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Leadership and the Art of Struggle: How Great Leaders Grow Through Challenge and Adversity
Steven Snyder

Retail Price: $19.95
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Format: Paperback, 216pp.
ISBN: 9781609946449
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Pub. Date: March 11, 2013

Average Customer Review:
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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Leadership and the Art of Struggle shatters leadership myths to reveal a new understanding of how exceptional leaders grow from adversity. The image that effective leaders guide their organizations on perpetually smooth journeys quite simply defies reality. Leadership is often a struggle, and yet strong taboos keep us from talking openly and honestly about our struggles for fear of looking weak and seeming to lack confidence.

Exceptional leaders intuitively understand the paradox. They know it’s precisely struggle that unlocks the potential for the greatest growth. Instead of denying struggle, these leaders embrace struggle as an opportunity for learning, as an art to be mastered.

Leadership and the Art of Struggle paints a realistic portrait of how great leaders navigate intense challenges for personal growth and organizational success. Through 150 stories of leadership struggle drawn from nearly 100 interviews, as well as from his experiences as an early executive at Microsoft, a CEO of a public company, and an executive coach, Steven Snyder derives mastery strategies for welcoming struggle as an integral part of your leadership journey. To help you implement each of these strategies, he offers a host of unique tools and specific, hands-on practices. You’ll learn how to cultivate the best mindset for confronting challenges, explore multiple tactics for dealing with struggle, and keep your energy high so you can continue to learn and grow.

Leadership and the Art of Struggle begins a new conversation about leadership. The very striving to make important human values real and effective is core to the practice of leadership. By mastering the art of struggle, leaders meet life’s challenges and adversities, focusing their energies on what matters most.


“Leadership and the Art of Struggle provides you with the opportunity to learn from Snyder’s remarkable wisdom. It is a living guide that you can return to time and time again as new situations arise.”
—From the foreword by Bill George, former CEO, Medtronic; Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School; and author of the bestselling True North

“Steven Snyder’s Leadership and the Art of Struggle is the must-read leadership book of the year. It is one of the most intelligent, revealing, and practical books on the subject I have ever read. It confronts a vital truth about leadership: that challenge is the crucible for greatness and that these adversities introduce us to ourselves. Buy this book immediately, read it with a sense of urgency, and apply it with the commitment of a disciple. You and those you work with will benefit greatly when you do.”
—Jim Kouzes, coauthor of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge

“Steven Snyder covers all the bases from channeling your energy to managing conflict, including a great segment about overcoming your leadership blind spots. Leadership and the Art of Struggle is full of real-life examples of leaders who emerged from tough times better and stronger than before. This encouraging book is a must-read!”
—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager and Great Leaders Grow

“The leadership journey is rewarding but definitely not easy. Leadership and the Art of the Struggle gives you clear and compelling advice on transforming pitfalls into possibilities.”
—Jodee Kozlak, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Target

“A very fresh and inspiring perspective that constructively embraces the natural tensions that all leaders encounter every day. I heartily recommend it to any leader who aspires to lead and contribute more fully.”
—Douglas R. Conant, former President, CEO, and Director, Campbell Soup Company, and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller TouchPoints

“Steven courageously confronts the element of struggle, which is frequently overlooked in all the leadership hoopla. It’s time we had an open and honest conversation about this integral and vital aspect of leadership.”
—Ken Melrose, former CEO, Toro

“Steven guides you on a journey that can be deeply fulfilling as well as enlightening. I recommend this book for any leader who wants to engage more authentically and constructively in a complex and ever-changing world.”
—Mary Brainerd, CEO, HealthPartners

“Leadership and the Art of Struggle contains compelling stories of great leaders who have struggled with various facets of their leadership responsibility. It offers practical advice and tools to help you deal more effectively with the inevitable struggles of leadership.”
—Trudy Rautio, President and CEO, Carlson

“If you are leading an organization of any kind today or desire to lead one in the future, you need to read this book.”
—Frank Russomanno, former CEO, Imation

“Snyder has opened an intriguing and insightful portal into the challenge of leadership. You’ll be inspired and invigorated with ideas that you can immediately put into action.”
—Kevin Wilde, Chief Learning Officer, General Mills, and author of Dancing with the Talent Stars

“Life in a start-up is chaotic, intense, and unpredictable. Snyder knows this world well and gives you sage advice on how to remain grounded, focused, and energized. This is a book that every entrepreneur or would-be entrepreneur should read.”
—Michael Gorman, Managing Director, Split Rock Partners

“Snyder boldly tackles a subject that every leader needs to master. Sometimes leadership is a struggle, and these are the times that really put us to the test. This insightful book will teach you how to thrive during life’s most challenging moments.”
—Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times bestselling author of Mojo and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

“This book resonates to the core. It gives us grounding and offers precise practices for locating our work deep in the soul. Steven makes the dive into the waters of purposeful living and leading deep and attractive. What a delightful dive!”
—Richard Leider, bestselling author of The Power of Purpose and coauthor of Repacking Your Bags

“The French writer Albert Camus tells us, ‘In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer.’ Snyder wisely observes that we can best strike a blow against tragedy and disappointment by using them as inspiration to make a positive difference in the lives of others through our personal leadership.”
—-Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chairman, Carlson

“This is the right book for these times. Leadership has become more difficult in the chaotic world we live in; Steven acknowledges that and draws on his own deep experience and the lessons learned of others to help any new, aspiring, or well-worn leader!”
—Beverly Kaye, founder of Career Systems International and coauthor of Love ’Em or Lose ’Em and Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go

readers index
Reader's Index 
Send us your favorite quotes or passages from this book.

• "When we peer through this new lens, the lens of struggle, we notice different things, a visceral understanding of the human condition and how it connects with leadership, awakening fresh possibilities previously obscured or hidden.”


About the Author

Steven Snyder is cultivator-in-chief of the Snyder Leadership Group, a leadership development consulting firm. He is also an executive fellow in leadership at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Snyder was an early executive at Microsoft, where he managed the company’s relationship with IBM and was the general manager of a business unit. Later, Snyder became CEO of the Internet startup Net Perceptions, where he won the World Technology Award for Commerce.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Bill Georgeix
Introduction 1
Part I Becoming Grounded11
1Struggle is Not a Four'Letter Word12
2Adaptive Energy31
3Turn Your Energy into Adaptive Energy43
4Make Sense of a Chaotic World 56
5Regain Balance75
Part II Exploring New Pathways93
6Navigate Tensions 94
7Illuminate Blind Spots112
8Transcend Conflict132
9Discover Purpose and Meaning through Struggle149
Part III Deepening Adaptive Energy 165
10Peer Into the Future 166
11Savor the Marathon174
Additional Resources191
About the Author205

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