The Ultimate Guide to Leadership: Master the Mindset, Skillset and Toolset of Better Leadership

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“A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” –Lao Tzu

Welcome to the The Leadership Deep Dive Guide on Sources of Insight!

This is the ultimate deep dive guide to leadership.

Use this guide to master the mindset, Skillset, toolset for better leadership.

Here is a deep dive guide to learning and mastering the art and science of leadership.

The goal is to help you become a better, more influential and visionary leader that can inspire and empower others to make things happen.

With this organized collection of leadership resources, you can learn, explore, and advance your leadership knowledge and know how.

What is Leadership

Here are how a few leaders have defined leadership:

  1. “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” — John Maxwell
  2. “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” — Warren Bennis
  3. “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” — Bill Gates

I think of leadership as influencing with a purpose. Otherwise, it’s just wandering with followers. And that’s why vision, mission and values play such a key role in any leadership effort.

Leadership isn’t tile or a position. That’s why somebody might be a good manager, but not necessarily be a great leader. As Peter Drucker put it:

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Some people argue over the distinction, but I’ve found it helpful in the real world.  But maybe another helpful lens here is that some leaders are better at “run the business” and leading operations, while other leaders are better at “change the business” and leading change.

Leadership Defined

Here is perhaps a more robust way to define leadership by Kevin Kruse, CEO of LEADx.org:

“Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”

And perhaps my favorite definition of leadership is y Rick Maguire of Futurity:

“Leadership is coordinating action to realize the future you care about.”

Really, this is about highlighting the idea of intentional leadership. So we can think of leadership as influencing with purpose and a goal.  The goal is the vision or the end-in-mind, while purpose is WHY you do it.

Types of Leadership Styles

When learning leadership, it helps to have a general idea of some of the most common leadership styles and types:

  1. Autocratic Leadership: The leader makes decisions without input from the team. The leader decides.
  2. Bureaucratic Leadership: The leader makes decisions based on company and policies, even with input from the team.
  3. Coach-Style Leadership: The leader coaches the team by nurturing the individual strengths of each individual and using strategies to enable the team to work better together.
  4. Democratic Leadership: The leader makes decisions based on input from the team. The team decides.
  5. Laissez-Faire Leadership: The leader takes a hands-off approach and let’s the people do with little intervention.
  6. Strategic Leadership: The leader is guiding the way forward with strategy and foresight.
  7. Transactional Leadership: The leader rewards based on transactions and work performed.
  8. Transformational Leadership: The leader is driving change and transformation through strategy, direction, and empowerment.

Some styles work better than others based on the situation and the mix of people, so part of your leadership mastery will be developing your leadership flexibility.

The Situational Leadership Model

The Situational Leadership II Model was developed by Ken Blanchard, John Carlos, and Alan Randolph.

The big idea behind the Situational Leadership Model is to balance your level of direction and your level of support based on what an individual needs and what a task calls for.

Here is a visual of the model:

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It helps leaders avoid micro-managing and it helps them better balance their efforts around providing direction and providing support.

I’ve seen a lot of mismatches between employees and managers where the manager did not pay attention to what the individual needed or what the task called for.

They would have saved themselves, their employees, and their career if they had developed their self-awareness and applied the Situational Leadership II model.

The Situational Leadership model is especially helpful for distributed teams and to help create a culture of empowerment.

The Concepts of Leadership

This is a master map of the leadership terrain.  You can accelerate learning leadership by learning the fundamentals.

Getting Started

5 Practices and 10 Commitments for Effective Leadership
12 Traits of a Great Leader
Everyone is a Leader
How To Adapt Your Style with Situational Leadership
Leadership is Who You Are
Leadership Styles and Development Levels
The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership
Vision, Mission, and Values

Leadership Mindsets, Models, and Frameworks

4-Dimensional Leadership
5 Practices and 10 Commitments for Effective Leadership
A Leaders is the Trustee of the Intangibles
Future Picture: How the Military Communicates Vision More Effectively
How To Adapt Your Style with Situational Leadership
Political Competence: Influence with Skill and Get People on Your Side
Situational Leadership II
STARS Model of Business Evolution
Strategy Diamond
The First 90 Days: Your Road Map For Success
The Influencer Change Framework
The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership
The Six Steps to Fight Pilots Use to Plan Successful Missions
Vision, Mission, and Values

Vision, Mission, and Values

Corporate Culture — Actions Speak Louder than Words
Effective Leaders Develop Multiple Future Outlooks
Envisioning: The Leadership Skill of Time Travel
Future Picture: How The Military Communicates Vision More Effectively
Guide Your Path with Vision, Values, and Goals
How To Create a High-Performance Team with Vision, Identity, and Values
How To Find Your Values
How To Inspire a Vision
Mission Statements Explained
Visionary Leadership
Vision, Mission, and Values

