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Improving Leadership Through Stories

September 16, 2009
By Katie Packard

Storytelling can be a powerful communication tool, and it is one that Andrew O'Keefe uses in his novel The Boss to show people how to be a better manager. The book's protagonist, Lauren, tries to succeed at her job as a marketing professional while under the leadership of a team of terrible bosses.

O'Keefe has more than 25 years of human resources experience, including a decade as an HR executive at IBM. After years of hearing nightmare stories about awful bosses, he decided to put those stories to good use and wrote his novel.

"I hope managers can read my book to see mistakes and to learn how to improve. It was written very much with bosses in mind. 'Do I do some of the things Lauren's bosses do?' I hope managers realize the impact people have as a boss and how they might choose to do something differently."

He suggests that employees who show leadership potential receive management training early on to develop their skills. O'Keefe believes that managers who truly enjoy interacting with people will succeed and that senior management should create a "doable job" to which managers are held accountable.

You can read more of his tips for grooming successful managers in "Who Bosses the Bosses?" from this month's SIGNAL Connections. We at SIGNAL Scape also invite you to share your best practices for good leadership here. What qualities do you think make someone a good boss? What have you learned during your experience as a manager?

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