Author Spotlight: Adam Weber

Transform Author Spotlight Series

Welcome to Transform’s Q&A Author Spotlight Series, where we feature insightful authors who are redefining people and culture, work, leadership, and technology. Join us to gain fresh perspectives and practical knowledge from those at the forefront of today’s evolving professional landscape.

About The Author

Adam Weber is the Chief Evangelist at 15Five, the performance management platform that drives business results. He also hosts the popular HR Superstars podcast.

Previously, he co-founded Emplify (an employee engagement measurement platform) & Bluebridge Digital (a mobile app platform) and sold the companies in 2020 & 2016 respectively. He is the author of the Amazon best-selling book on leadership and culture, Lead Like a Human. In 2020, Adam was named to Business Insider’s list of Rising Stars in HR.

Transform Author Spotlight: Adam Weber

About The Book and the Inspiration Behind It

Q: Share with us the story behind the moment(s) that inspired you to write your book, Lead Like a Human.

A: The book is a combination of learning through the challenges of my own leadership journey and what I learned by helping hundreds of organizations trying to improve their employee engagement. For me, there were several moments I wish I could re-do where I was replaying the ineffective leadership styles of my previous managers. It was frustrating, and unsustainable, and held me back from truly connecting with my team. I was convinced there had to be a better way.

Q: Can you share a brief overview of your book, Lead Like a Human?

A: The book discusses the changing landscape of the workforce and the need for a new type of leader to emerge to build a high-performance team. There are five practical steps the book talks about to help leaders become the best version of themselves while also maximizing the performance of their team. 

Q: Could you share a memorable anecdote or story from your book, Lead Like a Human?

A: The book discusses two very different types of leaders that I’ve encountered in my career, Frustrated Frank and Motivating Michael. The key is obviously trying to become a Motivated Michael, but so many of us deep down lead as Frustrated Frank. Frustrated Frank says things like, “My employees care more about the life in work/life balance. They lack work ethic. They want details on every decision. Why can’t they just be quiet and do their job!”

Motivated Michael brings a very different perspective and approach to his team. He inspires the best in his people, is as transparent as possible, and rather than worrying about hours worked and desk time put in, he is focused on helping his team achieve the desired outcomes of their role.

Q: What are the key points or thoughts you want to have the most impact on readers?

A: One of the top values of the workforce today is leadership authenticity. The hard truth is that there is no secret answer to becoming an authentic leader. Simply put: It’s the combination of becoming an authentic person and solid leadership practices that gets you there. My favorite chapter in the book is on “centeredness” and the practices and disciplines that a leader can put in place in their life to help them show up consistently as a calm, steady, inspiring presence.

Q: As an author, what was the most rewarding part of researching and writing Lead Like a Human?

A: We live in a very temporary, social media-driven culture. Emotions, habits, connections, and information are fleeting. It was really rewarding to write something that felt more permanent. It made me think more deeply about what I wanted to put out into the world that I was confident would stand the test of time.

Q: Describe the target audience for your book, Lead Like a Human.

A: The book is really for any leader who wants to lead as their true authentic self without feeling like they have to follow a traditional playbook or set of outdated rules. Regardless of a person’s industry or years of leadership experience, there’s something to be learned here if you want to lead more effectively and build more engaged, high-performing teams.

Q: Who would get the most value from reading your book, Lead Like a Human?

A: A leader who values authenticity and practical insight into how to motivate and inspire their team. 

Q: What unique experience do you as the author bring to Lead Like a Human and its subject matter?

A: As a leader of a performance management platform company called 15Five, I have the unique perspective of looking at engagement data of hundreds of thousands of employees (users of our platform) and seeing common themes on what inspires and de-motivates the workforce.

Q: Are there any new projects or upcoming books you’re working on that you’d like to share a sneak peek of with our readers?

A: I’ve got a new keynote that I’m really proud of that I think will likely turn into a book. It’s called “The 5 Secrets of the Top 5% of HR Leaders.” The crux of it is that, over the past decade, I’ve talked to over a thousand HR leaders and from those conversations have identified some common threads and best practices. Many of these leaders got into HR to change the workforce but have been rejected constantly and relegated to doing administrative work that is time-consuming and unfulfilling. However, 5% are having a different experience, and I demystify what 5 things top HR leaders do so the rest can stop getting blocked and start doing the work of their dreams. 

About the Reader

Q: Describe what a leader/organization looks like one year after reading your book, Lead Like a Human, and committing to its teachings. 

A: A year after reading Lead Like a Human, a leader is deeply connected to their own personal sense of self and is leading a thriving team where people are celebrated regularly and have clarity on their roles and how they fit into the vision of the company. At the company level, employees view the organization’s values as vibrant and meaningful, and data is used to create alignment between employees, managers, and leaders.

Q: Considering a reader who just finished your book, Lead Like a Human, and is processing all the great insights, what is the first step they should like to operationalize their learning?

A: Everyone’s situation is different. The book lays out a series of steps to build high-performing teams: 1) centeredness, 2) activate your purpose, 3) align on core values, 4) set goals, 5) create a culture of continual improvement, and 6) leverage data. What I would do after reading the book is take an honest assessment of the steps and consider which one you are the weakest at and try to implement the ideas laid out in the book to strengthen that muscle.

Q: Share three takeaways from Lead Like a Human that the reader should walk away with. 


  • Leverage continuous employee feedback as a way to gain clarity on where to focus your efforts inside your organization 
  • Your purpose and values are only valuable if they are activated inside your culture. You do this by telling stories of them being lived out. 
  • Ultimately, all leadership tips and tricks will fail if you yourself aren’t deeply committed to becoming a more authentic person. You have to do the work to get to know your growth areas and lean into developing them.

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