Character & Styles

Character

10 Big Ideas from Lead with Humility
12 Traits of a Great Leader
A Leader is the Trustee of the Intangibles
Character Ethic is the Foundation for Success
Great Leaders are Rarely Realistic
Integrative Thinking: Synthesize Multiple Ideas Into One Complete Idea
Intelligent Leadership Book Review
Leadership is Who You Are
Stephen Covey Leaves a Legacy
Testing for Expert Judgment
Top 5 Characteristics of Effective Leaders
Warrior Leaders are Positive and Exude Positive Energy
Warrior Leaders Focus on the Highest Value Activities
Warrior Leaders Reveal Great Character

Styles

Detailed Command vs. Mission Command
Heart-Led Leadership
How To Adapt Your Style with Situational Leadership
Pattern-Based Leadership vs. Fact-Based Management
Situational Leadership II
Task-Oriented vs. Relationship-Oriented Leadership Styles
Visionary Leadership
What Executives at Microsoft Taught Me

Personal Leadership

8 Ways to Be Heroic
Adapt, Adjust or Avoid Situations
Build Your Personal Board of Advisers
Everyone is a Leader
Guide Your Path with Vision, Values, and Goals
How To Be a Leader in Your Field
Live on the Frontier of Your Experiences
Personal Leadership Helps Renew You
Personal Leadership is a Choice
Reflecting With Skill: The Art of Structured Reflection
The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership
The Key to Progress: Sustain Your Virtuous Cycles and Halt the Vicious Ones
The Power of Personal Leadership

Team, Teaming, and Teamwork

5 Ways to Improve Commitment and Follow-through
10 Big Ideas from Out Think
10 Ways to Hold People Accountable
Assessing Your Existing Team
Clarify Meaningful Results
How Effective Leaders Get Their Team on Board
How To Build High-Performance Teams More Consistently
How To Create a High-Performance Team with Vision, Identity, and Values
It’s Not Just a Team Effort
Leadership Skills for Making Things Happen
Management Lessons of a Lifelong Student
Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams Book Review
STEALTH Debrief: Generate Valuable Lessons Learned
The Leader Must First Belong
Lessons from Fighter Pilots on Planning Successful Missions
V-Team Success: 7 Steps for Building High-Performing V-Teams with Skill
Vulnerability-Based Trust: Your Key to High-Performance Teams

The Skills of Leadership

Change

10 Tips for Managing Change More Effectively
Awareness is the First Step of Change
Change Patterns: Patterns for Innovation and Change Leadership
Desire to Change
Head, Heart, and Hands: A Pattern for Change
How Great Leaders Build a Culture of Innovation and Change
Knowledge on How To Change
Starfish Organizations: The Key to Explosive Change
The Influencer Change Framework

Connection

Balance Connection and Conviction to Reduce Anxiety and Lead Effectively
Be the Politically Competent Leader
Empathic Listening: The Highest Form of Listening
How Life Experiences Make You a Better Leader
Leadership in the Moment
Political Competence: Influence with Skill and Get People on Your Side
Stephen Covey on How To Present More Effectively
The Johari Window: Know and Share Yourself With Skill
The Leader’s Guide to Speaking with Presence

Courage

Boldness has Genius, Magic, and Power In It
Fearless Speaking
Go for the Epic Win
Live Without the Fear of Death in Your Heart
The Man in the Arena

Culture

Awareness is the First Step of Change
Corporate Culture — Actions Speak Louder than Words
Future Picture: How The Military Communicates Vision More Effectively
How Great Leaders Build a Culture of Innovation and Change
How To Build a Learning Culture
How To Inspire a Vision
Jurgen Appelo on Create Your Own Culture Book
Mission Statements Explained
Organizational Values: Actions are Louder Than Words
The 5 Elements of Organizational Architecture
Three-Factor Theory: Create Enthusiasm in Your Work Environment
Vision, Mission, and Values

Emotional Intelligence

6 Steps to Emotional Mastery
10 Big Ideas from Emotional Capitalists: The Ultimate Guide to Developing Emotional Intelligence for Leaders
10 Emotions to Master for Power, Passion, and Strength
13 Skills to Change Emotions and Master Emotional Intelligence
Develop a Psychology of Resilience in Yourself
Emotional Triggers and What To Do About Them
Feel In Control
How Navy SEALs Build Mental Toughness
Master Your Emotions by Mastering Your Stories
Self-Efficacy is the Key to Your Personal Power
Stephen Covey on Developing Emotional Intelligence
The Elephant and the Rider

