Summary of How to Be Exceptional

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How to Be Exceptional book summary


8 Overall

9 Applicability

8 Innovation

7 Style


If you’ve ever heard someone praise an executive as a “born leader,” you might wonder if anyone is really born to lead. Not really, according to leadership development consultants John H. Zenger, Joseph R. Folkman, Robert H. Sherwin Jr. and Barbara A. Steel, whose extensive research includes data on 27,000 executives. The authors calculate that approximately 32% of leadership ability is genetically based and that the other 68% depends on other factors, such as developing the skills that leadership requires. The authors explain how their research substantiates the merits of “strengths-based” leadership development and cover how that works and what it can accomplish in building leaders for your organization. While this dense, knowledgeable report is sometimes repetitive, the authors offer useful, convincing expertise and information. getAbstract recommends their guidance to all those who want to become “exceptional leaders” and to organizations that want to foster great leadership.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why your organization needs exceptional leaders;
  • Why focusing on strengths, not weaknesses, is the best way to develop leaders;
  • What skills the 16 core leadership competencies require; and
  • How to use cross-training in leadership development.

About the Authors

John H. Zenger and Joseph R.  Folkman wrote The Inspiring Leader and The Extraordinary Leader. They cofounded Zenger Folkman, where Robert H. Sherwin Jr. is COO and Barbara A. Steel is senior vice president of leadership effectiveness.



Are You an “Exceptional Leader”?
Exceptional leaders are absolutely essential to an organization’s success, but what makes leaders exceptional? Leaders in this category have three to five identifiable, outstanding leadership strengths. Unfortunately, a “fatal flaw” – a negative behavior...

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    Prince Enema 5 years ago
    The summary is ok. I like it, please how can I download this book?
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      Deirdre Cody 5 years ago

      Many thanks for your comment. getAbstract's service doesn't provide full books, but if you would like to purchase this book, you can do so at Amazon:

      If you click on the Buy the Book button on our How to Be Exceptional page, you will find numerous links where you can purchase the hard copy and e-book version of this title.

      I hope this helps. Wishing you a lovely week.

      Kind regards,
      Deirdre Cody
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    Hendrik Steenkamp 5 years ago
    Very insightful - like the fact that individual contributors are not left out... as they often turn out to be exceptional leaders.

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