Praise for The Truth About Being a Leader
“If you ever met Dr. Otazo, you certainly would read her new Truth book. She is as she writes—engaging, pithy, memorable. Take ‘Truth 33: Questions Unite; Answers Divide.’ Now ain’t that the truth. And there are 51 other bon mots just like it. Open the book. Read a truth. You will smile, reflect, and be a better leader for it.”
—Paul McLoughlin, The Krow Show with Paul McLoughlin, aka ‘the work_wonk,’ Live Online Radio, Wednesdays, 1 pm Eastern, .VoiceAmericaBusiness.com
“This is a sharply written book with smart insights into the business world. Dr. Otazo is blunt, honest, and concise—exactly the advice a real leader needs.”
“The Truth About Being a Leader is a book that offers practical advice about the very difficult and elusive art of leadership. Dr. Otazo’s book offers real lessons for anyone who is tasked to lead people!”
—Marc Morial, CEO, National Urban League
“This book takes you on a tour ‘behind closed doors’ of the landscape of leadership. Just as great military leaders have to know the ground where a future battle will take place, you as an aspiring leader will need to know about the terrain that is covered in this book. And the scope of the landscape here is impressive. It is not just the expected areas such as vision, communication, and team work, but also the important and often undiscussable matters such as how to select an assistant, the role of BS, and the care and use of your body as a leadership act. You can either hire Dr. Otazo as an executive coach to impart her years of wisdom from working with great leaders—or you can read this compelling book and get the secrets here.”
—Douglas T. (Tim) Hall Professor of Organizational Behavior, Director, Executive Development Roundtable, Boston University School of Management
“Dr. Otazo has written a must-have book for leaders and would-be leaders! This gem of a book contains concise, easy-to-navigate chapters and useful tips. Best of all, she has included additional reading as reference for those who want more. The book explains the fundamental elements of leadership in a direct manner. If you are a leader or see yourself as one, this book offers practical and honest ways to succeed. Otazo has created a tool that can be referenced again and again.”
—Ellen Susman, Producer/Host of PBS television show for women Balancing Your Life with Ellen Susman, www.balancingyourlifeonline.com
“Dr. Otazo tops Jack Welch’s book, On Winning, with both her insight and depth. Amazing...This book is Otazo’s Master Class on leadership.”
—Regina Gill, Head of Advertising Sales Germany/Austria, Financial Times Europe
“I am so impressed with this book. I especially like the point that there is no BS...it is straight to the point, concise, clear, and easy to read. My favorite chapter is ‘A Leader Must Always Be On.’ I have lived with this premise 24 hours a day for 45 years. I like the bathtub and fertilizer ideas!”
—Walter Johnson, Chairman, Amegy Bank of Texas
“In this marvelous book, Dr. Otazo shares her profound wisdom from decades as one of the most respected coaches in the corporate world. Who better to help every aspiring leader become the very best they can be? Practical yet thought provoking, The Truth About Being a Leader creates a holistic way of looking at the roles of the leader. An added bonus is the further reading section—which in 30 pages is a wonderful summary of where the leader can go to learn more.”
—Lynda Gratton Professor of Management Practice, London Business School, AIM Fellow
“Leading is about choices. We get them right or make mistakes. What informs our decisions are our frameworks and experiences. Dr. Otazo gives us a rich mix of both. She is clear and crisp, practical and theoretical. Help yourself make your choices. Read and study this book to find a tool kit for the ‘nuts and bolts’ of leading. She delivers a treasure chest of perspectives and insights for all leaders. So whether for the ‘mechanic’ or the ‘architect’ leader, or whether you’re an advanced, learning, remediating, or novice leader, this book’s for you and for all of us who lead.”
—John D. Hofmeister, President and U.S. Country Chair, Shell Oil Company
“The simple truth is that everyone who is, or aspires to be, in a leadership position should keep this book close to hand at all times. An excellent distillation of the essential elements of leadership, this is a practical resource tool that speaks with the voice of a trusted friend and advisor. Clear and concise, this book has something useful to say on just about every facet of leadership. Dr Otazo, in print as in person, is always wise and always pertinent.”
