Leadership on the Line Quotes

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Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading by Ronald A. Heifetz
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Leadership on the Line Quotes (showing 1-30 of 38)
“Exercising leadership is an expression of your aliveness... But when you cover yourself up, you risk losing something as well. In the struggle to save yourself, you can give up too many of those qualities that are the essence of being alive, like innocence, curiosity, and compassion.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“You appear dangerous to people when you question their values, beliefs, or habits of a lifetime. You place yourself on the line when you tell people what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. Although you may see with clarity and passion a promising future of progress and gain, people will see with equal passion the losses you are asking them to sustain.”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“the word “lead” has an Indo-European root that means “to go forth, die.”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“Leadership is an improvisational art. You may have an overarching vision, clear, orienting values, and even a strategic plan, but what you actually do from moment to moment cannot be scripted. To be effective, you must respond to what is happening.”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“being criticized by people you care about is almost always a part of exercising leadership.”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“The most difficult work of leadership involves learning to experience distress without numbing yourself. The virtue of a sacred heart lies in the courage to maintain your innocence and wonder, your doubt and curiosity, and your compassion and love even through your darkest, most difficult moments. Leading with an open heart means you could be at your lowest point, abandoned by your people and entirely powerless, yet remain receptive to the full range of human emotions without going numb, striking back, or engaging in some other defense. In one moment you may experience total despair, but in the next, compassion and forgiveness. You may even experience such vicissitudes in the same moment and hold those inconsistent feelings in tension with one another. Maybe you have. A sacred heart allows you to feel, hear, and diagnose, even in the midst of your mission, so that you can accurately gauge different situations and respond appropriately. Otherwise, you simply cannot accurately assess the impact of the losses you are asking people to sustain, or comprehend the reasons behind their anger. Without keeping your heart open, it becomes difficult, perhaps impossible, to fashion the right response and to succeed or come out whole.”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“You have probably been attacked in one form or another. Perhaps you’ve been criticized for your style of communication: too abrasive or too gentle, too aggressive or too quiet, too conflictive or too conciliatory, too cold or too warm. In any case, we doubt that anyone ever criticizes your character or your style when you’re giving them good news or passing out big checks. For the most part, people criticize you when they don’t like the message. But rather than focus on the content of your message, taking issue with its merits, they frequently find it more effective to discredit you. Of course, you may be giving them opportunities to do so; surely every one of us can continue to improve our style and our self-discipline. The point is not that you are blameless, but that the blame is largely misplaced in order to draw attention away from the message itself.”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“leadership requires disturbing people—but at a rate they can absorb.”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“No one learns only by staring in the mirror. We all learn—and are sometimes transformed—by encountering differences that challenge our own experience and assumptions.”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“We all need affirmation, but accepting accolades in an undisciplined way can lead to grandiosity, an inflated view of yourself and your cause. People may invest you with magic, and you can begin to think you have it. The higher the level of distress, the greater are people’s hopes and expectations that you can provide deliverance. They may put too much faith in you.”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“trying to take satisfaction in life from the numbers you ring up is ultimately no more successful than making survival your goal.”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“To survive and succeed in exercising leadership, you must work as closely with your opponents as you do with your supporters.”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“When exercising leadership, you risk getting marginalized, diverted, attacked, or seduced. Regardless of the form, however, the point is the same. When people resist adaptive work, their goal is to shut down those who exercise leadership in order to preserve what they have.”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“Having purpose differs from having any particular purpose. You get meaning in life from the purposes that you join. But after working in a particular discipline, industry, or job for twenty or thirty or forty years, you begin to be wedded to that specific purpose, that particular form.”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“Children have generative power. They create meaning as they busily connect with whatever is happening. But grown-ups often forget that ability. They tend to lose that playful, adventuresome, creative generativity by which they can ask themselves: What’s worth doing today?”
Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“Great athletes can at once play the game and observe it as a whole.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“Most people instinctively follow a dominant trend in an organization or community, without critical evaluation of its merits. The herd instinct is strong.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“To survive and succeed in exercising leadership, you must work as closely with your opponents as you do with your supporters.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“An adaptive change that is beneficial to the organization as a whole may clearly and tangibly hurt some of those who had benefited from the world being left behind.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“the challenge of leadership when trying to generate adaptive change is to work with differences, passions, and conflicts in a way that diminishes their destructive potential and constructively harnesses their energy.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“When you lead people through difficult change, you take them on an emotional roller coaster because you are asking them to relinquish something—a belief, a value, a behavior—that they hold dear. People can stand only so much change at any one time.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“Mental health professionals have said for a long time that individuals cannot adapt well to too many life changes at once. If you suffer a loss in the family, change jobs, and move all within a short time, the chances are your own internal stability may break down, or show signs of serious strain.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“To sustain momentum through a period of difficult change, you have to find ways to remind people of the orienting value—the positive vision—that makes the current angst worthwhile.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“What happened has hurt us. Now you have to work this out.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“You stay alive in the practice of leadership by reducing the extent to which you become the target of people’s frustrations. The best way to stay out of range is to think constantly about giving the work back to the people who need to take responsibility. Place the work within and between the factions who are faced with the challenge, and tailor your interventions so they are unambiguous and have a context.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“The person who has a disproportionate need for control, who is too hungry for power, is susceptible to losing sight of the work.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“you cannot expect people to seriously consider your idea without accepting the possibility that they will challenge it. Accepting that process of engagement as the terrain of leadership liberates you personally.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“When you need someone to talk to in difficult times, it’s tempting to try to turn a trusted ally into a confidant as well. Not a good idea.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“Having listened to people facing the end of their days, we have never heard them say, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” Instead, they talk in countless variations about the other joys of life: family, friendships, the many ways in which their lives touched people and how their work meant something to others.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
“Having purpose differs from having any particular purpose. You get meaning in life from the purposes that you join. But after working in a particular discipline, industry, or job for twenty or thirty or forty years, you begin to be wedded to that specific purpose, that particular form.”
Ronald A. Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading

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