Steve Farber

The New Gold Standard of Leadership: A Counter-intuitive Approach to Rising from Adversity

By Steve Farber

A while back, I received a distressed email from Ken, a young manager at a high-tech company.

Ken and I had never met, but he had read my first two books and had done his best to apply the ideas and practices of Extreme Leadership to the way he’d led his team. To their culture, their work ethic, their camaraderie. When necessary, Ken told me, they would band together and work hard—10 to 20 hours a day at times—to solve a problem or meet a pressing need. Ken’s wife would cook food for everyone and bring it to the office. They felt like a family, he said, committed to doing great work and devoted to one another’s success. No one ever complained, least of all Ken. At one point, he’d even forgone his bonus so his employees could collect theirs.

And then something happened. A downturn, a re-org, a shift in the management structure—we all know the drill. Ken still had a job, but his position was eliminated. New management full of old ideas came in to oversee the department’s function and the emotional fibers that connected Ken’s team to each other and to their work unraveled.

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