Leaders in Transition: The Tensions at Work as New Leaders Take Charge
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Leaders in Transition brings a new perspective on why some leaders succeed more than others when taking charge of an organisation. Based on in-depth case studies, when four new leaders and their teams in large and complex international organisations were tracked for over a year, this book uncovers that success in managing transition is directly related to leaders’ ability to balance tensions, appropriately to the context. The reasons for each leader’s effectiveness are explored and analysed, allowing the authors then to extrapolate some general conclusions about the ways in which these tensions reveal themselves during all leadership transitions. Evidently, the success or failure of a new leader is the result of the way multiple actors (the new leader, his or her boss, his organisation and its stakeholders) behave, before and during the taking charge. These multiple interactions are revealed and discussed.
The reader will find in the book a rich description of the main elements which he or she can learn to combine and balance in ways which are appropriate for the context and which will enable greater mastery of the transitional phase of leadership.
Reviews and Endorsements
'Newly appointed leaders in today's internet world have to hit the ground running,and to know how to take early advantage of their very newness. I wish I had had the benefit of Amado and Elsner's insights before I faced the challenges of taking the official helm of a Government Department. The psychodynamic analysis they offer will help any new leader make sense of the conflicting tensions and mix of emotions that they are bound to encounter when they push down on the accelerator of change. The candid testimony of the leaders whose managerial journeys the authors followed provide telling
personal insights into what works,and what both set-backs and ultimate success feel like,inspiring that extra confidence to strike out boldly.'
- Sir David Omand GCB, ex Permanent Secretary of the Home Office and of the Cabinet Office
'Faced with the demands and stresses of challenging, unfamiliar roles even experienced managers need points of reference to guide them, and against which to analyse and assess their actions. The tensions identified in this book will be readily recognised by all managers who have ever sought to improve themselves and to understand how they can become more effective leaders. Practical, accessible and enlightening.'
- Richard Barker, General Manager, Commercial Network, Post Office Ltd
'In a world of rather strident treatises on leadership the work of Gilles Amado and Richard Elsner stands out for its thoughtfulness, rigour and applicability to the complex, real-life work place. The research underpinning their findings is impressive but they never lose touch with the need to apply this to the professional challenges business leaders face today. This is a book which is thought-provoking, readable and useful - and one worth returning to whenever one faces a new leadership challenge.'
- Deborah Loudon, Director General, Civilian Personnel, The Ministry of Defence
'Amado and Elsner bring us something readers so rarely get: no nonsense factual accounts of leaders taking charge in a range of contexts. Then the authors cut through the complexity of the data to show us what factors really made the difference between success and failure. This has got to be one of the most insightful and practical leadership books that I have read for a long time.'
- Graham Prentice, Global Human Resources Director, Nestle Nutrition
'This is one of the rare management books which focuses on the extraordinary decisive first moments in a new position. Success effectively depends on the emotional intelligence that is applied to understand the specifics of the organisations rather than on the technical skills. In depth case studies are presented that make this book very useful and easy to read. I recommend it to all managers who wish to give a real boost to their own career.'
- Concetta Lanciaux Advisor to the Chairman, LVMH Group
About the Author(s)
Gilles Amado, Ph.D., Professor of Organizational Psychosociology at the HEC School of Management, Paris, is known as an expert of transition through two books he co-edited, The Transitional Approach to Change, with A. Ambrose and The Transitional Approach in Action, with L. Vansina, published in 2001 and 2005 by Karnac and which are indebted to the close work he had been undertaking for more than thirty years with Harold Bridger, a founding member of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. He is a founder member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organisations, an associate member of the Bayswater Institute and is particularly involved in action-research and consultancy in Europe and Latin America in the fields of industry, health, education, music and sport.
Richard Elsner is a specialist consultant in leadership and transitions, and is the Managing Director of the leadership development consultancy, The Turning Point, which supports leaders to take on demanding new roles. The Turning Point is based in the UK and has partner companies in Frankfurt and Paris. Before setting up The Turning Point, Richard was a Principal or Partner with DIA.logos, KPMG and Kinsley Lord. He is a former managing director of Pearl & Dean, and adviser to the chairman of a British plc. Richard obtained his MBA from IMD in 1985 after devoting ten years of early career to Africa, first as head of rural development programmes for a consortium of British charities for the Sahel region, and then as Researcher for the West and Central Africa region for Amnesty International, based in London.
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