8 Leadership Tips from Real Leaders
Tell us something about yourself.
When I was in fourth grade, Mrs. Hogeboom called me to the blackboard and asked me to write the week’s spelling words. When I finished, she stood back and announced, “You, my dear, have schoolteacher’s handwriting.”
BOOM! My fate was sealed. Not only did I become a teacher, my next two sisters in birth order did as well. It wasn’t long before I moved from the high school English classroom, to the university/corporate classroom. There, I found distributing books was more professional a gesture than distributing handouts. And so, my book-writing career was born.
What inspired you to write this book?
A phone call from the publisher, for whom I’d written several other books.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
English teacher all flirt with the idea of writing a book. My very first, The Language of Leadership, was named a Main Selection by the Executive Book Club. It began this way:
Part of my curriculum for a management course I teach includes a list of “organizational oxymorons.” To illustrate, we, as a nation admire the rugged John Wayne/Lone Ranger type of self-sufficiency and yet we are endlessly encouraged to be “team players.” We are expected to “do more with less,” and other such confusing things. In fact, Harvard professor Charles Handy has written that we live in an “age of paradox.” By extension, the writer putting his or her book out there to survive amid (or succumb to) the competing forces in the publishing world needs to handle a paradox of his or her own. Namely, the author has to find a book that will appeal to large numbers and yet make the content (and title) so singular that no other book already out there quite parallels this writer’s view.
Drawing on my own experience, I learned early on that I needed to find that popular-yet-unique niche. In my case, I knew there were a great many books out there about leadership. And, a great many books out there about language. But….I had never seen a book that looked at leadership from the linguistic perspective. The book concept was based on curriculum for a course I was teaching at National University. I took large chunks of that curriculum and revised it to make it fit the construct I had established, viz., an examination of leadership via language. In my course, I had students analyze famous speeches to determine what stylistic elements were used repeatedly by various famous people. While writing the book, I needed to place those elements within the context of the business world. And so, I began collecting examples from prominent figures to include in the book.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
Proofreading. I hate the tedium and, impatient creature that I am, I typically rush through it.
How do you do research for your books?
It all depends on the topic. Some require no research at all; some, a great deal of imagining; and some, of course, research to substantiate the points being made.
Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?
Ever so much. If you are not learning from your interviewees, you’ve chosen the wrong people to interview. Here’s just one sentence from a Brazilian entrepreneur, Maria Cristina Vondrak: “”Facing the challenges of the 21w century will require more than talented CEOs, engaged Presidents, and dedicate Prime Ministers–it will demand a leader in every home, every school, place of worship and job.” Here’s another from Linda Shaffer-Vanaria, a retired U.S. Navy commander: “I learned to know and understand the pulse of y organization at the heartfelt level.”
What are you reading now?
E. L. Doctorow’s Homer and Langley
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
Well-written fiction and arresting non-fiction (Malcolm Gladwell, for example). I’ll read anything Oprah recommends.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I have ideas running around but I think the publishing industry has so much competition in the form of ebooks, self-published books, and Kindle offerings that it’s harder now to get a book published than it was when I first started. Most of the writing I do nowadays is in the form of articles.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
About writing: hone your grammar skills so you can write without thinking of the mechanics of it all. Then, study the writers you admire. Analyze, don’t try to imitate their style. See what words and then incorporate those stylistic devices into your own
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
Google or www.caroselli.biz.