March 1, 2009

The Rest You Need to Know

Edited by Robert B. Kaiser

"It's a mistake to try to fix weaknesses; instead, play to your strengths" goes the thinking behind a popular fad in leadership development. But there are certain half-truths and hidden dangers in this seductively appealing philosophy.

This edited volume features a collection of chapters from pioneers who helped create the modern field of management development. Leading thinkers like Morgan McCall Jr., Bob Eichinger, Bob Hogan, Steven Berglas, Bob Kaplan, Randy White, and the Center for Creative Leadership explain these concerns and provide sound advice for capitalizing on strengths without resorting to hyped-up, dumbed-down, or naively simplistic prescriptions. You will learn that...

  • Most managers don t have the leadership strengths their companies need to be competitive
  • Mastering the art of leadership requires learning to do what may not come naturally
  • A focus on strengths can promote stagnation and inhibit learning and development
  • Strengths can, ironically, become weaknesses through overuse and overreliance
  • Ignoring weaknesses is a fatal strategy for managing careers and managing talent
  • You can reap the benefits of talented-but-troubling managers while containing their dark sides

Written for HR and T&D professionals, executive coaches, and managers themselves, this book promises no quick fixes, no silver bullets, and no easy roads to success. Instead, it offers balanced judgment along with research-based strategies and road-tested techniques that can help managers truly become stronger leaders.

The Perils of Accentuating the Positive is available here.


"The Perils of Accentuating the Positive skewers the simplistic play to your strengths argument and explains what success is really about. Too bad there is no FDA for human development to ban fads like the strengths movement. Until then, this book will have to do."

—Michael M. Lombardo, Ed.D. Co-founder (retired) Lominger Limited, Inc.

"Focusing only on strengths will leave you flying blind. GE's culture of development helped our pilots understand their strengths but also their weaknesses, which could literally be deadly. The balanced advice in The Perils of Accentuating the Positive is exactly how we ensure our corporate pilots are always at their best for safety, comfort, and reliability from takeoff to touchdown."

—John A. Joyce Former Chief Pilot, General Electric Company

"It is rare to find a work that approaches a complex topic in a nuanced and insightful way, yet manages to come across as so clear, logical, and useful. This book truly advances the current state of thinking and practice in leadership development."

—David B. Peterson, Ph.D. Senior Vice President Personnel Decisions International


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