Consiglieri – Leading from the Shadows | Richard Hytner

Summary of: Consiglieri – Leading from the Shadows: Why Coming Top Is Sometimes Second Best
By: Richard Hytner


Dive into the world of leadership as we explore the vital roles and responsibilities of both A and C leaders in ‘Consiglieri – Leading from the Shadows: Why Coming Top Is Sometimes Second Best’ by Richard Hytner. This summary will guide you through the characteristics and advantages of being a C leader, or ‘Consigliere’, and the importance of their relationships with A leaders. Discover the four key elements of a C leader: Lodestone, Educator, Anchor, and Deliverer, and learn how to build powerful and effective partnerships between A and C leaders.

Leading from the Shadows

Real leadership can be found in the unsung number twos – the “C” leaders. These Consiglieri, deputies, advisers, and division heads are responsible for supporting the “A” leader – the CEO, president, or head coach. Although second-in-command, the C’s have leadership requirements and responsibilities that shield them from ultimate accountability.

If you aspire to take on more leadership responsibilities, working as a C can be a great opportunity to learn about complex organizations. The best A’s have experience as C’s and vice versa. Leading from both vantage points early in your career can give you a better understanding of what you’re better suited for – being an A or a C.

To be an effective leader, you need to have the skills to earn the trust of your colleagues and bosses, and cultivate loyal followers. Developing emotional intelligence and caring for others is as important as your bottom line. Choosing your A carefully is crucial when you choose to subordinate your ego to another leader; this could mean the difference between success and failure.

The author encourages aspiring leaders to pick up experience in an A or C role early in their career, even if not a CEO at 25, by leading a team or taking on a challenging project. The book’s main message is that leadership can come from any level of an organization, and the C position can be equally impactful and rewarding.

A vs C Leadership

A leaders take risks, while C leaders inspire through cooperation and mediation. A’s are always on and crave attention, but may never be satisfied in their work. C’s gain inspiration from helping others reach their goals and have more privacy, contentment, and happiness.

Are you the type of leader who takes initiative and assumes risk (A), or do you gain inspiration from lateral challenges and helping others reach their goals (C)? A leaders crave attention and love making final decisions, but their drive may leave them unsatisfied in their work. On the other hand, C leaders have less accountability, less stress, and more privacy, contentment, and happiness. They exercise power gently through cooperation and mediation. Serving as a deputy leader can be satisfying, but some may find it hard to turn down an A position. It’s essential to recognize your leadership style and be aware of its pros and cons. A’s ability to speak candidly can be a great quality, but the pressure to perform constantly can lead to burnout. Meanwhile, a C’s proximity to power can be intoxicating, but once they assume the top job, they may find themselves ill-prepared. Understanding the differences between A and C can help you navigate your leadership role and find contentment in your work.

Mastering the Art of Being a Great Number Two

The book emphasizes the crucial role of the deputy or C-level executive in any organization and how they can excel at it.

“The C is there to make the A look good,” says the book. Being a C-level executive, particularly a deputy, is to be content with being less compensated than the boss and prioritizing the boss’s success over one’s ambition. The book emphasizes that being a great C means being a sympathetic promoter and guardian of the cause, acting as the leader’s second brain.

The book emphasizes that deputies play a crucial role in ensuring the success of the leader. This is achieved by being content with the deputy role, as it’s the leader’s ideas that require validation and delivered with the team. Therefore, C’s must show dedication to the firm and leader, even when feeling unappreciated.

A vital trait of an excellent deputy is the ability to deliver candid and honest feedback to the leader in private. C’s must also be courageous enough to accept the deputy’s job because society is hard on subordinates, and leadership requires courage to make decisions that might not be popular with everyone.

The book also advises that A’s must give their deputies time to think, organize solutions and plan their execution carefully, which is necessary for success. In conclusion, the book emphasizes that a successful leadership team beats to a reciprocal drum, and mastering the art of being a great number two comes with dedication, courage, and candor while being a crucial member of the leadership team.

Four Essential Roles of Consiglieri

Consiglieri play an important role in lightening the load of their bosses. There are mainly four types of C’s that leaders can rely on. First, “Lodestones” who act as caddies for their bosses by taking on difficult assignments and paperwork and providing psychological support. Second, “Educators” with experience who teach and guide their A leaders, enabling them to stay on top. Third, “Anchors” who provide a listening ear, comic relief and close friendship for their bosses, grounding them and keeping them on track. Finally, “Deliverers” who take care of the dirty work, plan strategically, and execute tasks to maximize their leader’s effectiveness. A leader may need different types of C’s for different situations. The smart A leader chooses an appropriate C for the situation at hand.

The Art of Choosing the Right C

The perfect A and C relationship is based on mutual respect, trust, and self-discipline. However, choosing the wrong C can lead to disastrous consequences. As an A, it’s essential to set a good example and not indulge in excesses that can cause your C to go astray. The Enron scandal serves as a perfect example of how the wrong choice in C can lead to an A’s downfall. Additionally, the television series, House of Cards, showcases how choosing the wrong C can lead to disastrous results. In conclusion, when making a choice, an A must ensure a C’s integrity and reliability before embarking on a partnership.

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