I just finished reading The Living Leader by Penny Ferguson. This is a book I received as part of the Programmes for Life – Personal Leadership Programme (PLP), with my organization. Penny walks the reader through a similar path than that presented in the program discussing key leadership aspects such as Integral Performance, Behind the Mask, Accept Responsibility, Communicate Responsibly, Leaders Listen; Questions, Questions and more Questions!, Developing the Right People, Demonstrating Value, What Style of Leadership?, Living in the Present, Company Culture, and The Proof of the Pudding.
Below are some excerpts from the book, which I found particularly inspiring:
a) “Outstanding leaders are not only brilliant communicators themselves, but they help to develop the communication skills of their people to create outstanding teamwork and the most profitable outcomes.”
b) “Incisive questions are not just interesting to learn, they are fundamental to being an outstanding leader. An incisive question is one that moves us past the limiting assumptions or beliefs – that block our minds from thinking clearly. They free the mind to think afresh, to think creatively and to open up to new possibilities. Incisive questions also move individuals towards a greater level of responsibility – they own the solution”.
c) “However, even if you don’t have control over what you get, you do have total control over what you give…What can you give to each person you meet in your company each and ever day to enable them to become more and more who they truly are?
d) On What Style of Leadership: “The first step is to choose at a deep fundamental level who you really want to be. Only then can you decide which style you want to develop. Understand and develop the behaviors that support that style and the deliver – consistently.”
On a personal note this book ends with my favorite profile quotation by George Bernard Shaw : “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them make them.”
Overall an insightful and quick read, and would make great reading material for a group discussion/book club. The Living Leader can be classified as a book within the area of personal accountability. That being said, if you were to read on book in that area I would recommend QBQ (The Question Behind the Question) by John G. Miller – reviewed in an earlier post of mine.