This page provides the book
This page provides the book's table of contents and a brief synopsis of the
chapter information. Note that the underlined chapters are hyperlinked to
additional information and web-based activities related to that chapter.
The Goal of Leadership
(Two of Spades)
Synopsis: This chapter explains the layout of the book and sets the tone by
explaining how poker is an analogy for leadership. The chapter then concentrates
on defining leadership.
(Three of Spades)
Synopsis: Whether wining a game or leading an organization, vision is critical
to success. The chapter emphasizes the necessity and impact of vision. It
provides some guidance on vision formation.
(Four of Spade)
Synopsis: Direction is synonymous with instruction in this chapter. Providing
followers with clear task instruction helps them and the organization be more
successful. The chapter provides information on giving direction, managing
feedback and broaches the subject of task delegation.
(Five of Spades)
Synopsis: Types, sources and uses of leader power are explained. The
relationship between the types of power, the situation and follower are
Pick your Battles
(Six of Spades)
Synopsis: Battling refers to inter and intra organizational struggles. When, how
and why a leader might want to engage in the use of resources for battle are
Accomplish More by Doing Less
(Seven of Spades)
Synopsis: Prioritizing tasks to achieve goals and objectives are the focus of
this chapter. The chapter demonstrates that an organized and focused leader can
accomplish more with less energy and resources.
Determination and Adversity
(Eight of Spades)
Synopsis: A primary lesson in determination and adversity is to realize that any
hand can win depending on the skill of the player. The chapter discusses a
leaders role in motivating followers through difficult situations and realizing
the difference between being determined and stubborn.
(Nine of Spades)
Synopsis: A leaders place in a changing environment is enhanced by life-long
learner. Leader competence through education, training and experience are
emphasized in this chapter.
(Ten of Spades)
Synopsis: Leader and follower dependability are explored. The chapter
demonstrates how the two are intertwined and necessary for solid leadership.
(Jack of Spades)
Synopsis: Decision making techniques and models are placed in context with the
consequences and time constraints of decisions.
When you Don't Know
(Queen of Spades)
Synopsis: No one, including leaders, know all the answers. The chapter discusses
the value of a leader admitting they dont know. Advice is offered on how to
approach situations wherein the leader doesnt know the answer.
(King of Spades)
Synopsis: Leader personality and style are compared against follower ability and
the environment. Advice regarding leadership style and subordinate leader
choices are explored.
(Ace of Spades)
Synopsis: Honor as the foundation of reputation is explored against the backdrop
of other issues such as integrity, work ethic and task competence.
Action vs. Words
(Two of Hearts)
Synopsis: Leaders actions are demonstrated to be far more important than their
words. The chapter emphasizes that credibility of action is the single most
significant determinant of whether a leader will be followed over time.
(Three of Hearts)
Synopsis: Effective communication as the most challenging issue faced by
organizations is explored as a never-ending process. Feedback loops, richness of
media and coordinating communication across geography and time are discussed.
(Four of Hearts)
Synopsis: Change as inevitable and stressful for people and organizations in
context with resistance to change. Factors both enabling and disabling change
Dissent vs. Dissension
(Five of Hearts)
Synopsis: Healthy criticism from followers is compared against dissent. Openness
to honest criticism, conflict resolutions skills and decision making are
(Six of Hearts)
Synopsis: Integrity and honesty are discussed. Reasons for developing and
maintaining a reputation as having honesty are explored in context with speaking
out on morale and ethical issues.
(Seven of Hearts)
Synopsis: A leaders reasonability to have an upbeat attitude toward the work
place is viewed against the impact on followers. Techniques and advice on
maintaining a proper attitude are explored.
(Eight of Hearts)
Synopsis: Fairness is discussed as process. Employee complaints about favoritism
are viewed against the backdrop of communication skills, adherence to policy and
enforcement of workplace rules.
Praise and Criticism
(Nine of Hearts)
Synopsis: Praise and criticism are explored as the two edges of leader to
follower feedback sword. Advice is given on techniques to deliver both.
(Ten of Hearts)
Synopsis: Empathy is viewed as continually developing a sense of how people feel
about what is happening. Leader empathy is demonstrated as a tool to improve
employee relations and improve leader communication.
Fun on the Job
(Jack of Hearts)
Synopsis: This chapter demonstrates that happy people are more vital, creative,
and productive. Leaders are shown that through the use of fun, followers are
more engaged with organizational goals and are likely to perform better.
(Queen of Hearts)
Synopsis: The chapter defines moral courage as recognizing your values and
beliefs and not letting them be compromised regardless of the circumstances. The
pitfalls of situational ethics are contrasted with strong belief systems.
(King of Hearts)
Synopsis: Morale is specifically defined and its impact on the workplace is
explored. Specific advice is given to leaders on improving overall morale.
