Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Non-Fiction: Landing in the Executive Chair by Linda Henman

So you scrabble and you scramble and you poke and prod and push your way to the top. You step on all the heads necessary to take the big corner office and, once you get there, you sit back with a big scary sigh and say, “What now?”

As Fortune 500 consultant author Linda Henman says, “Prior to stepping into an executive role, the advice you might have followed may have been, ‘Show up. Keep up. Shut up.’ Though extremely good advice for a golf caddy, one-third of it is extraordinarily bad for an executive.”

All right, then: if not that, then what? Because, as Henman points out, there simply is no “universally accepted definition of leadership, much less executive leadership, [that] actually exists,” and since, as Henman remarks later, “the qualities traditionally associated with leadership, such as intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision are required for success, they don’t offer a complete picture of what leadership requires.” What, then, is a struggling new executive to do?

In Landing in the Executive Chair (Career Press), Henman strips it all down to basics. Executive 101 sounds like an oversimplification, but -- at certain points -- that’s pretty much what we’re talking about here. This is a how-to book for a demographic you never figured need one. And maybe they didn’t, until now. According to Henman, the next generation of executives will face unprecedented challenges. Lucky for them, Henman and Landing in the Executive Chair are here to hold your hand. ◊

Aaron Blanton is a contributing editor to January Magazine. He’s currently working on a book based on his experiences as an American living abroad.

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