Leadership and the Art of Struggle

Leadership and the Art of Struggle

The Must Read Leadership book of 2013 from Steven Snyder with a foreword by best selling author Bill George.

Leadership and the Art of Struggle shatters leadership myths to reveal a new understanding of  how exceptional leaders grow from adversity. Accelerate your leadership development through this powerful lens.

The image that effective leaders guide their organizations on perpetually smooth journeys, quite simply, defies reality. Leadership is often a struggle, and yet there are strong taboos that keep us from talking openly and honestly about our struggles for fear of looking weak and lacking confidence.

These social mores reinforce the notion that leaders are supposed to be perfect, and that struggle is inherently bad, something to be ashamed about. Many emerging leaders internalize this to their own detriment. When they encounter difficult or stressful situations, they think, “Something must be wrong with me. I’m not like all the other successful leaders out there.”

Exceptional leaders intuitively understand the paradox. They know it’s precisely struggle that unlocks the potential for the greatest growth. Instead of denying struggle, these leaders embrace struggle as an opportunity for learning, as an art to be mastered.

In his book, Leadership and the Art of Struggle, Steven Snyder synthesizes their learning into an accessible, practical set of strategies to understand leadership tensions, boost performance, and increase leadership capabilities. Leadership and the Art of Struggle paints a realistic portrait of how great leaders navigate intense challenges for personal growth and organizational success.

“When we peer through this new lens, the lens of struggle, we notice different things, a visceral understanding of the human condition and how it connects with leadership, awakening fresh possibilities previously obscured or hidden.”
— Steven Snyder

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Hear the real-world struggles that rocked leaders to their core at companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Target, Best Buy, Toro, Wells Fargo, and General Mills—and learn how they moved forward from adversity to become more meaningful, more capable, and more effective leaders.

A Breakthrough Book for All Leaders

Leadership and the Art of Struggle begins a new conversation about leadership, starting with a fundamentally different premise that struggle and leadership are intertwined. It is the very striving to make important human values real and effective that is core to the practice of leadership.

Distilling his breakthrough understanding of leadership struggle, Snyder focuses on three core tenets:

  1. All of leadership struggle involves some aspect of change.
  2. Change creates tension, which is central to understanding struggle.
  3. Change unsettles leaders and throws them off balance.

Snyder explains that once leaders make sense of the chaos rendered by change, it’s possible to see patterns not evident before. Then they devise creative strategies for moving forward, illuminating blind spots, approaching conflict in an entirely new way, and forming a deeper understanding of leadership purpose.

While most leadership models focus on what and how, Leadership and the Art of Struggle explores why—delving into the underlying motivations to find purpose and identifying the energy that drives leaders in the larger human experience.

“Ignoring our weaknesses during a struggle can be a path to disaster. By acknowledging that we are all imperfect, we give voice to a fundamental truth about the human condition, opening pathways for compassion, forgiveness, and healing—constructs which are often omitted in technocratic models of leadership.”
— Steven Snyder

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Based on extensive accounts of over 151 examples of leadership struggle drawn through dozens of interviews with extraordinary leaders, Leadership and the Art of Struggle explores change, and the stress or imbalance that results from it, as well as the opportunities for growth. Snyder lays out practical strategies to:

  • Recognize underlying tension points
  • Break out of old habits and align new ones with true values
  • Observe reactionary patterns and habits
  • Use reflection for finding meaning and direction

By mastering the art of struggle, leaders meet life’s challenges and adversities, focusing their energies on what matters most.

Accelerate Leadership Development

Anyone in any leadership role, from a school committee to a multinational corporation, can increase leadership capabilities and effectiveness by understanding the importance of struggle.

Contact Snyder Leadership Group to learn how Leadership and the Art of Struggle and our team of proven leadership professionals can help you accelerate leadership development.