Leading with Uncommon Sense: Slowing Down, Looking Inward, Taking Action

  • 4h 10m
  • Duncan Spelman, Wiley C. Davi
  • Springer
  • 2020

This book offers alternatives to typical leadership, highlighting new ways of thinking about how individuals can lead effectively. Specifically, it integrates several fields, including neuroscience, behavioral economics, mindfulness, cognitive and social psychology, emotional intelligence, and management decision-making. The authors challenge the “common sense,” mainstream thinking about leadership, arguing that effective leadership depends on a more complicated understanding of the underlying dynamics.

When leaders rely on the common sense that they have been taught explicitly or implicitly about leadership, the results are often not effective―for themselves personally, for their followers, for the organizations in which they lead, and for society as a whole. For example, aspiring leaders often believe that the mark of good leaders is their ability to come up with quick answers to problems. Others believe that one’s ability to minimize complexity and uncertainty indicates leadership potential. In addition, despite the literature suggesting the value of engaging in self-reflection, few leaders regularly step back and look inward. Even those who can intellectually discuss emotional intelligence often focus on their ability to influence the emotions of others rather than reflecting on and learning from their own emotions.

The book calls for leaders to operate with more humility and greater awareness of the multiple contexts in which they function―approaches that improve life for all organizational members. As leaders become more effective, they will become healthier and more satisfied, less harried, more grounded, and more fulfilled in their lives.

About the Authors

Wiley C. Davi is Professor of English and Media Studies at Bentley University. She has served as Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences and as Chair of the Department of English and Media Studies. In addition, she serves as a facilitator for Bentley’s Center for Women and Business and for the Erasmus Centre for Women and Organisations (ECWO) Women in Leadership programs run at international companies in Europe.

Duncan Spelman is Professor Emeritus of Management at Bentley University, having served on the faculty for more then 35 years. He acted as the university’s Director of Diversity for many years and was also Chair of the Management Department.

In this Book

  • Introduction
  • Pause
  • Introspect—Be Humble
  • Introspect—Be Emotional
  • Introspect—Be “Impolite”
  • Introspect—Be Uncertain
  • Act
  • Conclusion—Going Forward


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