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Paperback Leadership Jazz: The Essential Elements of a Great Leader Book

ISBN: 0440505186

ISBN13: 9780440505181

Leadership Jazz: The Essential Elements of a Great Leader

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Book Overview

Leadership in the workplace, says Max DePree, is like playing jazz; it's more an art than a science. Today's successful managers are attuned to the needs and ideas of their followers and even step aside at times to be followers themselves. As a result, they spark vitality and productivity from their work force. They culivate communication and spontaneity, diversity and creativity, and the unique potential of every person in the organization to contribute...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Superb guidelines for effective leadership

Reading the first edition of this fine book over a decade ago left an indelible impression on me, and I'm deeply grateful to the author for sharing his insights. After getting this updated version, I can say it's "needed now more than ever", for all of us in leadership roles... whether it be small business owners/entreprenuers, managers or parents -- this is an ideal book for everyone who seeks to influence and lead others. The values of making and keeping promises, of setting the tone for expecations and so much more, are finely articulated in this sensational (and surprisingly easy-to-read) book, that makes such an impact. Bravo for a truly fine work -- and many thanks. Ken

Experience in a Homely, Lighthearted Style

Max De Pree is a past Chairman of the Board of Directors of Herman Miller, Inc. I received the book as a gift from the author -- as did everyone else on the occasion of his retirement as a member of the Board of Trustees of Fuller Theological Seminary. It was a sunny winter day in Los Angeles -- and in keeping with the book's title, a jazz band played as people spilled from the lecture hall. His book is much the same as his address was that day -- pervaded with wisdom, love, humour, and illustrative anecdotes. He kept his audience spellbound throughout, and received a standing ovation. In his address at Fuller, Max De Pree described how, early in his marriage, he had decided three things: to nurture his family, to make a living, and to serve (hence his position at Fuller). Part of what service means is to nurture others. A business executive is not all about business. His focus is on being sensitive to his employees in such a way that they may be fulfilled in the workplace, secure in their homes, and that their best potential may unfold. Further, one needs to bear in mind that humans are human, and one needs to take this into account in dealing with their weaknesses and building on their strengths. One has the sense that Max De Pree must have spent many decades writing this book. It is multi-faceted, fast-paced, and comprehensive, and is peppered with worthwhile illustrations. The themes of the various chapters include: finding your "personal philosophy", the causes of betrayal, the need for diversity in unity, the importance of selecting the right people, how to channel creative people, the value of amateurs, the need for supportive relationships, the gift of change, the thrill of keeping up to date, the need to delegate, and the reasons for leadership failure. Max De Pree concludes with a chapter "The Attributes of Leadership: A Checklist." The book would be worth reading for this alone. The last item on his list includes the following observation: "Leaders stop -- to ask and answer questions, to be patient, to listen to problems, to seek the nuance, to follow up a lead. Leaders quietly and openly wait for the information, good and bad, that enables them to lead."

Leadership Is About Connecting One's Voice and One's Touch

In this very excellent book Max Depree expands on the philosophy of leadership introduced in Leadership Is An Art. In so doing he likens the organization to a jazz ensemble. "Jazz-band leaders must choose the music, find the right musicians, and perform - in public. But the effect of the performance depends on so many things - the environment, the volunteers playing in the band, the need for everybody to perform as individuals and as a group, the absolute dependence of the leader on the members of the band, the need of the leader for the followers to play well". Here are some of the riffs and chords that most resonated in me... * One examines leadership beginning not with techniques but rather with premises, not with tools but with beliefs, and not with systems but with understandings. * We have much to learn from jazz-band leaders, for jazz, like leadership, combines the unpredictability of the future with the gifts of individuals. * There is a great misconception in organizations: that a manger must be either in control or not in control. * Knowing what not to do is fully as important as knowing what to do. * Leaders are accountable for the continuous renewal of the organization. * Betrayal is closely linked to the idea of entropy, the tendency of everything to deteriorate. Both have a way of sneaking up on us. Both hover constantly over organizations waiting for the slightest slackening of our vigilance. * From a leader's perspective, the most serious betrayal has to do with thwarting human potential, with quenching the spirit, with failing to deal equitably with each other as human beings. * ...the mystery around potential is so great that even the most perceptive of us cannot look at a person and decide for certain whether or not she'll be good at this or that, whether or not she'll become a sales manager or vice president - or even the best shortstop you ever saw. We should really be in awe of human potential. * Not to choose beauty and harmony puts one squarely in the ranks of the mediocre and endows one with all the characteristics that word implies. * A leader protects unusual persons from the bureaucracy and legalism so ensconced in our organizations. A leader remains vulnerable to real surprise and to true quality. * Leaders learn how to become abandoned to the needs of the followers. The needs of the followers can never be at odds with the true interests of a leader. * ...delegation requires a form of dying, a separation of issue from self. We must surrender or abandon ourselves to the gifts that other people bring to the game. * I've often asked myself, "Are the poorest sandlot baseball players chosen last because they commit so many errors? Or do they commit errors because they're chosen last?" The model of leadership that emerges, the connecting of voice and touch, indeed represents a high calling.

A Must Read

Leadership is an intangible quality that cannot be given by a CEO, learned in a book, or taught in a class. According to Max De Pree, chairman of the board of directors at Herman Miller and author of Leadership Jazz, leadership is something that is born in the heart. De Pree analyzes the topic of leadership through the analogy of a jazz band. To illustrate his point, De Pree states that while jazz band leaders must choose the music, find the musicians, and perform in public, so much of their performance depends on the environment, the volunteers playing, the need for everybody to perform as individuals and in the group, the dependence of the leader on the band, and the need for followers to play well. It is through descriptive analogies such as these, his professional and personal experiences as well as his own conventional wisdom, that De Pree reveals the secrets of effective leadership to readers. Throughout the book, De Pree asserts that leadership is not defined by a single event or act on any one person's part. Leadership is actually a process that begins by acknowledging the potential, or authenticity of each person in the workforce; allowing those individuals to live up to their potential and in doing so, making yourself vulnerable to the consequences; finally, connecting your voice and your touch to become an effective leader. As the author points out, the end result of this process is a vibrant, effective, efficient, and durable organization.

Leadership Jazz: Moral Leadership

In the book "Leadership Jazz" by Max Du Pree he mentions the following statement "...one way to think about leadership is to consider a jazz band. Jazz-band leaders must choose the music, find the right musicians, and perform-in public. But the effect of the performance depends on so many things- the environment, the volunteers in the band, the need to everybody to perform as individuals and as a group, the absolute dependence of the leader on the members of the band, the need of the leader for the followers to play well." Du Pree, with this approach, starts to tell us his confession about leadership. In opposite from "The Leadership Challenge" by Kouzes & Posner that uses a scientific approach, "Leadership Jazz" uses personal experiences to define leadership. Moreover, Du Pree drives us into a profound essence of to be a leader. In order to emphasize the importance of the word leadership, Du Pree uses certain terms or ideas that can be learned in to be an effective leader. At first,
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