50 Do’s for Everyday Leadership, by David Wheatley, John Barrett, Lynn Townsend
I had two initial concerns about the title of this book – “50 DOs for Everyday Leadership”. Firstly having just reviewed another supposed leadership book with “100” in the title (and found it wanting), I thought “Oh, no. How did they get the exact number 50? Are the authors really serious about leadership, or is it just another list of nice to dos?”. My second concern, had to do with the term “leadership” as it is often (to my mind) misused mistakenly for “management”.
The introduction soon put my mind at rest as to the authenticity of the 50 DOs. They have actually been condensed by Barrett, Wheatley and Townsend from a list of over 300 gathered through supervisor and manager interviews over a number of years. The title is indeed appropriate. When the authors say “DOs” they actually mean “to do”. Expect to work your way through this book, not read it!
I like the way the book is set up. The introduction provides an accurate overview of how to get the most out of the book. The authors pose seven leadership questions starting with “How can I build trust and credibility” through to “How do I continue to improve what my people and I are doing?” The book is then structured around these seven questions which form a natural developmental flow for anyone aspiring to leadership (You’ll have to read the book to get the other five questions). I also like the way the questions are phrased. Using “I” rather than “You” which encourages the reader (read “doer”) to take full responsibility for each action and does not talk down to us like so many self help books.
50 DOs for Everyday Leadership is full of application tools, often phrased as a pneumonic such as their FACET™ – Focus, Accountability, Consequences, Easier to do, Tracking. These make it easy to find a practical application for each of the 50 DOs. Some are a little simplistic (eg. MEET for various aspects of meetings), however, they will be useful for those who need to remember the key points.
There’s also plenty of emphasis on getting the leader’s people involved in leadership development. There are many instances where meetings, team member groups and peer cohorts can be involved (and encouraged to take a leadership role) by reading the book and in conjunction with the formal leader, undertake development activities. If you want to study leadership, there are plenty of good texts available. If you want to actually DO leadership, then this book should be one of the first you put in your leadership toolkit.
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