—Rosemarie Wallace, Regional Managing Director, Reader’s Digest Asia
“I very much enjoyed reading The Truth about Being a Leader, which accurately reflects so many of the situations I have encountered in 40 years of business life.”
—Maarten van den Bergh, Chairman Lloyds TSB Group plc
“From her own vast experience as a coach and leader herself, Dr. Otazo has written a book that really does tell the truth about what it takes to be a leader. Those who want a book that will give easy answers about leadership should look elsewhere. The answers given here aren’t the easy ones—but they are the correct ones. This is the book that I will be giving to my own clients in leadership positions—and constantly referring to myself!”
—Mark Forster, Time Management Guru, Author of Get Everything Done and Still have Time to Play and other books
“Put away all those leadership theories and pick up this book. Dr. Otazo presents real issues with pragmatic strategies and immediately actionable tactics. A must-read for experienced and emerging leaders and their coaches.”
—Sheryl Spanier, President, Sheryl Spanier & Company, Leadership coaching guru
“Whereas academics have leadership theory and successful leaders like Jack Welch (‘Winning’) can relate their experiences, Dr. Otazo speaks from having seen what works—and what doesn’t—across thousands of her client managers. This is a very readable, practical manual, chock full of savvy insights and advice.”
—Brad Smart, Author of Topgrading, www.topgrading.com
“Dr. Otazo has allowed the ‘Divine’ to enrich, bless, and empower us with detailed insights that make a difference. Simple tenets for complex times. Elegant prose, proficient wit, sweet charm, and tried and tested expertise is what the global business community needs...now. Like an ancient sage of old, her still gentle prophetic voice crying loud from the wilderness of information clutter and foolishness will guide us. Leaders will sing a ‘new song’ in a strange land.”
—Dr. Alvin Augustus Jones, CEO, Be
“Leadership is no mystery! Dr. Otazo not only breaks the code, she arms her readers with sure-fire, time-tested wisdom. If you dare to grow...read on!”
—Jeff Mosely, CEO Greater Houston Partnership
“The contents of Dr. Otazo’s new book truly live up to its title, The Truth About Being a Leader. The many valuable insights in the book don’t come from theory but from Otazo’s tremendous experience. The good advice ranges from the importance of the leader’s assistant to treating customers as part of the company’s resources to playing it straight with the media.”
—Murray Weidenbaum, Honorary Chairman, Murray Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy, Washington University in St Louis
“In Dr. Otazo’s work, you will find many truths and much practical advice on leadership. This is a book where you can pick your topic and cut to the chase.”
—Courtenay Huff, Partner, Accenture...
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Dr. Karen Otazo is a global executive coach and thinking partner for executives in multinational organizations as well as a leader of seminars for groups interested in maximizing their potential at work. More than 25 years of working in the U.S., China, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Singapore, have given her a broad perspective on the challenges facing executives in companies of all sizes from boutique consulting firms or start-up nonprofits to global corporations, joint ventures, and strategic alliances.
Her results-oriented approach has enabled her to build a blue chip client list that includes Ahold, AlliedSignal, American National Can, Amgen, ARCO, Avery Dennison, BankBoston, Booz Allen Hamilton, Central London Partnership, Chase Bank, Colgate-Palmolive, Colliers, CSFB, Digital, The Economist Group, FMC, Skanska Gammon Construction, General Electric, GlobalOne, Global Marine, Goldman Sachs, Hongkong Land, IBM, Ikea, Jardine Matheson, Lehman Brothers, Marks & Spencer, Motorola, Pixelpark (Bertelsmann), Readers Digest, Schindler, Sprint International, Syngenta, Time/Fortune International, and Vodafone. Many assignments have drawn on her experience with trans-national subsidiaries, joint ventures, and alliances.
Dr. Otazo is author of The Truth About Managing Your Career.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Foreword and Introduction
As an executive coach, author, and keynote speaker, I am constantly on the lookout for books I can recommend to clients and readers that will help them to understand the most fundamental principles of leadership. Each year I read hundreds of books and articles on the topic with the hope that they will provide an honest and practical approach to a challenge many people accept with little or no training, guidance, or support. The Truth About Being a Leader is the book I often search for and rarely find.
