!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: John Baldoni on Leading Up

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

John Baldoni on Leading Up

Earlier this year John Baldoni, a leadership consultant, published Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up. If you were to read the book, you wouldn't find anything astonishing or entirely novel. Baldoni's strength is in making the case for this key point: middle managers need to be willing and able to take initiative.

For instance, in the prologue (pdf) to his book, Baldoni argues:
Leading up is a form of managing up, but with a difference. Managing up denotes administrative work; leading up implies initiative. Both are essential to leading your boss effectively. Both practices are focused on helping the leader do his job better. But in leading up, the person leading up demonstrates a degree of selflessness so that the organization can benefit.
Baldoni addresses himself to senior leaders, too. He tells them:
You should encourage leadership from the middle ranks. Skeptics may think that leadership from below will undermine a CEO’s authority. Reality dictates the opposite. When managers in the middle are taking ownership of issues, making decisions, and becoming accountable for results, then senior managers have the freedom to think and act strategically without getting bogged down in tactical matters. Organizations must be filled with people who can think for themselves as well as act with initiative and make good things happen. Such behaviors allow each level of management to engage strategically as well as execute tactically. Developing leaders who can lead from the middle is sound management practice. Not only does it create a stronger organization in the short run, it prepares emerging leaders to be more equipped for senior leadership positions. This practice time and again gives people more room to employ their talents as well as to hone their skills.
In addition to reading the prologue to Lead Your Boss, you can familiarize yourself with the themes of the book by watching the 2:32 video below, in which Baldoni outlines his main points.