bullshit Makes Good Fertilizer–Just Watch Your Step  26

TRUTH 8         Player/Coach Is a Tricky Role, So Make Sure That You Do Both Well  29

TRUTH 9         Caring Leaders Treat Their Teams Like Family  32

TRUTH 10       Innovation Requires Preparation  35


TRUTH 11       Match Your Leadership Message to Your Audience  41

TRUTH 12       Impactful Leaders Speak Simply  44

TRUTH 13       Sound Bites Need to Sizzle  47

TRUTH 14       Your Tone of Voice Should Command Attention  50

TRUTH 15       Names Matter to People, So Get Them Right  53

TRUTH 16       “Coming Attractions” Get Others Tuned in to Your Message  57


TRUTH 17       What’s the Big Idea? Bring Your Guiding Rules into Everyday Organizational Life  63

TRUTH 18       Stories Help Make Change Clear  67

TRUTH 19       Playing Out the Tape Helps Others Prepare for the Future  70

TRUTH 20       Leaders Frame the Discussion  3


TRUTH 21       A Leader Is Always “On”  79

TRUTH 22       Choose Your Battles Carefully  82

TRUTH 23       Your Stress Ripples Across the Organization  85

TRUTH 24       Let Your Energy Be Like Fine Champagne–Not Too Bubbly or Flat  89

TRUTH 25       You Need to “Read” Like a Leader in the Blink of an Eye  92

TRUTH 26       Good Leadership Is the Wise Use of Power  96


TRUTH 27       Often the Best Decision Is Empowering Someone Else to Decide  103

TRUTH 28       Adjust Your Leadership Style to Fit the Employee  106

TRUTH 29       No Good Deed Goes Unpunished  109

TRUTH 30       The Structure Is Not the Organization, Just as the Map Is Not the Territory  112

TRUTH 31       Coming in from the Outside? Pay Your Dues!  115

TRUTH 32       Delegation Is a Confidence Game  119


TRUTH 33       Questions Unite; Answers Divide  125

TRUTH 34       Feedback Is the Best Kind of Criticism  128

TRUTH 35       You Have More Than the Carrot and the Stick  131

TRUTH 36       Quick Coaching Keeps Your Team on Course  134

TRUTH 37       Little Things Mean a Lot  136


TRUTH 38       A Leader Cares Passionately About Developing People  141

TRUTH 39       Succession Planning Ensures Your Bench Strength 144

TRUTH 40       Your Team Is Key to Your Success, So Vet Them Well  149

TRUTH 41       Dedicate Your Coaching Time Where It Does the Most Good  152

TRUTH 42       Awkward Discussions Are Tough; Play Offense, Not Defense  155


TRUTH 43       Ideas Come Across Differently with Different Media  161

TRUTH 44       You Can’t Hide the Sun with Your Hand: Be Honest  165

TRUTH 45       Spouses and Partners Must Be on Their Best Behavior  169

TRUTH 46       You Don’t Get Your Meat Where You Get Your Potatoes  173

TRUTH 47       Don’t Get Tangled in the Grapevine  176


TRUTH 48       You Can’t Microwave Your Leadership Relationships  181

TRUTH 49       Your Network Is Your Lifeline to Influence and Information  185

TRUTH 50       Peers and Power Are a Potent Mix  188

TRUTH 51       It’s Lonely at the Top; Keep It That Way  191

TRUTH 52       Trust and Loyalty Are Long-Term Goals  194

References  199


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