THIS IS A RARE BOOK I don’t mean rare because it’s part of an ancient collection shelved in a museum. I mean it’s a book rarely found today that covers the topic of leadership so comprehensively as this book does. On the cover of the book is this quote “…like having a personal executive coach in your pocket.” – Professor Lee Dyer, ILR School, Cornell University. I’m vouching for Professor Dyer right now. Lead Like It Matters: Because It Does covers a broad spectrum of leadership styles, roles, responsibilities, effectiveness, delegation, team dynamics, and culture.
The author, Roxi Bahar Hewertson, begins the book with eight leadership insights. She acknowledges such things as Leading People is Messy, Learning Soft Skills is Hard, Leading is All About Relationship, and Leaders Create and Destroy Cultures. There are other insights, but based on those alone, this book’s value is in the principles and illustrations the author uses to amplify the points as the reader learns how to put them into practice. If you were in the hospital awaiting surgery, would you want a novice surgeon to be holding the scalpel? Of course not; you would want the master surgeon, the most competent! Leadership authority and research expert, Roxy Hewertson, writes this book from the perspective of a skilled leader and seasoned mentor, guiding students through a comprehensive leadership training program. Book reports like this one fall short of covering every detail, but you already know that. You gain full advantage by owning your own copy of a book, but it’s especially true in Lead Like It Matters: Because it Does. The book is thorough, written in workshop style to aid in learning and practicing the principles universally necessary in effective leadership.
Here are a few of my favorite takeaways:
Emotional Intelligence and Personal Mastery – Did you know a lot of smart people fail at leadership because they confuse the importance of their high IQ with that of their EI, Emotional Intelligence? High EI is essential in leadership because it means you have the capacity to understand yourself, manage yourself, understand others, and manage others. Emotional Intelligence can be learned and this book is the teaching manual for how to become adept at building competence in these areas.
Personal Mastery – Do you often confuse mission with vision? You won’t, after absorbing the explanations and participating in the exercises designed to help you clearly articulate ‘your passionate dream for your future’. We all struggle with describing our vision until we recognize the four qualities of a great vision. Inspiring, Clear, Credible, Commitment – all encompassed in a well-defined vision. For anyone desiring clarity the exercises in this book will set you up for success.
Deep Listening – I have always prided myself on being a good listener. In conversation we’re either talking or listening and since I’m not much of a talker, the listening part is easy. The striking difference though is the mindfulness. The hallmark of deep listening is focus and attitude toward the person who is speaking. There are qualities evident in a great listener a few of them are empathy, encouragement, positive body language, and being able to summarize or paraphrase the conversation. Learn to practice deep listening by following the exercises and assessing your listening strengths (or weaknesses).
Team Mastery – Our organizations today, whether for profit or non-profit rely on teams to do important work. High-performing teams maximize the talents they have for their shared purpose. Team dynamics have a significant impact on its success and accomplishments. The wisdom contained in the chapters devoted to fostering the success of high-functioning teams is substantial. Roxi Hewertson dispels the myth that teamwork happens as a by-product of being assigned to the same projects. In fact, she takes her readers through the study of The Stepladder of Group Dynamics, Mission, Vision, and Values, Decision Making, Delegation, Meeting that Work, and Trust Building. “The relative success or failure of your teams will have a huge impact on how positive or negative your bottom line will be, and on what people believe about you, your team, and your organization.”
Remember I mentioned that this book could be your designated executive coach? There are many indicators that this book could be the key to self-coaching and even more than that, it can guide you through the mastery of leadership. The workbook style format invites you to study, assess, and apply what you’ve learned in each section by performing a relevant activity or answering a series of introspective questions. Through these exercises, you become aware of present state, where you are now, identify your mission, then formulate a vision for you and your team. That is only the beginning though. This book will pique your enthusiasm for building a rock solid team from a foundation of purpose, trust, integrity, synergy, loyalty, and relationship. You will love the C.A.T. Scan developed by the author to diagnose the characteristics of your organization. The Culture Analysis Tool (C.A.T.) will help you develop the culture in your organization to match your values.
There are so many truths to share from this book, but the fact is, unless you get a copy and work through the program, you can’t experience the benefit of this virtual leadership training program in a book. This book has merit for individuals and when used in conjunction with team members the benefits will be incremental.
Adopting the practical leadership taught through the pages of this book will change you, it will change your team, and ultimately it will change your organization. I highly recommend it as you consider making 2015 the year to Lead Like it Matters: Because it Does.