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Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others by Tacy M. Byham, Richard S. Wellins

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Great leaders know that their success relies on the success of the people they lead.

5Your Leadership Brand, Part 2Bring Out the Best in People and Be Receptive to Feedback

As you'll recall from Chapter 4, successful leaders demonstrate authenticity. In this chapter we'll discuss the other two key differentiators:

  • Bring out the best in people.
  • Be receptive to feedback.

Bring Out the Best in People

We've found that the best leaders have the innate ability to make everyone around them better. As you are new to leadership, we recommend adding Douglas McGregor's 1960 management classic, The Human Side of Enterprise,1 to your reading list. It describes two types of leaders: Theory X and Theory Y. Theory X leaders are known as micromanagers who command and control. In contrast, Theory Y leaders believe that people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, are honest, and can be trusted. Theory Ys are the bosses everybody wants to work for, and the ones who get the most promotions for their people. In times of crisis people tend to gravitate toward these individuals. They are easy to talk to, are receptive to feedback, and care about the people in their charge. And they show it.

Toward the end of the twentieth century, DDI founder Bill Byham penned a humorous fable about Theory X versus Theory Y leadership, titled Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment. It became one of the top-10 business books of the 1990s,2 and its concepts about employee empowerment hold up very well in ...

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