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Leading Leaders

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Leading Leaders

How to Manage Smart, Talented, Rich, and Powerful People


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Earn the trust of leaders by convincing them that their interests are yours.

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


This refreshing little book on leadership takes an unusual tack by focusing on how to lead leaders. This kind of leadership, says author Jeswald W. Salacuse, is different from all others. However, he explains, leaders occur at every level of an organization, so managers throughout the hierarchy will find his principles applicable. Salacuse’s core idea is that you must discover the interests of those you wish to lead and then make it clear to them that you are serving their interests. This requires listening, personal attention, framing your objectives in their terms, and respecting their freedom and autonomy. Salacuse illustrates his ideas with examples drawn from history and contemporary politics. recommends adding Salacuse’s book to your leadership library.


Leading Leaders Is Unique

Leading leaders is not like leading the masses. You cannot rely on your personal charisma, the formal authority of your position, your power to award bonuses or impose financial penalties, or any other form of coercion.

Leading leaders requires you to tread carefully, and to exercise the ultimate in political strategy and diplomatic skills. This kind of leadership is challenging because leaders are not ordinary people. They are unique:

  • They are smart, talented, powerful people who have alternatives - Threatening to fire them is pointless - in fact, your most difficult challenge may be persuading them to stay with your organization.
  • They often have an ownership stake in the institution - They may be partners in a law firm or investment bank, or major shareholders in a corporation. Because they have selected you to lead them, they perceive you as working for them, rather than the other way around.
  • They have followers of their own - Leaders such as elected officials, executive directors of NGOs or trade union officers are responsible to their constituents and respond first to their needs.
  • They are loyal to a...

About the Author

Jeswald W. Salacuse is the Henry J. Brinker Professor of Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

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