John Adair published THE first book on Leadership Development in 1968, another one was published 5 years later. The library of congress now holds 94,000 volumes, leadership has been split into a complexity of over 420 "competencies" identified by a multitude of authors.
A simpler picture is needed. Some clear thinking and some proven research.
"How to Grow Leaders" delivers this in an engaging way, logical and drawing on a vast hinterland of knowledge.
The first part summarises what is needed in terms of Generic Qualities, Action and the situation to define excellent leadership at the team, operational and strategic level. He is nervous of the trend to look at "follower ship", and prefers the "willing partners" analogy for people who are well led.
Characteristics and qualities of Great Leaders according to John include;
• Exemplification of 4/5 qualities expected within the particular role or situation
• Generic Qualities including; Integrity, Trust, Mix of toughness & fairness, Personal warmth & humanity, Humility or a lack of arrogance.
John's 3 circles model focuses on what Leaders do; achieve tasks, focus on the needs of the individual and focus on the needs of the team.
Part 2 outlines the 7 principles for Growing Leaders, illustrated by case studies and tinged with the authors frustration at the lack of clarity and clear thinking evident in most organisations. First principle - the CEO must own the problem and opportunity.
Part 2 takes you through a prescription for leadership development and maps a personal intellectual journey of the worlds first leadership and leadership development expert.
It is an epic, written by a pre-eminet, multi-faceted man who embodies integrity and intellectual honesty.
As a whole the book pulls together strands of thinking from a global historical perspective yet is equally inspiring for an individual to read as those leading organisations,his ability to draw lessons from philosophy and history, together with snippets of wisdom (and the definition of the word) is an exciting journey through part 1 & 2.
John Adair demolishes the outputs of lazy thinking evident in the plethora of authors and organisations feeding on the great demand for leadership and he is particulaly scathing of US intellectual output.
A stimulating, informative read particularly for CEO's & Strategic Leaders.