That's one reason why I was delighted to write a preface for this book. Another reason is because I am intimately familiar with Dr. Karen Otazo's knowledge and approach to leadership development. Karen coached, mentored, and supported me when I was just starting my consulting practice two decades ago. Always on the cutting edge of professional development, she introduced me to the world of business coaching at a time when most people had never even heard of it. She allowed me to cofacilitate leadership workshops with her, where I learned about concepts and theories I myself had never thought of. And when I balked at conducting a training program in which I had no previous experience, she gave me an outline and insisted I could do it and do it well. In short, she was the ideal coach for a neophyte consultant and now, in this book, she uses her wisdom and insights to coach you on how to be a leader in real time.
I use the term real time because so many authors of leadership books are long on theory and short on practical, immediately useful advice. Among the many lessons I learned from Karen was the importance of providing people with coaching suggestions they can actually see in their mind's eye. She taught me to pretend I had a video camera trained on the person I was coaching. If the camera couldn't see it or hear it, then the person was less likely to be able to implement the advice. The Truth About Being a Leader does just that. Karen's words are so clear and concise that you can actually see or hear yourself engaging in the behavior she suggests. You, the reader, are the beneficiary of her lifetime of experiences as an organizational development executive and global coach. There's one more thing I learned from Karen that this book underscores: that's the importance of having the courage to speak the unspoken. In this book she shares with you the true secrets of leadership success that are frequently overlooked in favor of the theory du jour written by the latest leadership guru.
As hard as it may be to hear, she's right when she suggests "when you reach the top, you cannot afford to be too open with anyone inside or close to your organization." It may not be politically correct to assert "There are times in life, and the workplace, when a little bit of bullshit, or BS, is a good thing," but Karen's right about that, too. In fact, every one of her 52 short, pointed chapters speak the truth. She may not tell you what you want to hear—but it is surely what you need to hear. Just as there is no one right diet to help all people lose weight, one right way to raise children, or one right method for preparing your Thanksgiving turkey, there is no one right way to lead. You should be very suspect of anyone who tells you they have the answers to all of your leadership challenges. In true Karen Otazo fashion, she doesn't pretend to have the magic formula for leadership success. Instead, as she did with me, she gives you lots of things to think about, on-target tips for how to be better tomorrow than you are today, and the confidence that you can be a great leader. Regardless of where you are on your leadership journey, you will find, as I did, that this book an invaluable addition to your leadership library.
Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D.
Leadership isn't just another step in your career; it's a leap across the great divide. Everything changes, even if you stay in the same place. The familiar halls of your organization become a foreign landscape as you navigate new power structures, new demands, and new expectations. Suddenly, you have become a new person: a leader. Your mission? To motivate, align, inform, guide, and support your organization, through good times and bad.
It's easy to think that great leadership is some kind of innate ability or gift, to think that either you have it or you don't. That's not the case. Leadership gurus agree that great leaders are formed through their experiences, not born that way. Nevertheless, leadership is a tough act to jump into without some guidelines. This book gives you the necessary guidance to get you through the hard work, but also a few conjuring tricks or sleights of hand to help you in sticky situations. The good news is that a little effort goes a long way. Think of the 52 short, to-the-point chapters in this book as a deck of cards. You can read and use them in any order. Riffle through the deck and draw what you need to build a strong hand. Use them to stay on your toes, playing one when you need to freshen your thinking. Whether you're a new graduate or an established leader, the truths in this book will help you consider where you are in your career and what else you want to accomplish.
For more than two decades, I have worked with hundreds of leaders worldwide, and I've learned that all leadership situations have truths in common. This book points out the pitfalls and shows you how to avoid them. It levels with you about the challenges of leadership, even those that people are reluctant to discuss. It will be your guide through one of the most challenging and rewarding transitions you'll ever make. You'll learn from the real-life challenges and successes of those who have made the leap.
You are a great doer, or you wouldn't have made it this far. To be a great leader, you need to learn a new game. The Truth About Being a Leader will help you master that game and play it so well that it will look like magic.
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