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The Myth of Leadership: Creating Leaderless Organizations Hardcover – 31 May 2004

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4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews from

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A book that challenges my thinking keeps me reading. Therefore, I recommend this book. Provides practitioners with a useful model. (Training Media Review)

Arguing that "rank-based hierarchies" are counterproductive, the author uses real world examples to demonstrate this principle. (Forecast)

Offers guidance as to how companies can gradually introduce peer-based concepts. (CIO Magazine)

The book outlines how rank-based organizations develop, and identifies three management vehicles you need to start a peer-based organization. (HR Magazine)

Though readers ask how this idea would work in reality, there is no doubt...not a bad place to start. (Training Magazine)

Very timely and powerful. This is serious brain food for business and one of the best books of the year! (The CEO Refresher)

What is worth paying attention to here is his belief that organizations invest too much power in senior leadership. (CIO Insight)

What you'll learn: Peer-based thinking and decision-making organizations are more effective than rank-based, bureaucratic firms. (Chicago Tribune)

Jeffrey Nielsen cogently points out that the emperor-leader has threadbare clothes, and at the same time he empowers the rest of the workforce with the broadcloth of effective, peer-based teamwork. Buy one copy for yourself, another for your boss, and go to work! (Stirling Adams, Associate General Counsel, Novell, Inc.)

Nielsen's insights made all the difference for us. Dissolving rank-based leadership and sharing previously closely held information unleashed and empowered everyone in our organization. The company was reinvented and launched is a new and prosperous direction. (Larry Ruff, Founder and CEO, No More Mortgage!)

A revolutionary work. Nielsen outlines an escape from the ego-nomics of today's organizations. Without change, the cost of feeding these beasts will devour us. Nielsen tells us how to avoid being their next meal. (Robert G. Crawford, Associate Professor, Marriott School, Brigham Young University) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Debunking the leadership myth, Nielsen calls for an end to leader-based corporate hierarchies, which foster secrecy, encourage miscommunication, and steal the joy and dignity from work. His new paradigm is the "peer-based" organization. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 17 Aug. 2016
By Burkean - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this very useful in analyzing the way managers lead.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Insightful Books I�ve Read in a Long Time 6 May 2004
By Lawrence Rasmussen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I found that the book's portrayal of most business organizations as rank-based resonated with my own experience. The author's careful analysis of our assumptions regarding leaders and followers - that he calls the myth of leadership - was truly profound. Other writers have challenged hierarchy and command and control leadership, but no one has struck at the root of the problem as deftly and provocatively as this book does. I liked the three parts of the book, discussing first the context of leadership, second the history of organizational types, and then the strategies for creating peer-based organizations. I found the idea of organizational attractors - modeled on chaos theory - very interesting. I wish the author had said even more about the parallels of attractors in natural systems, like strange attractors, and organizational attractors like the Big Chief and Hierarchical organization. All in all, one of the most insightful books I've read in a long time.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read For Organizational Consultants! 6 May 2004
By Joseph Albey - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book presents some profound ideas with world changing implications, and does it in an easy to read style that completely moved me! I will never view "leaders" or "leadership" as I once did. After reading this book, I have found myself suddenly challenging anyone who glibly used the word "leadership" to promote their agendas. The author's argument that we create a dualistic and unhealthy world whenever we uncritically accept our own leadership over others or their own over us, has completely changed my approach to organizational consulting. His suggestion as well that we do less soft skills training and more hard skills like decision-making and strategic thinking makes sense. I also appreciated his advice to trust more in the tacit wisdom of our own employees over the expertise of outside consultants.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, Inspiring Book 29 April 2004
By Lawrence Rasmussen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book sets out the wonderful possibility of truly meaningful organizational life. As the direct report of a die-hard rank-based leader, I can relate to the author's portrayal of rank-based thinking. At every page, I found myself shaking my head in agreement to the book's description of the waste of human potential in rank-based, big chief and hierarchical companies. I loved the model of peer councils as a new management model for leaderless organizations. The ideas in this book are very timely!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, I Wish I'd Read This in Business School! 18 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I predict that before long everyone will be talking about organizational management and design in terms of rank and peer. The book does a wonderful job comparing and contrasting these two basic types of thinking and relating. It reminds me of the pioneering work of Douglas McGregor and theory x and y, but this book goes deeper into the very nature of leadership as inherently rank-based. Excellent!
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