Review by Keith Hal
Inspired leadership? Yes, that sounds like a daunting challenge. But a recent survey showed that inspiration is the quality that employees most want to see in their bosses. If you learned your leadership skills more than five years ago, you will already know about the three styles of leadership, the seven habits of effective people, situational leadership, value-based leadership, and so on. But the message of Seven Secrets of Inspired Leaders is simple: Forget all that command and control stuff; it’s history.
Most current leadership is based on the needs of early 20th Century manufacturing industries, when workers were more-or-less obedient pairs of hands. But the times they have a-changed. This is the 21st Century and workers can think for themselves. They need – no, they demand – a different style of leadership. In short, they want inspired leaders. Not post-modern, international leaders who “tend to have strong habits of generalisation, quickly identifying problems generically”. Not American business leaders with their “anything’s possible attitude” and insistence on doing things the American way. What they want are INSPIRED leaders.
Let’s be brutally honest. Too many of today’s business leaders are really just lack-lustre managers, concentrating on building their own careers. Just look at the business leaders depicted in any TV series or movie. Most of them are dishonest, and very few of them show any real leadership. Of course, we all know that leadership and management are not mutually exclusive. They’re just different. Leaders need to be good at management, and managers need to be leaders when appropriate. Life is no longer a simple either-or business; it’s become a both-and situation. Successful bosses need to be both leaders and managers – and inspired ones at that.
Tapping into the 800 or so business leaders in the Inspired Leaders Network, authors Phil Dourado and Phil Blackburn reveal some of the secrets of inspired leaders. What emerges is a style of leadership that seems to combine opposites by being simultaneously muscular, honest, uncomfortable, fun and sometimes surprisingly self-effacing. This is not “the leader as God”, or even “the leader as Boss” – but rather the leader as an open, trustworthy person who others will follow and emulate willingly.
If you are really determined, you can read Seven Secrets of Inspired Leaders in just four minutes, since each chapter has a 30-second summary. But the book’s irreverently snappy and funky style makes into a real page-turner anyway. And it’s filled with attention-grabbing sound bites like “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders”, “Generation X-ers and Y-ers know more than their elders about the way the world works” and even the outrageous assertion that “The impossible isn’t”.
Expect to have many of your favourite preconceptions about business and leadership challenged vigorously. All those familiar platitudes about leadership – like “You manage things, but you lead people” – come in for a heavy dose of criticism. This is like shock therapy for listless leaders. But hey, how can you hope to inspire others without leaving your comfort zone?
Web link for more information on this book:http://as.wiley.c om/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1841126500.html