Bullock, J. (2008), "The Living Leader: Become the Leader You Want to Be (1st edition)", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 207-208. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437730810852533
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The Living Leader: Become the Leader You Want to Be is not a book meant to be read cover‐to‐cover but rather an programme to be employed in a program of personal leadership development designed to unlock potential and build essential skills. Driven by the discovery that “Leadership is more ‘being’ than ‘doing’; more simplicity than complexity” Ferguson leverages years of organisational consulting and best practices from running senior management development programmes to devise an approach that helps individuals become the leader they choose to become. In so doing, a major objective of the Personal Leadership Programme (PLP) developed by the author and outlined in the book is to achieve lasting changes in behaviour in the workplace unlike the changes resulting from common programmes which amount to “less than 20% of what those attending the programmes had committed to.”
The book outlines the PLP in building block fashion with each chapter embarking on a journey of self‐discovery and leadership behaviours that builds on the knowledge gained and skills developed in the prior chapter. After providing an overview of the entire programme, the book launches into self‐awareness and examination to help the reader come to know himself more deeply. Acceptance of responsibility is grounded as the foundation of leadership before tackling communication styles and behaviour, paying particular attention to the gap that often exists between perception and reality, as well as emphasising the importance of listening. Moving from the individual to the organisational aspects of the leadership realm the programme next examines people within the organisation, their strengths and weaknesses that must be considered when evaluating the value they bring with a focus on unleashing their potential. Leadership styles are explored against the backdrop of the complexity inherent in the organisation which is made up of a diverse collection of individuals to help readers assess which styles work best under certain conditions. The programme does not stop here – which is where most leadership development programmes leave participants with a listing of styles and situations they must struggle to master … .or eventually abandon – but goes further to provide direction for leadership to achieve goals and plans whilst helping the reader stay anchored in the premise that change can only occur in the present moment. This vital difference of the PLP helps readers put leadership skills in action to achieve change rather than waiting for change to happen to them! Along this vein Ferguson frames the totality of leadership within the larger organisational culture to help the reader understand the dynamics within which leadership occurs. This big picture view helps demystify the interplay between a leader and the organisational as a whole. The final chapter of the book presents case studies of organisations illustrating the success of the programme to help readers gain a solid understanding of potential outcomes that can be achieved.
The Living Leader: Become the Leader You Want to Be presents a structured programme of personal leadership development that is simple, straightforward, purposeful, and easy to employ. It is self‐directed and governed with development and progress based on the development of new attitudes, behaviours, and communication styles designed to bring out the best in the leader and those whom they lead. Each chapter is presented in a logical manner that allows employees and executives alike to reap the benefits of Ferguson's years of experience and glean expert advice to help them become the leader they aspire to be. The programme focuses on sustainable change and leadership behaviours that can transform potential into extraordinary performance. The programme focuses on enhancing the potential and performance of the leader who in turn unleashes the potential and performance of employees to achieve organisational success. The Living Leader: Become the Leader You Want to Be is recommended for anyone with an interest in improving their leadership skills or learning more about motivating others to successful performance.