Bootstrap Leadership

50 Ways to Break Out, Take Charge and Move Up

Steve Arneson (Author)

Publication date: 04/02/2010

Bestseller over 20,000+ copies sold

Bootstrap Leadership
Do you want to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and really earn your next promotion?
  • Arneson was named one of America's top leadership consultants by Leadership Excellence magazine in 2008
  • Enables leaders at all levels to design a complete self-directed leadership development program
  • Concise, accessible, practical and flexible

Leadership training can be inconsistent in the best of times. In tough economic times it's often one of the first things that even the most progressive companies cut back on. And you can't necessarily depend on finding that mentor you've been looking for either. Now more than ever, if you're going to advance your career you need to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. But not entirely: Steve Arneson is here to give you a boost.

In Bootstrap Leadership Arneson, one of America's top leadership coaches, offers a complete blueprint for designing your own personal leadership development program. In fifty brief, to-the-point chapters he provides practical ideas and techniques that have been proven successful in his work with executives at Fortune 500 companies like AOL, PepsiCo and Capital One. Surprisingly, most of these ideas cost nothing to implement, nor do they require any elaborate equipment or infrastructure-they're open to anyone with sufficient initiative, drive and ambition.

The chapters are entirely self-contained and can be read in any order and at any pace. You can read one a week and you'll have a comprehensive year-long self-improvement program (with two weeks off for vacation). Or you can choose a chapter that speaks to a particular challenge you're facing at work or one that just seems intriguing. There's a self-assessment at the beginning of the book to suggest specific chapters that fit your developmental needs.

No one is going to just hand that next promotion. You have to earn it by developing and demonstrating your leadership skills. And ultimately it's not just about you-true leaders make everyone around them better. Bootstrap Leadership shows you how.

  • Arneson was named one of America’s top leadership consultants by Leadership Excellence magazine in 2008
  • Enables leaders at all levels to design a complete self-directed leadership development program
  • Concise, accessible, practical and flexible

 

Leadership training can be inconsistent in the best of times. In tough economic times it’s often one of the first things that even the most progressive companies cut back on. And you can’t necessarily depend on finding that mentor you’ve been looking for either. Now more than ever, if you’re going to advance your career you need to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. But not entirely: Steve Arneson is here to give you a boost.

In Bootstrap Leadership Arneson, one of America’s top leadership coaches, offers a complete blueprint for designing your own personal leadership development program. In fifty brief, to-the-point chapters he provides practical ideas and techniques that have been proven successful in his work with executives at Fortune 500 companies like AOL, PepsiCo and Capital One. Surprisingly, most of these ideas cost nothing to implement, nor do they require any elaborate equipment or infrastructure—they’re open to anyone with sufficient initiative, drive and ambition.

The chapters are entirely self-contained and can be read in any order and at any pace. You can read one a week and you’ll have a comprehensive year-long self-improvement program (with two weeks off for vacation). Or you can choose a chapter that speaks to a particular challenge you’re facing at work or one that just seems intriguing. There’s a self-assessment at the beginning of the book to suggest specific chapters that fit your developmental needs.

No one is going to just hand that next promotion. You have to earn it by developing and demonstrating your leadership skills. And ultimately it’s not just about you—true leaders make everyone around them better. Bootstrap Leadership shows you how.

Read more and meet author below

Read An Excerpt

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Overview

Do you want to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and really earn your next promotion?

  • Arneson was named one of America's top leadership consultants by Leadership Excellence magazine in 2008
  • Enables leaders at all levels to design a complete self-directed leadership development program
  • Concise, accessible, practical and flexible

Leadership training can be inconsistent in the best of times. In tough economic times it's often one of the first things that even the most progressive companies cut back on. And you can't necessarily depend on finding that mentor you've been looking for either. Now more than ever, if you're going to advance your career you need to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. But not entirely: Steve Arneson is here to give you a boost.

In Bootstrap Leadership Arneson, one of America's top leadership coaches, offers a complete blueprint for designing your own personal leadership development program. In fifty brief, to-the-point chapters he provides practical ideas and techniques that have been proven successful in his work with executives at Fortune 500 companies like AOL, PepsiCo and Capital One. Surprisingly, most of these ideas cost nothing to implement, nor do they require any elaborate equipment or infrastructure-they're open to anyone with sufficient initiative, drive and ambition.

The chapters are entirely self-contained and can be read in any order and at any pace. You can read one a week and you'll have a comprehensive year-long self-improvement program (with two weeks off for vacation). Or you can choose a chapter that speaks to a particular challenge you're facing at work or one that just seems intriguing. There's a self-assessment at the beginning of the book to suggest specific chapters that fit your developmental needs.

No one is going to just hand that next promotion. You have to earn it by developing and demonstrating your leadership skills. And ultimately it's not just about you-true leaders make everyone around them better. Bootstrap Leadership shows you how.

