Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps: How to Thrive in Complexity

Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps: How to Thrive in Complexity

by Jennifer Garvey Berger

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Author and consultant Jennifer Garvey Berger has worked with all types of leaders—from top executives at Google to nonprofit directors who are trying to make a dent in social change. She hears a version of the same plea from every client in nearly every sector around the world: "I know that complexity and uncertainty are testing my instincts, but I don't know which to trust. Is there some way to know what to do when I can't know what's next?"

Her newest work is an answer to this plea. Using her background in adult development, complexity theories, and leadership consultancy, Garvey Berger discerns five pernicious and pervasive "mind traps" to frame the book. These are: the desire for simple stories, our sense that we are right, our desire to get along with others in our group, our fixation with control, and our constant quest to protect and defend our egos. In addition to understanding why these natural impulses steer us wrong in a fast-moving world, leaders will get powerful questions and approaches that help them escape these patterns.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781503609785
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Publication date: 01/29/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 168
Sales rank: 227,994
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Jennifer Garvey Berger believes that leadership is one of the most vital renewable resources in the world. At a time when organizations are often forging the path rather than following the path of others, leadership is about creating the conditions for people to be their most creative, connected, intelligent selves. She is a founding partner and CEO of Cultivating Leadership, a consultancy that serves executives and executive teams in the private, non-profit, and government sectors around the world. Her clients include Google, Microsoft, Novartis, Wikipedia, and Oxfam International. Jennifer designs and teaches leadership programs, coaches senior teams, and supports new ways of thinking about strategy and people with clients facing these dramatic shifts in complexity, volatility, and change in their workplaces and markets. She blends deep theoretical knowledge with a driving quest for practical ways to make leaders' lives better. Jennifer holds a doctorate in adult development from Harvard University, where she studied under and worked with acclaimed developmental psychologist Robert Kegan. She was an Associate Professor at George Mason University before she left the academy on a mission to connect powerful research and the people doing real work in the world.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 The Five Quirks and How They Become Traps 4

2 Trapped by Simple Stories: Your Desire for a Simple Story Blinds You to a Real One 21

3 Trapped by Rightness: Just Because It Feels Right Doesn't Mean It Is Right 40

4 Trapped by Agreement: Longing for Alignment Robs You of Good Ideas 58

5 Trapped by Control: Trying to Take Charge Strips You of Influence 74

6 Trapped by Ego: Shackled to Who You Are Now, You Can't Reach for Who You'll Be Next 92

7 Building a Ladder to Escape the Mindtraps 112

Notes 137

Selected Bibliography 143

About the Author 147

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