Leading Up: How to Lead Your Boss So You Both Win

WRITTEN BY: Michael Useem

NARRATED BY: James Lurie


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9 hours 44 minutes
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Listen up! In this audiobook, author Michael Useem, narrated by the brilliant James Lurie, brings us eight captivating true stories that prove leaders today are not just mere bosses. They are self-starters who take charge, even when they haven't been given explicit instructions. These leaders, known as upward leaders, get results by helping their superiors lead, ensuring that great ideas don't die on the vine because the boss's understanding falls short. Upward leadership means advice is sought from all corners of the organization, not just from the top down. And guess what? It applies to every level of leadership, even CEOs who ultimately answer to their boards.

In "Leading Up," Useem relates fascinating accounts of this crucial and often overlooked aspect of leadership. Drawing from the incredible experiences of real people, Useem shows us the consequences when those not in charge rise to the challenge, as well as what happens when those who should step forward fail to do so. Get ready for some eye-opening stories:

  • During the Civil War, generals openly disrespected and misinformed their commanders in chief, resulting in tragic outcomes.
  • David Pottruck, COO of Charles Schwab & Co., learned how to lead with his superiors and spearheaded a radical change in Schwab's core business.
  • If United Nations commander Roméo Dallaire had convinced his superiors about the dire situation in Rwanda, the genocide that claimed 800,000 lives may have been prevented.
  • CEOs of CBS, Compaq, and British Airways focused on leading downward, when in fact, they needed to lead upward to their boards. This misjudgment led to their ultimate dismissal.
  • U.S. Marine Corps general Peter Pace successfully navigated conflicting priorities with six bosses by keeping them all informed and challenging them when necessary.
  • Mount Everest mountaineers acknowledged the potential harm they could have avoided if they had questioned their guides' flawed instructions and decisions.
  • In government, representatives often need to strike a deal first and then lead their bosses to embrace it. The United States and Argentina provide illuminating examples.
  • Even Old Testament prophets Moses, Abraham, and Samuel had the challenging task of leading up when they interceded with the ultimate authority.

Now listen closely: leading up is not the same as managing up. Managing up is simply running the office, while leading up is taking the reins and surpassing expectations. As organizational hierarchies continue to evolve, upward leadership becomes not only more possible but also more essential. "Leading Up" is a call to action, urging us to tap into everyone's best qualities and offering a practical blueprint for doing so. So, let's get ready to dive into this extraordinary world of leadership beyond the ordinary.

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