The article by Leavy is concerned with the problem of the dearth of incentive among a large percentage of the workforce that exists nowadays around the world (20). It is stated that four global forces that lead to considerable changes in the world–the switch of the locus of economic activity to emerging markets, the increased influence of technology, the ageing of the population around the globe, and the increasing scale of economic connectedness–lead to a considerable change in many industries; so, in order to survive and develop in such an environment, organizations have a dire need to develop more effective strategies of leadership (Leavy 20-21). Thus, the author proposes to consider three books that might be helpful for leadership development.
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The first of these books is Fred Kiel’s Return on Character, which demonstrates that strong character in a leader is a crucial contributor to a business’ success (qtd. in Leavy 21). Drawing from his personal experience as a senior executive adviser, he made two important discoveries. The first is that a strong leader can achieve much better business performance (up to five times greater return on assets) and considerably more effectively motivate their employees. The second is that a person’s character very often consists of habits to a very large degree, and thus changing habits can allow one to change one’s character to a more effective one. It is also stated that virtuoso CEOs researched by the author cared much more about their staff than low-performance, self-focused CEOs, and were characterized by a considerably higher degree of accurate self-awareness (qtd. in Leavy 21-23).
The second book, Discover Your True North by Bill George, shows how developing oneself and “discovering one’s core values and passion to lead” are crucial if one is to become an efficacious, empowering leader (qtd. in Leavy 21). It is emphasized that a leader’s own life-story plays a crucial role in his/her development. It is also stressed that a leader should create the relationship of trust with his/her followers, because otherwise effective collaboration is very difficult. Such trust requires the leader to demonstrate a high degree of integrity, for which purpose it is essential that the leader engages in self-insight and discovers his/her own true values. It is also paramount to develop a respective organizational culture in the company if the collaboration between the leader and his/her followers is to be fruitful (qtd. in Leavy 24-26).
Finally, Steven Kaplan, the author of the third book, What You Really Need to Lead, argues that everybody ought to “think and act like an owner” if the workplaces are to become more engaging, and the leaders are to be empowering (qtd. in Leavy 21). It also is highlighted that, apart from empowering others, leaders also must keep empowering themselves (qtd. in Leavy 26). An effective way to do this is to develop the mindset of an owner because this permits for focusing on the fundamental question “how do we add value for others?” instead of simply concentrating on the problem “how do we make money?” as well as for developing commitment to lifelong learning and becoming service-oriented in one’s pursuits (qtd. in Leavy 27).
Therefore, it should be stressed that all the three authors discussed by Leavy provide guidelines that might allow one to become an effective leader and sustain that effectiveness for a long period of time (21-27). Doing so is crucial due to the fact that the companies need to be able to survive in the contemporary environment, which is changing rapidly because of numerous social and economic processes that take place in the society nowadays (Leavy 20-21).
Leavy, Brian. “Effective Leadership Today–Character not Just Competence.” Strategy & Leadership, vol. 44, no. 1, 2016, pp. 20-29.