  • Arneson was named one of America’s top leadership consultants by Leadership Excellence magazine in 2008
  • Enables leaders at all levels to design a complete self-directed leadership development program
  • Concise, accessible, practical and flexible

 

Leadership training can be inconsistent in the best of times. In tough economic times it’s often one of the first things that even the most progressive companies cut back on. And you can’t necessarily depend on finding that mentor you’ve been looking for either. Now more than ever, if you’re going to advance your career you need to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. But not entirely: Steve Arneson is here to give you a boost.

In Bootstrap Leadership Arneson, one of America’s top leadership coaches, offers a complete blueprint for designing your own personal leadership development program. In fifty brief, to-the-point chapters he provides practical ideas and techniques that have been proven successful in his work with executives at Fortune 500 companies like AOL, PepsiCo and Capital One. Surprisingly, most of these ideas cost nothing to implement, nor do they require any elaborate equipment or infrastructure—they’re open to anyone with sufficient initiative, drive and ambition.

The chapters are entirely self-contained and can be read in any order and at any pace. You can read one a week and you’ll have a comprehensive year-long self-improvement program (with two weeks off for vacation). Or you can choose a chapter that speaks to a particular challenge you’re facing at work or one that just seems intriguing. There’s a self-assessment at the beginning of the book to suggest specific chapters that fit your developmental needs.

No one is going to just hand that next promotion. You have to earn it by developing and demonstrating your leadership skills. And ultimately it’s not just about you—true leaders make everyone around them better. Bootstrap Leadership shows you how.

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Meet the Author


Visit Author Page - Steve Arneson

Steve Arneson is a nationally recognized speaker, executive coach, and leadership consultant. He founded Arneson Leadership Consulting in 2007 to provide practical solutions for individuals and companies looking to enhance their leadership impact. Prior to that, Steve served as the head of leadership development and talent management at divisions of PepsiCo and Yum Brands, and later at AOL, Time Warner Cable, and Capital One.

Steve has been named one of America’s “Top 100 Thought Leaders on Leadership” and one of the country’s “Top 10 Leadership Consultants” by Leadership Excellence magazine. As a speaker and seminar leader, Steve has inspired thousands of leaders worldwide to take charge of their own development, working with the principles in his first book, Bootstrap Leadership. Steve holds a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Kansas, a Ph.D in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Tulsa, and a leadership coaching certificate from Georgetown University. Steve lives with his family in Boulder, Colorado, and can be reached at [email protected]

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Dave Ulrich

Preface

Introduction

Part One: How Are You Showing Up as a Leader?

Chapter 1: Where Have You Been?

Chapter 2: Build a Spider Web

Chapter 3: Spin Around in a Circle

Chapter 4: Your Own Private Detective

Chapter 5: When the Student is Ready

Chapter 6: Just Like the CEO

Chapter 7: Get in the Weight Room

Chapter 8: Go Back in Time

Chapter 9: Is There Another Way?

Chapter 10: How Am I Driving?

Part Two: Add Something New to Your Game

Chapter 11: Break Out the Dictionary

Chapter 12: Put It in Writing

Chapter 13: One Year at a Time

Chapter 14: What Is It that Only You Can Do?

Chapter 15: The Whistle and the Clipboard

Chapter 16: Hit the Books

Chapter 17: The Best Thinking Tools Ever Invented

Chapter 18: I Have a Theory

Chapter 19: Once Upon a Time

Chapter 20: This Is Me

Part Three: Get Curious about the World Around You

Chapter 21: Take a Trip Around the World

Chapter 22: So This is What We Do

Chapter 23: Keep Tabs on Your Friends

Chapter 24: That Thing Called the Internet

Chapter 25: Who Are These People?

Chapter 26: Ask the Experts

Chapter 27: Scout the Enemy

Chapter 28: Go Back to School

Chapter 29: Road Trip!

Chapter 30: Bring It Home

Part Four: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Chapter 31: Get Outside the Circle

Chapter 32: You're Right and I'm Wrong

Chapter 33: Become a Member

Chapter 34: Share Your Story

Chapter 35: Tell the Boss You're Bored

Chapter 36: Love the Numbers

Chapter 37: Build the Business Base

Chapter 38: A Healthy You

Chapter 39: Write Your Own Screenplay

Chapter 40: Question Everything

Part Five: It's Not About You

Chapter 41: It's All About Them

Chapter 42: Give Something Back

Chapter 43: What the Boss Needs to Hear

Chapter 44: Extend Your Reach

Chapter 45: Your Most Precious Resource

Chapter 46: Step Up to the Podium

Chapter 47: Talk to Yourself

Chapter 48: Join the Volunteer Army

Chapter 49: The Best Advice Ever

Chapter 50: Welcome to the New Guard

Where Do You Go From Here?

Figures

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

About the Author

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Excerpt

Bootstrap Leadership

1

Where Have You Been?

