Nine Practices of 21st Century Leadership : A Guide for Inspiring Creativity, Innovation, and Engagement book cover
2nd Edition

Nine Practices of 21st Century Leadership
A Guide for Inspiring Creativity, Innovation, and Engagement

ISBN 9781032226330
Published July 22, 2022 by Productivity Press
418 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations

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USD $54.95

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Book Description

Near the end of the 20th Century, the leadership concept radically evolved away from the traditional concept of accomplishing work through others. Unfortunately, too many professionals unconsciously still have faulty traditional assumptions that can get them, their teams, and their organizations in trouble.

The author has researched the evolution of leadership and summarizes seven contemporary principles, twenty-six underlying leadership beliefs, and nine crucial practices of 21st Century Leadership. While too many leadership books focus on qualities, DePaul explains specific behaviors for practicing leadership.

The second edition includes new research about leadership and leadership development. With the pandemic, organizations have had to rely more on effective leadership to build high-performing teams, often at a distance. Training departments have had to radically update how they develop employees at all levels, and executive coaches have transitioned to virtual client support. With all these environmental changes as well as new social pressures on organizations to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion, organizations need to change how they lead and avoid allowing their culture to develop by chance.

Table of Contents

Section 1: Demystifying 21st Century Leadership

Chapter 1: Clarifying Why Leadership is Confusing

Chapter 2: Defining 21st Century Leadership

Chapter 3: Revealing Traditional Leadership Assumptions

Chapter 4: Explaining 21st Century Leadership Principles and Beliefs

Section 2: Improving Performance with Systemic Thinking

Chapter 5: Practice 1: Analyzing Like Detectives

Chapter 6: Practice 2: Diagnosing and Treating Like Doctors

Chapter 7: Practice 3: Finding Key Behaviors Like Social Psychologists

Section 3: Supporting Change

Chapter 8: Practice 4: Communicating Like Agents

Chapter 9: Practice 5: Directing Like Guides

Chapter 10: Practice 6: Nurturing Like Gardeners

Section 4: Adding Value

Chapter 11: Practice 7: Facing the Unknown Like Lions

Chapter 12: Practice 8: Developing Like Scouts

Chapter 13: Practice 9: Communicating Like Broadcasters

Section 5: Continuing to Grow

Chapter 14: Maturing and Sustaining Your Leadership Practices

Chapter 15: Considering Organizational Implications

Chapter 16: Afterword: The Fundamental Attribution Error

Appendix 1: 21st Century Leadership Definition, Principles, Practices, and Results

Appendix 2: Management and Leadership Comparison

Appendix 3: Traditional Leadership Assumptions and Related Consequences

Appendix 4: 21st Century Leadership Principles, Beliefs, and Practices

Appendix 5: Nine Practices Summary

Appendix 6: Nine Practices 360-Feedback Diagnostic Tool

Appendix 7: Perceived Leadership Qualities

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Gary DePaul is a performance consultant, author, adjunct professor, researcher and podcaster. He helps organizations with their leadership and performance challenges. For example, at one financial institute, the CHRO hired Gary to analyze the current capabilities of frontline and mid-level managers and to identify gaps with future capabilities. He is a keynote speaker and has spoken at corporations, conferences, association, and chamber of commerce events. He is the author of three books: Nine Practices of 21st Century Leadership; What the Heck is Leadership and Why Should I Care?; The Most Effective and Responsible Clinical Training Techniques in Medicine. As a public service, Gary hosts the podcast, Unlabeled Leadership. Since January 2001, he has completed more than 90 episodes.


"As a CEO, executive coach, author, and adjunct professor of leadership at NYU and Columbia, I am obsessed with leadership books and have read, literally, hundreds of them over the past twenty-five years. And I can truthfully state that Gary DePaul’s brilliant Nine Practices of 21st Century Leadership is one of the best and most important books on the topic I’ve ever read. Both scholarly and practical, this information-packed and inspirational guidebook will appeal to – and benefit – business professionals, academics, and students alike. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, DePaul references hundreds of different resources to help define, describe, and demystify what leadership is. And – of equal importance – what it is not. Through his innovative "Nine Practices" framework, as well as the numerous additional models, metaphors, processes, roadmaps, quotes, and sources he provides along the way, this book is a masterclass on the topic of leadership, and one that will help anyone, at any level, to become a more educated, effective, and inspiring leader."

Todd Cherches, CEO of BigBlueGumball
Author of VisuaLeadership: Leveraging the Power of Visual Thinking in Leadership and in Life


"In Nine Practices of 21st Century Leadership, Gary DePaul provides a masterfully comprehensive resource for leaders. Gary provides specific examples and recommended actions that will encourage leaders at all levels to try new practices and expand their leadership capabilities."

Colonel Kim Campbell, USAF, Retired
Managing Director, Victory Strategies
Co-author of Aiming Higher: A Journey Through Military Aviation Leadership


"Dr. Gary DePaul has provided a smart, concise, user-friendly manual for 21st Century Leadership. I gained valuable insights in these pages – both cautionary (for example, the traditional leadership assumptions) and endorsed (for example the principles of leadership).

From learning about the brain and the systems it uses to make decisions (introducing us to the reality of unconscious bias) to the beliefs that guide the way we acknowledge others and work together, Gary provides a roadmap for effective leadership that centers on people and relationships.

As a speaker, facilitator, and consultant in the field of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, I appreciate that the awareness and application of the information presented in these pages (and how it is presented) can help support a strong commitment to EDI.

As Gary shares, 21st leadership focuses on the action, not the role. The way he has laid out and explained the nine practices (along with tools, techniques, resources, guidelines, "to-do’s" and "a word of caution"!) allows for a practical and well-rounded understanding designed to make our actions not only more effective, but more meaningful - which is what creating inclusive and equitable spaces for our colleagues and teams is all about."

Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker, Facilitator, & Consultant in EDI

"Gary DePaul’s Nine Practices of 21st Century Leadership is authentic and practical in its applicability of leadership principles. His deliberate approach provides profound insight into leadership practices past the well-worn theories found in other books. Gary brings depth to employing effective leadership practices within real world environments. He demonstrates how 21st century qualities for impactful leadership incorporates empathy, storytelling, and integrity. Gary debunks the leadership notion of command and control in favor for a human approach of engage and embrace. This is one, and possibly only, leadership book you’ll need in your library."

Ajay M. Pangarkar CTDP, FCPA, FCMA
CEO & Partner, and
Award-winning Performance Strategist and Author, The Trainer’s Balanced Scorecard

"If you are looking for a foundational reference to hone your leadership skills Dr. DePaul has created that reference. One of the biggest challenges for a leader is ensuring that members of the workforce are engaged, satisfied, and productive. The Nine Practices of 21st Century Leadership guides the readers to a clear understanding of creating the blueprint of taking care of their most precious resource, the only resource inside an organization that can increase in value. When the workforce is successful, the leader and the organization are successful."

Chris Cebollero
President/CEO of Cebollero & Associates
Author of Ultimate Leadership: 10 Rules for Success