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Saturday, 24 September 2011

Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders !

Leadership among bosses

Review by ABBY WONG

Title: Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders: The Three Essential Principles You Need to Become an Extraordinary Leader

Author: Rajeev Peshawaria
Publisher: Free Press

THIS is a simple book yet extremely powerful. The title sounds more like a clich but the author revitalises it, making it highly relevant, significantly thought provoking and incredibly resonating. A roadmap for managers of every level in any organisation, I urge you to read this book for its tremendous benefits.

Of all the bosses you have had in your career, how many do you consider truly great leaders? One might reply, “Not too many.” That is true for bosses these days are merely bosses, not leaders. And if you yourself are a boss, how do your subordinates rate you? One might be tempted to ask before attempting to answer, “Does it matter?” Well, it does. While bad leadership can go undetected, it can cost organisations tremendous amount of money. Again, are you a good leader?

You're not one if, according to author Rajeev Peshawaria, you don't take it upon yourself to dig deep and find solutions to the most pressing problems of our times.

Yet there is more than just devoting yourself. Leaders who achieve exceptional results despite the toughest challenges are able to do one simple thing to harness human energy toward a shared purpose. This book is about how to discover, or rediscover if you have lost it in the face of adversity, the energy you have once had to fuel yourself as well as many others to create sustainable collective success.

Again, if you think that is hackneyed, don't. Peshawaria, having spent more than twenty years working alongside top executives at some of the biggest corporations in the world, knows precisely what makes and how to be an effective leader. His journey to great leadership is personal and the steps he outlines are simple and intuitive which allows continuing prowess that separates tomorrow's leaders from today's bosses.

Leadership is a journey so are the rewards. Because leaders are in it for a long haul, the first step leaders must take is to identify and be clearly convinced of the underlying purpose or values of their leadership endeavour. The emphasis Peshawaria places on this initial commitment is profound because great leadership indeed cannot be pursued without laser-sharp purpose and values. Furthermore, it is this purpose that defines one's leadership identity and gives the lasting energy to stay on course. But if your purpose is to lead a life enriched by everyday material pleasures gained through your positions, then this book is not for you. You are better off remaining a boss.

Do something different in your life for each economic trajectory, which we most likely will soon witness when technology takes us onto a whole new horizon in solving worldwide problems, gives leadership opportunity. If you have a purpose, like Howard Schultz (chairman and CEO of Starbucks) did back in the 90s, you will have a shot to lead a life enriched by not only materialistic rewards but also satisfaction and meaning.

The same goes to Jeff Bezos of Bezos had a purpose. He then found a channel (a firm), defined the brain (story) of the business, wired it with bones (strategy) that is well understood by everyone in the firm, and aligned it with nerves (cultures). On the outset, brains, bones and nerves maybe the only framework required to energise a business.

Underpinning each pillar of the framework, however, are threads that weave successes and needles that prick them. As a way to demonstrate management of these threads and needles, Peshawaria provides from a large pool of stories on leadership and managerial experiences. Drawn from the little-known philanthropic organisation called Acumen to the highly regarded Goldman Sachs, lessons on characters, fortitude, values, processes and practices abound.

They, too, are simple but by no means simplistic. They are not detailed but in no way less insightful. They help provoke ideas that leaders can use in managing their firms and finding their own paths to great leadership.

Are leaders born or made? Peshawaria thinks while some may be born, leaders can certainly be made as well if they have the will to lead. But do all leaders understand good leadership? No? Read this book.

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