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VINE VOICEon 31 July 2005
Today's fiercely competitive business environment demands that professionals step-up and be counted if their company is to discover a recipe for success. Leadership qualities in professionals at all levels of the management hierarchy play a key role in business success. In this day and age when mediocre team management is a not an option comes the book How To Grow Leaders; another masterstroke by John Adair, the author of the best-selling classic - Not Bosses But Leaders.

Adair who transformed the understanding of how leadership works with his pioneering concepts and thoughts in Not Bosses But Leaders, marks a return with his latest work which explores exactly what we know about leadership and leadership development. Adair fittingly infers that the secret of business success is excellence of leadership at all three levels - strategic, operational and team, a nomenclature that is now beginning to catch on, much of the credit for which goes to him.

Adair has divided How To Grow Leaders into two parts, namely - 'Exploring leadership: A personal odyssey' and 'How to grow leaders: the seven principles'. In the first part of the book, he invites the reader to join him on a journey of discovery about the nature of leadership and how it can be taught. By the end of the first part one gets a unique insight into the heart of leadership following, in Adair's own words, 'three uphill paths - the Qualities approach (what a leader has to be), the Situational approach (what a leader has to know), and the Group or functional approach (what a leader has to do).' All of the three paths, according to the author must be thought of as whole, for when put together they constitute nothing less than the generic role of a leader.

In the latter part of the book Adair moves on to identifying the seven key principles of leadership development and answers vital questions on how to select, train and educate leaders at team, operational and strategic levels. Topics variously discussed in this book include: the manager as a leader, how people become leaders, training team leaders, how to manage leadership training, and learning to be a top strategic leader. The entire narrative is packed with motivational quotes from some of the greatest thinkers, innovators and leaders of our times.

This thought provoking and highly readable book underpins Adair's position as a world-renowned authority on the subject of leadership. How To Grow Leaders helps readers discover skills in themselves and those around them. The book does not harbour any pretences of transforming the reader, rather it makes one pause, think and appreciate the value of leadership skills and helps one to attempt to imbue certain qualities which are considered a prerequisite for succeeding.

The narrative is simple and the message is clear and concise; something which cannot be attributed to many of the myriad so-called leadership development programmes. Adair's book sets the record straight on readership development. It is one motivational course readers can undergo from the comfort of their own armchair provided the author's thoughts are read and appreciated fully. Absorbing as the book is, it would be hard not to.
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on 12 June 2005
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.
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on 21 October 2013
This is a well thought out and structured book that will appeal to those who have leadership aspirations in both the public and private sectors. Additionally, it will help organisations and their senior leadership teams construct meaningful leadership development programmes that engage with the corporate strategy and message of the organisation. Each chapter is designed so it interlinks and builds on other chapters. The author puts forward a number of explanations and models that are in one sense straightforward but are complex and deep in another. This allows the reader to think meaningfully about how they and their organisation develop themselves and the next cadre of strategic leaders within their organisation. This is aided by the case studies utilised in this book along with key points sections that encapsulate the notable aspects and messages of each chapter. Whilst, in the second section of the book, the author provides the reader with a checklist of questions in certain chapters. These are designed for individuals and organisations to undertake retrospection in terms of their leadership development activities to date and how they should deal with this issue in the future. From my perspective, the two key messages of this book are firstly, how individuals think about leadership and secondly, how they communicate their key messages, vision and values.
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on 22 June 2012
I picked up this book to guide me how to grow leaders from my team. The book does offer on few of its pages good advice on what makes a good leader and how get the these characters out of individuals. However what disappointed me was that too many of the pages are spent on what the author has himself done during his long career and on advertising how he filled the vacuum in leadership training. If someone is interested in the history of the leadership training, yes, this book gives a lot, but it is too weak on the actual substance.
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on 6 October 2013
As usual, a very insightful piece into leadership. Highly recommend, The summation deserves a five star, that experience and personally building yourself still remains the best way forward.

I have given four star not because the book is not great, for it is, but because the title is a bit misleading. I bought it because I need to train people to take over my leadership role but the book didn't quite take that direction. But nonetheless, I have gained a lot from the book. I will be reading it again and again.

Well done Prof, this and your other books is immensely useful to those of us that have been thrown into it without any real preparation.
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on 20 July 2013
This is a useful book but requires close reading to appreciate. It is grounded a lot in the military but the links with business are clear.
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on 17 July 2013
I read this book to support my thesis on "effective leadership". Although Adair's approach is slightly arrogant, the content is excellent - clear, precise and a proven model, all well explained and transferrable into the work place
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on 15 November 2013
I purchased the book with an open mind. Adair is clearly very experienced and skilled in the field. What I did not like was the constant reference to other books from the author and the somewhat shallow coverage of some areas.
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on 28 August 2013
An interesting perception As to management and the role of leader and the development or growth of leaders can be achieved. There is multiple reference to the sanctuary model which is a tried and tested system.
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on 30 July 2014
It is not as much good as I was expected!
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