Summary of The Taboos of Leadership

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Anthony F. Smith discusses common workforce taboos that can create organizational problems for leaders. These taboos – from sensitive subjects like nepotism or sexism to sacred corporate myths like the superhuman CEO – provoke such strong reactions that many people can’t even discuss them or admit the truth about them. Emotion simply stands in the way. Smith does a good job of helping leaders see both sides of these issues and explains how failure to address them may be holding back your organization. He offers hints about ways to discuss them constructively. Even if you don’t act on all these issues, you will benefit from being more aware of them and their ramifications. getAbstract recommends this book to leaders who want to avoid being blindsided by sacred cows and shibboleths. If it isn’t a must-read, it is certainly a should-read.

About the Author

Writer and researcher Anthony F. Smith has contributed to many books and periodicals. He is the co-founder and managing director of the Leadership Research Institute.



Taboos and Your Leadership Role

You know that you cannot discuss certain emotion-laden topics in your workplace. However, avoiding touchy issues carries a cost. Leaders need to weigh every factor that affects their organizations. Convention, fads, political correctness and cultural inertia are not strong enough reasons to keep any subject off limits. While the discussion may not be easy, if you handle 10 major flammable topics with openness and sensitivity, you should be able to throw light on your corporate taboos without releasing too much heat. Certainly the past has plenty to teach any company; corporate traditions usually develop because specific behaviors proved beneficial. But times change. What worked then might not work now.

Do not let misplaced reverence choke your opportunities. You will gain legitimacy as an executive if you demonstrate respect for your organization’s heritage and culture, and then do your real job: Act as a leader, not as a curator. Many great business leaders have had to overthrow the past and remake the present to accommodate their visions of the future. They took steps they believed would boost their businesses and improve the lives...

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