Unleashing your Leadership Potential: Seven Strategies for Success

Sandi Mann (School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, UK)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 1 November 2011




Mann, S. (2011), "Unleashing your Leadership Potential: Seven Strategies for Success", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 32 No. 8, pp. 855-856. https://doi.org/10.1108/lodj.2011.32.8.855.2



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This book presents a model of leadership that is aimed at actualizing leadership potential. It aims at answering the questions posed in the Introduction: why do some people become leaders? Is it possible to stimulate the emergence and development of leadership qualities? By what different paths to leaders take on leadership roles?

The model is based on the life and career paths of more than 150 leaders in a wide variety of leadership roles. The model, however, does not attempt to study the skills needed for leadership like many other models out there; rather it aims to present seven strategies and underlying actions that anyone, claims Luc, can use to free their own latent “leadership capital”. Each of the seven strategies forms part of an interconnected model so that each elements feeds onto the three wider concepts of social, personal and professional skill.

The book then is divided into the seven chapters that each make up one of the strategies of leadership. Chapter 1, “Breaking free from social conformism”, is about differentiating ourselves from others in the group so as to approach problems differently, to take risks and to stand up with courage. Luckily, Luc tells us how this can be achieved through five driving forces including developing feelings of personal security and identifying personal values. She also lists ten examples of nonconformist behaviours which include achieving higher standards than expected, developing unconventional interests and even disobeying orders when necessary.

Chapter 2 examines leadership self‐efficacy, or the belief in one's capacity to demonstrate good leadership behaviours; this chapter contains various strategies for developing and reinforcing such beliefs. These include such ideas as taking up challenges of progressive difficulty and leveraging constructive social influences. This leads to the third chapter, “Developing a ‘T’ approach to learning”. The T approach is an attitude – an effort to develop the depth and breadth when a leader undertakes a task or role. This chapter also identifies four categories of learners; those that adopt a T approach and three other categories that don't (passive learners, generalists and experts on content).

“Building leadership resilience” in the face of adversity follows in chapter 4 (opening with the Rudyard Kipling poem, “If”) and different types of adversity are discussed, together with a model for developing leadership resilience based on the four key areas of personal, interpersonal, professional and social spheres.

“Seeking leadership developers” is the next stage in the model and this chapter is about taking into account the six important roles played by different individuals that a leader is likely to have contact with; these are the mentor, the coach, the challenger, the passeur, the role model and the “anti‐model” (someone you would want to avoid emulating).

Chapter 6 is entitled “Developing a personal vision” which is the sixth stage of Luc's model. This chapter provides an overview of the role that personal visions and values have played in the actualization of leadership capital within a range of leaders and includes a useful typology of visions (including supraorganizational‐boundaryless visions, community‐centred ones, organizational ones and professional visions). Personal visions provide an image of a desired future, appeal to our aspirations and needs, motivate us, align collective and personal efforts and provide guidelines in decision‐making.

The final stage then is “Getting into leadership actions and engagement” which brings all the stages together by advising how to take up challenges and seize opportunities to develop leadership capital. It also includes a useful section on barriers to action and engagement.

Overall, this book provides informative reading, but is not an easy read. It is high on theoretical and educational content which can make it a little “worthy” but there are many sound ideas and original concepts to discover.

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