Leadership Landscapes

Become a calmer, more centered leader.

An anxious leader is a less effective leader. Anxiety keeps leaders in reactive mode. It causes leaders to run from crisis to crisis. They never get to set the agenda. They spend too much time on urgent, non-important tasks and rarely tackle the important, non-urgent ones.

Anxious leaders get caught-up in black and white thinking. It’s “us vs. them” all the time.

They show up at work in a manner that’s not in line with their values. 

Their secret wish is to regain control. Spend more time planning. Think more clearly. Make sound, fact-based decisions. Wield power calmly. Challenge colleagues and subordinates with compassion and effectiveness. 

Leadership Landscapes by Tom Cummings and Jim Keen offers an antidote to the hamster wheel. Its principles and techniques help leaders at every level recover more quickly from crises, shift their focus to what’s important, and regain their leadership balance.

The Landscape Perspective

Tom and Jim’s core teaching is the “landscape master perspective.” It works like this: at any given time, a leader’s focus and attention will be on one of five “landscapes:”

  1. The macro environment
  2. The industry and markets in which you operate
  3. Your organization
  4. Your team
  5. Your personal life and self-relationship

Leaders in the C-Suite often get stuck putting out fires in the organizational landscape and team leaders lose sight of where they fit within the wider organization.

By simply recalling which landscape you’re traversing, you can begin to put the latest emergency into perspective.

Here’s Tom speaking at a TedX conference about the Landscape Perspective:

Leadership Attention Units

Leadership Landscapes teaches that attention is a kind of currency, a limited resource. Just as keeping a household budget can help a family achieve goals like taking annual vacation, tracking which landscape swallows up your attention can help you shift your perspective and regain leadership presence.

Senior leaders don’t spend enough time on themselves or their team members. –Tom Cummings

Stressful Decisions

Another source of leaders’ anxiety are stressful decisions. While leaders are not generally conscious that their minds are locked onto one landscape to the neglect of others, they’re usually all too aware when a tough decision looms. The tougher the decision, the more you see leaders engaging in avoidance behaviors like procrastination.

To combat this, Tom and Jim refined a tool called an “inquiry map.” Here’s Jim explaining the origins of the tool and how it works:

What’s Inside

Here’s what you can expect from the book:

  1. Introduction
  2. Leadership Landscapes
  3. The Equanimity Shift to Dynamic Balance
  4. Leadership Seeing: How We Enact an Eye for Possibility and Reframe
  5. Leadership Being: Commitment
  6. Leadership Doing: How We Recover and Radiate Presence
  7. Moments of Truth: Putting It Into Practice
  8. Toward Mastery: How To Do This?
  9. Case Studies: Leadership Landscapes in Action

Leadership Landscapes was published in 2008 by Palgrave. We think it’s timeless teachings are more relevant and necessary than ever before.

Currently you can purchase copies at Alibris and Amazon for $1.99.

Leadership Landscapes

The ISBN for the hardcover is 978-0-230-52569-6. The ISBN for the paperback is 978-1349357925.

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.” ― Anais Nin