Leaders come to their positions from many directions; some travel multiple leadership paths in their careers; others may choose one path early on; some change paths as they switch careers or as they become a first-time leader. Wherever you are in your leadership journey, the key insights offered in Six Paths to Leadership will help you navigate to your destination. Our six paths framework, based on ideas developed from decades of professional work and supported with more recent conversations with dozens of leaders across sectors, geographies and contexts, makes a strong case that leadership is not “one size fits all” for either the person, or for the mode of entry into the role. There are important distinctions across the six leadership paths, and understanding them may provide value for both emerging and experienced leaders. Read more about the INSIDER (promoted), the OUTSIDER (hired), the REPRESENTATIVE (elected), the PROXY (appointed), the CREATOR (founder) and the LEGACY (family). Considering the lessons from these paths will help leaders to be more effective from the first steps on their own path and the twists and turns that follow. Join us on this journey, and share your stories with us as you navigate your own path.

Six Paths to Leadership offers its readers

Insights from influential leaders across multiple paths and varied backgrounds, including executives, politicians, high-level government appointees, founders, and family business leaders

Stories and strategies to optimize leader effectiveness

Tools and templates to support leaders as they navigate the six distinct paths

Critical Leadership Insights and Strategies

The paths that leaders walk significantly influence their success, offering differential opportunities and challenges. While conventional wisdom suggests that leadership styles and approaches may be equally effective across all situations, our research asserts the importance of employing strategies more specifically aligned with the leader’s context.

This book offers critical insights and strategies, currently missing from the repertoire of leaders and their supporters, for managing across six distinct paths into leadership positions: promoted (insider), hired (outsider), elected (representative), appointed (proxy), founder (creator), and family (legacy). It illustrates lessons drawn from within and across paths, presented through themes, quotes, and stories drawn from interviews with over 65 successful leaders (executives, politicians, entrepreneurs, and more). While it is evident that these paths differ, those who study, hire, mentor, and coach leaders rarely consider the distinctions, nor suggest what may be learned across the paths.

Most leaders will cross from one path to another over the course of their career. The emerging leaders, HR professionals, researchers, and coaches among this book’s readers will learn not only from those who have traveled one particular path, but also from those trekking in other directions. Some executives interviewed for the book worked their way up the ladder in one company, only to be recruited to fill a C-suite position in another company. Others were appointed to high-level government positions after stints as elected officials. Such moves reveal both commonalities and distinctions across the six paths.


What are you waiting for?

By reading this book, leaders and those who support them will develop greater self-awareness about each path so they can better leverage and manage their new challenges and opportunities from the first day in their new leadership position. Buy this book if you are a …

  • Leader (current or emerging) who wants to understand opportunities and strategies for effectiveness
  • Coach developing leaders along the many paths
  • HR manager responsible for career support
  • Scholar seeking to understand and critique

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