in Books/Reviews, Improvement & Development, Leadership, Leading Change

In Review: Leadership and the Art of Struggle by Steven Snyder

When we look back at our careers and lives, what do we remember the most? When I asked this question to some of my friends and colleagues, most of them told me vivid stories about their struggles and how they dealt with challenges to came out victorious. One of the friends nailed it when he said, “It is our struggles that make our lives worth living. Where is the fun if everything is hunky dory.

We grow through our struggles. They shape us a great deal. They bring out the best within us. Yet, most people dread when they are facing struggle. They complain, curse, doubt their capabilities and worst: they quit.

I had an opportunity to read Steven Snyder’s new book titled “Leadership and the Art of Struggle” this week. In this terrific book, Steve has shared a wealth of knowledge that he gathered, specially during his association as an early leader at Microsoft. The book shares some very interesting real-life stories about leadership struggle along with ways to navigate these challenges and grow.

Here are some of the interesting snippets from the book:

“Change stands at the heart of leadership struggle. Every struggle is triggered by some type of change. Perhaps, a leader initiates change by envisioning a new direction for organization; struggle may emerge from forces that stand in opposition of that vision….. External change, whether desired or not, always carries with it seeds of opportunity and growth…..In still other cases, change comes from deep within a leader’s inner world. As the heart and the mind expand to take in new ideas, feelings, and perspectives, struggle comes from the process of clarifying newly emerging values and identity.”

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“As an art, leadership struggle cannot be reduced to a single sound bite or simple formula, but a key concept is this: the more self-aware you are, the more capable you will be of adaptively channeling your behavior.”

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The choices you make – large and small – are the most vivid expression of your leadership. They reflect who you are as a person. It’s one thing to talk about your values, but through the actions you take and choices you make, they become visible for the whole world to see.”

There are many books on leadership but a few talk about the struggle of leadership. This book does not attempt to provide a clear roadmap to navigate through these struggles. Instead, it outlines some key concepts that can help you in looking at your struggles differently, be adaptive, understand your leadership blind spots and grow through those struggles.

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Also read: Other Book Reviews at QAspire Blog