It’s an important, if subtle, point that the title of Nicole Lipkin’s What Keeps Leaders Up at Night appears without a question mark at the end. Lipkin’s book, now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary, is entirely devoted to providing answers. The only questions that appear in the book serve as a guide for Lipkin’s substantive advice for topics including productivity, credibility and conflict.
What Keeps Leaders Up at Night achieves the critical balance between academic examination and practical application. This reflects Lipkin’s dual pedigree of a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, as well as an MBA. Some executives might be tentative about taking a trek into the “softer” side of leadership, but as Lipkin points out, effective leadership is “all about managing the messy, complicated, illogical and fallible human variables.”
A great example of the strength of Lipkin’s method is her response to the common leadership question, “Why Don’t People Heed My Sage Advice?” Lipkin provides a two-part answer that cites psychologists John French and Bertram Raven’s power framework before advising leaders to pay particular attention to referent power, derived from personal traits and values. After giving insight into referent power, she continues by helping executives craft the second component of creating buy-in, a compelling message.
What Keeps Leaders Up at Night treads cautiously through the minefield of problems executives face and the book does a great job of de-arming the danger posed to leaders. Lipkin’s advice is readily applicable and covers territory that new leaders need to know and experienced leaders need to review.