The Little Things
(Ace of Hearts)
Synopsis: The power of demonstrating concern and care for employees through
small actions is explained. Issues such as recognition, praise and reward are
placed in context with organizational objectives and goals.
(Two of Diamonds)
Synopsis: Teamwork is viewed as essential in any business environment. The
chapter demonstrates how any business model, including work units and
individuals separated by time and distance, benefit from teamwork.
People are Watching
(Three of Diamonds)
Synopsis: Leader actions often unknowingly communicate messages to followers.
Through their simple, daily actions, leaders send messages to followers on a
myriad of issues, from work standards to behavioral expectations.
When the Cat is Away
(Four of Diamonds)
Synopsis: Developing and mentoring staff so that they can accomplish the mission
without the leader is explored as a paramount leader task. The concept of
developing the next generation of leaders is reinforced, also.
Surround Yourself with Excellence
(Five of Diamonds)
Synopsis: Finding, hiring and retaining the best possible followers is
emphasized. The search for complimentary talents, standardized hiring practices
and staff development are explored in context of grooming the leaders
(Six of Diamonds)
Synopsis: Involving followers in the decision making process is viewed as a
method to gain consensus on action. Engendering an open work place where
expertise and opinions is shared is seen as a means of gaining consensus and
avoiding group think.
Recognizing Your Weaknesses
(Seven of Diamonds)
Synopsis: Self-evaluation is demonstrated as a technique to determine leader
needs in training, education and experience. It is also viewed as a way in which
a leader can hire staff with complimentary talents.
(Eight of Diamonds)
Synopsis: Promotions are explored as a means to retain qualified staff, send
messages to followers on which behaviors are rewarded and further organizational
goals and objectives.
(Nine of Diamonds)
Synopsis: How and why people are motivated is explained. The chapter explores
the different leader techniques for motivation.
Empowerment and Delegation
(Ten of Diamonds)
Synopsis: Empowerment is defined as pushing decision making authority to the
lowest appropriate level within the organization. Delegation skills are
reinforcement through the lens of empowerment.
(Jack of Diamonds)
Synopsis: Most leaders do not have the luxury of defining their staff. Working
to develop the followers at hand is seen as critical. Techniques for follower
development are discussed.
(Queen of Diamonds)
Synopsis: The difference between emotional and technical support is used as a
means discuss communication skills, problem solving and staff development.
(King of Diamonds)
Synopsis: Developing and inspiring loyalty is displayed as a means to reduce
turnover, improve productivity and increase follower participation in
Treat People Unequally
(Ace of Diamonds)
Synopsis: The concept of treating people unequally is used as a means to explore
how certain behaviors are rewarded while others are sanctioned.
(Two of Clubs)
Synopsis: Leader and follower accountability are discussed as hallmarks of
responsibility. Acceptance of responsibility for mistakes is viewed as healthy
in an environment where a leader engenders accountability.
(Three of Clubs)
Synopsis: Decision making is further explored within the context of having to
deny a followers request. Additionally, techniques for denying requests are
The Importance of Failure
(Four of Clubs)
Synopsis: Failure is explored within the context of individual and
organizational growth. Learning from failure as opposed to assigning blame is
viewed as healthy for both individuals and organizations.
(Five of Clubs)
Synopsis: Managing competing resources is explored against the planning process.
A leaders ability to organize, plan and act are reinforced through managing
(Six of Clubs)
Synopsis: Advice and techniques for creating an innovative environment are
discussed. The power of innovation is demonstrated through leader follower
(Seven of Clubs)
Synopsis: A lack of leader consistency is ranked as a common follower complaint.
Adherence to policies and procedures, as well as organizational goals and
objectives is explored as a means to increase leadership consistency.
(Eight of Cubs)
Synopsis: Providing followers with fundamental tools, equipment and skills is
explained as a primary leader responsibility.
Micromanaging Away Imagination, Innovation, and individuality
(Nine of Clubs)
Synopsis: Delegation, accountability, communication and staff development skills
are reinforced by contrasting them with micromanagement.
(Ten of Clubs)
Synopsis: The times, circumstances and necessity of leaders have eyes on an
issue or problem are defined as active management. Techniques for obtaining
information through observation are explored.
(Jack of Clubs)
Synopsis: Leaders as human beings are susceptible to emotion. The danger of
anger and ways in which a leader can overcome angry are discussed.
(Queen of Clubs)
Synopsis: Healthy stress is viewed as a necessary component of the workplace.
The chapter looks at how and why too much stress can create problems for both
the leader and the follower.
(King of Clubs)
Synopsis: Not every follower is a fit for every organization. Specifics on how
and when to terminate employment are discussed. Furthermore, firing is seen as a
way to reinforce organizational beliefs and values.
Putting it Together
(Ace of Clubs)
Synopsis: Final thoughts on leadership are expressed. By cross-referencing
multiple issues this chapter is a capstone reading experience.