The Leap to Leader

“I don’t think there’s anyone who has probed more great leaders’ minds, one by one, than Adam Bryant.”
—Bracken Darrell, CEO, Logitech

“One of the most valuable philosophical primers I’ve read for people who want to become leaders.”
—Deborah Bial, founder and President, the Posse Foundation

“If you dream of being an exceptional leader, this book is for you!”
—Bill McDermott, CEO, ServiceNow

The Leap to Leader

Get ready to make the biggest jump of your career.

The chasm separating managers from leaders is widening as the skills required to be an effective leader grow in number and complexity. But you are ambitious. You want to cross that chasm. And your organization needs you to cross it to join its bench of stars who will lead with empathy and humanity and ground the organization’s strategies in a meaningful mission and purpose.

The Leap to Leader is your trusted playbook for making the biggest jump of your career. You will learn from more than one hundred successful leaders who share their powerful insights and compelling stories of how to make the leap, along with practical strategies and tactics for building a loyal following, moving up quickly in your organization to broaden your impact, and making the subtle but crucial mindset shifts that are required to lead—yourself and others—effectively.

The Leap to Leader will serve as a reliable and insightful guide for readers along their leadership journey, built around four foundational sections:

Do You Really Want to Lead? Leadership is not for everyone, and it’s important that you are clear about the challenges of leadership and your motivations before you take on the privilege and responsibility of leading others.

First, Be A Great Manager. Management is a proving ground for future leaders, an important stage for showing that you can be a standout manager who can build loyal and effective teams. This chapter shows you how to navigate the core challenges of the role.

Win Promotions Without Asking For Them. The leap to leader is mostly a mindset shift, but it also means moving up to meaningful positions of leadership and influence. This section shares powerful insights and takeaways on how to make a powerful impact so that you are promoted quickly.

The Leap to Leader. What does it mean to be a leader? Among other things, it requires a high level of self-awareness about your own values; how to make decisions when the answers are unclear; and how to compartmentalize and not get overwhelmed by the responsibilities and pressure of the job.

As senior managing director at The ExCo Group, Adam Bryant has worked directly with hundreds of fast-rising executives, sharing the leadership-development frameworks, tools, and approaches that are at the heart of this book. He draws on the collective wisdom of the one hundred mentors at his firm—all former CEOs or global business leaders—who know what it takes to make the leap to leader. As the creator of the iconic Corner Office column in the New York Times, Bryant has spoken with more than a thousand leaders over the years about the challenges and nuances of leadership.

The leap to leader doesn’t have to be a leap of faith. If you’re ready to make the jump, start here.

Praise for The Leap to Leader

“With his journalistic approach to demystifying leadership, Adam Bryant has created an intensely practical guide filled with compelling insights, memorable stories, and actionable tips from CEOs. It will help anybody who aspires to lead.”
—Marla Beck, cofounder and former CEO, Bluemercury

The Leap to Leader has all the signature elements of Adam Bryant’s work: an eye for the candid anecdote, an ear for different voices in a world of business where most of us sound the same, and an instinct for what can actually help people become better leaders in every phase of their lives. It has little details and big ideas, and it is the distillation of a lifetime of talking and listening to all sorts of leaders about their deepest hopes and fears.”
—Glenn Kelman, President and CEO, Redfin

“I don’t think there’s anyone who has probed more great leaders’ minds, one by one, than Adam Bryant. Because of that amazing experience and his own gift for curation, storytelling, and creation, this book is simply outstanding. It’s full of clear insights and proven tools that are, in some cases, the completely unknown best practices of the world’s best leaders. I have three big new things to try after my first reading. Whether you’re eighteen or eighty, if you care about being a leader, buy this book.”
—Bracken Darrell, CEO, Logitech

“One of the most valuable philosophical primers I’ve read for people who want to become leaders. It’s packed with thought-provoking anecdotes, truths about managing, tips and tricks from successful leaders, and plain old good advice. There’s a beautiful core idea that suggests we can build great careers by learning how to manage others more effectively. We’ll use this book in our own training for managers and staff at the Posse Foundation.”
—Deborah Bial, founder and President, the Posse Foundation

“If you dream of being an exceptional leader, this book is for you! The Leap to Leader is a compilation of practical career advice, making the tools for success available to all. Adam Bryant shares actionable insights to demystify the art of inspiring, influencing, and engaging people.”
—Bill McDermott, CEO, ServiceNow

“There is no formula for mastering leadership, but The Leap to Leader offers the next best thing: great insights and inspiration from dozens of leaders who have mastered the practice of leadership in their own unique ways. Make this book part of your own journey to mastery.”
—Tim Brown, Cochair, IDEO; author, Change by Design

“Adam Bryant has written an easy-to-read Rosetta stone on how to navigate the challenges involved in making the leap to leader, which involves both the head and the heart. This book will give you meaningful, practical advice in both areas.”
—Donald R. Knauss, former CEO, Clorox

“I can think of no better expert on leadership than Adam Bryant. He has a knack for identifying the secret sauce behind the most effective leaders and translating that knowledge into actionable insights. The Leap to Leader is a practical guide to understanding how aspiring leaders can shift their mindsets and move their careers to the next level, all through the lens of one of the most thoughtful writers on the topic.”
—Alexa von Tobel, founder and Managing Partner, Inspired Capital