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The Extraordinary Leader : Turning Good Managers into Great Leaders
John H. Zenger and Joseph Folkman

Retail Price: $32.95
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Format: Hardcover, 336pp.
ISBN: 9780071628082
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Trade
Pub. Date: 2nd Edition - May 29, 2009

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Item No: 9780071628082

Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

An expanded, more global edition of the leadership classic.

When it was first published in 2002, The Extraordinary Leader immediately drew a large, loyal audience drawn to the authors ground-breaking research and their focus on the importance of maximizing and balancing strengths, as opposed to merely correcting weaknesses. Now, Zenger and Folkman have updated the book to include brand-new research findings; a broader, more global outlook; and new chapters regarding the core topic of strengths. The result is an indispensable handbook arming leaders with the tools they need to excel in the increasingly competitive global economy.

From the first edition:

A No-Nonsense, Battle-Tested Program for Developing Exceptional Leadership Skills—Both In Your Organization and Yourself

The ability to lead, far more than just a natural gift, is a concrete and learnable skill­­ - one that can be acquired by studying and applying specific proficiencies and attitudes. The Extraordinary Leader draws on responses from 200,000 questionnaires to define the skills that comprise effective leadership, and then provides a systematic and innovative program for attaining, developing, and implementing those skills.

"Our objective is to provide the reader with an empirical analysis of leadership, a simple and practical conceptual model of what leadership is, and an actionable guide to helping leaders develop 'greatness.'" ­­- From Chapter 1

For too long, the subject of effective leadership has been shrouded in fog and ambiguity. The Extraordinary Leader removes the shroud to reveal leadership as a skill, one that can be consciously learned and developed by anyone. This breakthrough book identifies the competencies necessary for effective leadership, not by guessing or postulating but by analyzing the responses of tens of thousands of workforce members as they describe, in effect, "What makes a great leader?"

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman­­ - two of today's preeminent leadership experts­­analyze the answers and provide a broad and universal model for achieving exceptional results. They outline the five core competencies that form the basis for successful leadership and detail techniques that include:
  • Methods that top organizations use to develop leaders from within their own ranks
  • Key competencies that leaders must have­­and techniques for mastering them
  • Practical steps for developing your own leadership skills

A major weakness in most leadership development programs has been the tendency to aim low and strive for incremental improvements in individual areas of weakness. When the results inevitably fail to impact the bottom line, organizations abandon programs as unsuccessful­­and again resume their misguided focus on uncovering and eliminating leadership weaknesses instead of identifying and developing leadership strengths. The Extraordinary Leader instead focuses on the ability­­in fact the necessity­­for individuals to hone their leadership competencies in multiple areas, and organizations to develop great leaders in as many areas as possible. It provides research-based strategies for strengthening leadership both in individuals and in organizations and, in the process, delivers a solid yet flexible leadership development program that will provide long-term value to virtually any organization.


"The Extraordinary Leader attacks cherished but unsupportable assumptions, and does it persuasively, precisely, and professionally. Through their exceptional research the authors demonstrate and prove that leadership does make a difference, and that you can learn to lead."
—James M. Kouzes, Chairman Emeritus, Tom Peters Company, Coauthor, The Leadership Challenge and Encouraging the Heart

"Extraordinarily readable! This book represents some of the best thinking on leadership I've seen in a long while."
—E. David Spong, President, Military Aerospace Support, The Boeing Company

"This is a 'must read' for coaches, leaders, and those who develop them. The Extraordinary Leader goes beyond anecdotes or 'war stories,' it builds upon comprehensive research. It is destined to be a classic in our field."
—Marshall Goldsmith, Named by Forbes as one of five top executive coaches and one of Wall Street Journal's "Top 10" executive educators

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About the Authors

John H. Zenger, D.B.A., is the vice chairman of Provant, Inc., the worlds largest performance skills improvement company. One of todays most authoritative voices on the topics of performance and leadership, he is the author or coauthor of six books, including Results-Based Leadership­­honored as the best book of 2000 by the Society of Human Resource Management.

Joseph Folkman, Ph.D., is managing director of Novations Group, Inc., a Provant company. He is the author of three books: Turning Feedback Into Change, Making Feedback Work, and Employee Surveys That Make a Difference.

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