Influence

5 Elements of the Win/Win Agreement
6 Types of Social Power
Become a Better Influencer: Identify Supporters, Opponents and Convincibles
Character Trumps Emotion Trumps Logic
Don’t Tell … Ask
How To Build a Coalition with the Coalition-Building Cycle
How To Frame Compelling Arguments
How To Overcome Resistance with Entanglement Strategies
How To Put Good Ideas in Place
How To Sequence Your Influence to Build Momentum
How To Survive Counter-Coalitions Against Your Ideas
Improve Your Influence and Impact–Be Aware of the Larger System
Influencing Without Authority
Mindful Change: The Key to Successful Influence
Persuasion is the Most Important Skill You Can Develop
The Influencer Change Framework
The Power of Superordinate Goals: How To Reduce Conflict Between Groups
Why People Resist Change
Win the Heart the Mind Follows

Motivation and Inspiration

3 Core Wants: Approval, Control, and Security
Are You a Fire Starter?
Deepak Chopra on the Soul of Leadership
Expectation Shapes Reality
How Grest Leaders Can Energize Others
How To Arouse People to Extraordinary Achievement
How To Inspire a Vision
How To Inspire Others to Help You with Your Vision
McClelland’s Motivational Model
Motivation on Fire: Keep Your Motivation Burning for the Long-Haul
The Seven Major Catalysts that Inspire Progress

Stories and Storytelling

3 Stories Leaders Need to Tell
6 Keys to Strategic Stories
Author a Distinctive Story
Lead Yourself and Others with Inspiring Stories

Strengths

3 Myths About Strengths and Weaknesses
4 Signs of a Strength: Success, Instinct, Growth, and Needs
34 Strengths from StrengthsFinder
Don’t Confuse Strengths and Weaknesses with Skills
Find Your Strengths
Find Your Strengths Among Your Team
How To Put Your Strengths to Work
List of Strengths
Nature vs. Nurture
Spend 75 Percent on Your Strengths
Strengths and Weaknesses vs. Personality Profiles
Strengths vs. Talents
The Strengths Movement
Transform Your Hidden Strengths into Learned Strengths
Why Strengths?

Strategy

How To Be Strategic with What’s the Hope, What’s in the Way, What’s the Path
Strategy as a Way of Life
Strategy Diamond
What is Strategy?

Vision

12-Point Future Picture: How The Military Communicates Vision More Effectively
How Crusades and Causes are Better Than Visions and Missions
How To Be a Better Visionary Leader
How To Communicate Your Vision, Mission, and Values
How To Guide Your Path with Vision, Mission, and Values
How To Inspire a Vision with Skill
How To Inspire Others to Help You with Your Vision
How To Be Strategic with What’s the Hope, What’s in the Way, What’s the Path
How Visionary Leaders Can Energize Others
Why Visionary Leaders Develop Multiple Future Outlooks

How Tos

How To Be a leader In Your Field
How To Communicate Without Conflict with Anyone
How To Consistently Build a Winning Team
How To Get Your Ideas Adopted through Imperfection
How To Inspire a Vision
How To Make Better Decisions Through Disagreement
How To Paint a Future Picture to Share Your Vision
How To Visualize Success
How To Visualize Success by Stepping into Your Future
How To Visualize with Skill

Checklist

Leadership Checklist

Leadership Lessons from Leaders

Lessons from leaders:

Top 10 Leadership Lessons by Jim Kouzes
Top 10 Leadership Lessons by Jim Kouzes (A Question-and-Answer Follow-Up)
Lessons Learned from Bill Gates
Lessons Learned from Colin Powell
Lessons Learned from Ken Blanchard
Lessons Learned from John Wooden
Lessons Learned from John Maxwell
Lessons Learned from Mike Kropp
Lessons Learned from Stephen Covey
Lessons Learned from Steve Jobs

Quotes

Best Leadership Quotes

Book Summaries

42 Rules for Your New Leadership Role
Intelligent Leadership
Leadership on the Line
Leadership Transformed: How Ordinary Managers Become Extraordinary leaders
Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders
Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams
Squirrels, Boats, and Thoroughbreds
The Disney Way
The First 90 Days
The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership
The Leader’s Pocket Guide
The Leadership Secrets of Santa Clause
Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations
What Keeps Leaders Up at Night

Book I Recommend

36 Best Business Books that Influenced Microsoft Leaders
Management Books I Recommend
Leadership Books I Recommend

Products I Recommend

Leadership Product Recommendations

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