What makes a leader truly effective? It’s question that’s been at the center of conferences, workshops, blogs, and MBA courses for decades, and a topic of books and debates for centuries.
The most effective leaders guide others rather than command them. They seek to influence rather than control, and to inspire rather than intimidate. They earn loyalty by empowering people to be their best in pursuit of a higher purpose.
Are some people just born with the “leadership gene,” or can those qualities and capabilities actually be taught, and learned?
Among the individuals who’ve given that question extensive thought and study is Joe Contrera, president and founder of Alive @ Work ® LLC, a leadership development company committed to helping Extraordinary Leaders Achieve Extraordinary Results.
He’s a leadership speaker, coach, consultant, and author of three books. His most recent book, Extraordinary Results: Mastering the Art of Leading, Coaching, & Influencing Others has become a vital resource for leaders in organizations across the country who understand the importance of influence to effective leadership.
Here’s the story of Extraordinary Results.
Webbiquity: What inspired you to write this book?
Joe Contrera: It was the culmination of taking everything I had learned educating and developing leaders for 19 years and putting it into a format that was more of a “how to lead and influence” versus a nice book with a lot of theory.
Webbiquity: Who is the book written for?
Joe: The core audience is any leader who needs to increase their ability to influence others, whether they have been leading for two years or two decades.
The market is changing, the workforce is changing, and the way we cross matrix organizations has changed the role of a leader. They have to be able to master the art of influencing others if they want to be deliver results in today’s business world.
Webbiquity: What are the biggest obstacles in the way of leaders being more effective?
Joe: I think that most leaders, especially new ones, never leave the role of being an individual contributor once they become a leader, because they don’t know how to make the leap. So instead of becoming a leader, instead of effectively leading and influencing others to get the work done, they shift into a glorified individual contributor role.
They should be focusing on the more strategic aspects of the business like succession planning and developing people.
Webbiquity: What do you hope leaders will do differently after reading this?
Joe: Actually, that’s a great question, so let me answer by saying three things:
- Understand what it truly means to be a leader and that leading others is a privilege and a calling; it shouldn’t be viewed as a reward for performance.
- Understand how to lead from a place of influence and authority, not a place of force or control.
- Know how to influence in any situation, whether it is one-on-one, one-on-ten, or one-on-a hundred.
Webbiquity: What has been the response to the book so far?
Joe: The response so been extremely positive. I think the best judge of a book is whether people buy a copy for other folks who they think would benefit from it. That has been a significant portion of our sales so far.