Leadership on the Line

Book Review: Leadership On The Line by R. Heifetz and M. Linsky

There would be no need for leadership, if all challenges were technical. But, luckily, not all challenges are technical. A lot of them are adaptive and they require people to learn new ways and cannot be fixed by applying current know-how. This idea is pretty simple, but opens an interesting discussion that authors of the book are following through.

Indeed, the change is always associated with a danger. And for those who are in leadership position it is vitally important to stay alive going and leading through the change. In the first part of the book, the authors describe what dangers of the leadership are and what forms they take. The most interesting idea in this part of the book for me was about loyalties.

When you ask people to change and adopt something new, you ask them to abandon their existing loyalties at the same time. And a lot of people are reluctant to do that. Our society values consistency in the one behavior. On top of that, there is a natural loss avoidance that is hardwired into humans. So, if the change is associated with some losses, adoption of new values and etc., people will resist.

And their resistance will be most probably convert into attack on those who are driving and impersonalizing the change. Hence, you are on the line if you hold a leadership position. For me it translates into a simple fact – there is nothing personal, it is just a natural reaction.

The second part of the book focuses on how to respond to dangers of leadership. The authors provide many examples and advices that are highly relevant for leadership in large organizations. This part is highly valuable as it gives practical advices how to lead through the change and how to orchestrate conflict to make people actually change their behavior.

In the last part of the book authors reflect on how keep yourself in line and how to anchor yourself. And this was also an interesting topic for me. People around interact not with me, but with the role that I represent. Hence, I need constantly remind myself to distinguish me from the role. If tomorrow my role will change, all associated with it importance and limelight will be gone.

Overall, 5 out of 5. There are a lot of new ideas that I found in the book together with practical advices.

Check out my other book reviews!

Amazon Bar Raiser

Amazon Bar Raiser

With this post I want to celebrate a personal achievement and important milestone in my career. After passing extensive training program, I have become Amazon Bar Raiser!

Since the day I had my interview at Amazon back in January 2020,  I was amazed by Amazon hiring process and when I started interviewing myself and learnt more about how to Make Great Hiring Decisions and the role of Bar Raiser, I knew that I want to become a BR myself.

So, now I will do my best to keep raising the bar, support my peers in different Amazon organizations and continue do what I enjoy – meet diverse candidates, learn about them and help Hiring Managers.

The formal definition of Amazon Bar Raiser goes as following:

A Bar Raiser is an interviewer at Amazon who is brought into the hiring process to be an objective third party. By bringing in somebody who’s not associated with the team, the best long-term hiring decisions are made and we can ensure that the company is always serving, surprising, and innovating for customers. The role of the Bar Raiser is to be a steward of Amazon’s 16 Leadership Principles.


I want to share some of insights that I got during my Bar Raiser In Training program.

  • Some candidates eager to know who is a Bar Raiser at their interview. This is partially a natural curiosity but in the reality, this information does not matter much for the interview outcome. The candidate is being assessed holistically and exceptionally good interview with a Bar Raiser will not outweigh issues with other interviewers
  • Authenticity matters a lot. It is very clear when a candidate is trying to pretend and when their stories are not aligned with how they possess themselves. So, instead of trying to act like some other person, concentrate on quality of the stories.
  • While subjectively a candidate may think that the situation they are describing is complex, it may no be true. So, think in advance – Are your examples, actually complex and not everybody would be able to achieve results you were able to achieve?

Check out my other post Amazon interviews “Yes, but…” insights