Document Your Leadership Journey

“IF YOU DON’T KNOW where you’re going, any road will take you there.” I love this quote, not only because it’s supposed to get you moving if you’re stuck, but also because it screams, “Get organized, and have a plan!” This is great advice whether you’re planning a trip or your own leadership development. Any significant journey worth taking is worth planning. Let’s pretend you’re taking a six-month sabbatical to climb Mount Everest. You wouldn’t dream of tackling this adventure without a lot of planning, right? You also wouldn’t plan this trip without looking back at what you’ve learned from other high-peak ascents, both successful and unsuccessful. You’re going to need every bit of that experience to make this climb, so you better take stock of your lessons learned. The fact is that looking back can help you see the next adventure more clearly.

The same is true when it comes to planning the next step in your journey of leadership self-discovery. One of the first things you should do is reflect on where you’ve been as a leader. Are you doing this on a regular basis? Are you reflecting on your lessons learned? You should be; the leader who doesn’t learn from his or her mistakes is doomed to repeat them. What were the critical moments that shaped you as a manager? How did you react? What did you do well, and what could you have done better? How did others respond to you? When did you start to feel like a true leader? Most important, what did you learn from these moments?

Leadership is definitely a personal experience; the lessons you learn may be common ones, but the specifics of each situation make your leadership story unique. All of us can remember critical incidents that shaped us as leaders—times when we learned from a mistake or stepped up in a big way. Maybe it was standing up to a boss when you knew you were right. Maybe it was failing to pull the trigger on a bad hire or supporting an employee who turned out to be a star. Or maybe it was really listening to feedback and recognizing that you needed to change your leadership style.

Some lessons involve other people and can reveal patterns, such as failing to leverage peers or build relationships. Other lessons involve your own judgment—a fateful read of the strategy that leads to poor decisions or opportunities seized because you were willing to take a calculated risk. Your career is filled with times when you made the right call, did the right thing, or learned a difficult lesson. These are the touchstones of your life as a leader, the milestones along your leadership path. Your own leadership journey provides tremendous insight into how you should continue developing as a leader. In other words, where you’ve been can help clarify where you need to go. By reflecting on your lessons learned, you can build a development plan that optimizes your remaining growth areas.

Write Your Own Leadership Journey

There is an easy way to document your lessons and build your leadership story. Start with your first leadership role, when you first began to manage people. Write down the company, your job title, and the time frame you were in the role. Remember when you got your first direct report to manage? Were you excited about the opportunity? Maybe a little intimidated by the responsibility? You probably did several things right; but you might have made a few mistakes, too—first-time supervisors usually do. Think back to that job. What were the two or three most critical incidents that happened in that role, and what were the most profound learnings from those experiences? Write them down. Take the time to really think about the experience, but capture the essence of the lesson in a few simple words. Now, go on to your next role and repeat the process. At the end of this exercise, you should have traced your entire career as a leader and recorded your critical incidents and lessons learned along the way (see Figure 1).

Put your leadership story on a PowerPoint slide or practice telling it from memory. Share it with your boss, your peers, and your team. If you have a large organization, share it with your entire department in an all-hands meeting. Sharing your leadership journey allows you to model three powerful leadership tools at once: reflection, storytelling, and lifelong learning. Take your audience through your career, and tell the stories that have molded your leadership philosophy. Stories make your lessons come alive and cast you in a favorable light, as they generally involve you having learned from mistakes. Share your journey with pride—these are lessons that have had a profound impact on you, and sharing them candidly demonstrates that you’re open to learning from the lessons that lie ahead.

In my career, I’ve helped dozens of leaders create and present their leadership journeys, and the process has been beneficial every time. People love the framework because it helps them establish authenticity, which is critical for leaders. The process is particularly effective with leaders who have a reputation for being “hard to read” because the personal journey tends to showcase them as regular people. Sometimes, the leaders I work with are reluctant to build a robust story; they think they’re bragging about their background or, worse yet, aren’t proud of some of their career choices. The fact is, your journey is your journey—those are the stops you made along the way. Don’t apologize for them. Every experience helped shape who you are today. Besides, the more important stories involve critical incidents and lessons learned—the very instances you should emphasize and use to grab the audience’s attention.

By studying where you’ve been, and what you’ve learned, you can better chart the course of your future development. What leadership lessons do you still need to learn? What traps do you want to avoid? What experiences do you need to add to your story? Reflect on your own journey by writing and telling your leadership story, and you’ll create a more vivid roadmap for self-development going forward.

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Bootstrap Takeaways

Document Your Leadership Journey

1. Create your own leadership story by mapping your critical experiences and lessons learned. Pick out the memorable moments and be specific.

2. Share your leadership journey with others—practice telling your story.

3. Use the past to plan the future—what do you still need (and want) to learn?

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Endorsements

"With a refreshingly simple approach to leadership development, Steve Arneson has written an engaging, practical guide. If you want to take your leadership game to another level, Bootstrap Leadership will show you the way."

--Tom Mathews, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Time Warner Cable

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