I just picked up a new book called Total Leadership by Stewart Friedman, of the Wharton School. It looks promising. It’s going to offer a philosophy and advice, which is fine with me, but looks like it is going to avoid pretending to have the secret answer to how to be a better leader based on cutting edge research on a zillion managers worldwide. I refuse to waste my money on those books and the charlatans that write them.
Here is something Friedman says early that I really like:
Leadership can – indeed must – be learned. It is learned by taking action toward a direction you choose, gaining support, exercising skills, reflecting on your experience, and then coaching others. (p.2)
I especially like the last two aspects of this concept – reflecting on your experience and then coaching others. The reflection is essential for continuous learning and growth, and the coaching reflects a focus on helping others do the same.
Leadership is certainly about taking action toward a direction, but how the direction is determined is important. There will be times when YOU need to choose it, but those times should be rare and the product of extreme circumstances. More often, the direction should be something that WE choose; otherwise, gaining support will be more difficult than it needs to be.
I’ll keep you posted if I find more good stuff from the book. If you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think.