"Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, 'O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:'" -- Daniel 9:20-23 (NKJV)
Remarkable Leadership is a compendium of brief discussions intended to help you check your readiness to employ skills that leaders often use. The skills are:
learn continually, champion change, communicate powerfully, build relationships, develop others, focus on customers, influence with impact, think and act innovatively, value collaboration and teamwork, solve problems and make decisions, take responsibility and be accountable, manage projects and processes successfully, and set goals and support achieving goals.
Each of the competency chapters begins with a brief, followed by a subjective self-assessment to help readers focus in on the relevance of the subject, a discussion of the leading research on how to employ that skill well, a list of action steps, the key principles, and ends with a reference to the book's Web site. The points are illustrated by a few anecdotes and brief examples.
You should think about this book as a compendium of knowledge about these skills areas, drawn from the author's experience and research. It can save you a lot of time trying to decide what the right skills are and how to gain and employ them. Where you want to learn more, you'll need to read the source materials about these skills. But I think it's a good introduction that will help you. I am familiar with the literature concerning leadership, and I was impressed that Mr. Eikenberry chose his sources well.
All leadership books need to be assessed in terms of leaders choosing the right purposes. That's why books such as Principle-Centered Leadership do so well. Otherwise skills can be used to achieve wrong purposes, a problem that I often see in business organizations. Be sure you also read up on this subject before you begin to apply your new skills.
I was impressed that Mr. Eikenberry placed learning continually as the first skill to develop. While reading the book, I checked over the places where my leadership of the 400 Year Project isn't going as well as it might. It was clear to me that I needed to learn more in certain areas or my leadership is going to continue to be less effective than I would like. It's a lesson I hope I won't soon forget. Thank you, Mr. Eikenberry!
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Donald Mitchell. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.