Book Review: 'Intelligent Leadership: What You Need to Know to Unlock Your Full Potential' by John Mattone
Intelligent Leadership: What You Need to Know to Unlock Your Full Potential John Mattone AMACOM (2013)
How “personal choice” can help an organization to achieve breakthrough, high-impact results
John Mattone is convinced (as am I) that identifying and developing high-potential and emerging leaders “is and will continue to be one of the top business issues facing CEOs” and other senior-level leaders. In her brilliant book, Growing Great Employees: Turning Ordinary People into Extraordinary Performers, Erika Andersen explains how and why great leaders resemble gardeners who have a “green thumb.” She agrees with Mattone that, now and in years to come, “All great leaders need to have a very clear mental picture of what capability, commitment, and alignment constitute. All great leaders need to exactly what the picture looks like for themselves in their particular organizations.” This conceptual capability is among those that define what Mattone characterizes as “intelligent leadership.” Although some great leaders simply have “the right stuff,” Mattone suggests that the vast majority of great leaders — more than 95 percent — “have become great leaders through personal choice.” They make a conscious decision to develop their own character and competence. They also make a conscious decision to support that same process of development by others.
I commend Mattone on his skillful use of several reader-friendly devices, including a unique explanation, “Using the Appendixes” (Pages 159-223) at the conclusion of the first chapter. Also, a “Tips” section (Chapters 5-13) accompanied by “Awareness” diagnostic exercises and several Exhibits that illustrate key points such as those, for example, in Chapter 2: “The 3C Pyramid,” Mattone’s “Wheel of Intelligent Leadership™,” “ Predictive Connections,” “Critical Thinking,” “Decision Making,” Strategic Thinking,” “Emotional Intelligence/Leadership,” and “Communication Skills.” These visual aids consolidate essential information, of course, but various wheels also indicate that leaders need a number of different styles, approaches, and skills because they must respond effectively to a number of different challenges and opportunities. However, certain qualities of character (from the Latin root that means “engraved”) must remain constant. Mattone identifies six: courage, loyalty, diligence, modesty, honesty, and gratitude. Without all of them, those who aspire to lead will find it very difficult (if not impossible) to earn and then sustain others respect and trust. These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye, also listed to indicate the scope of Mattone’s coverage.
o The Role Models of Outstanding Leadership (Pages 3-4) o Using the Appendixes (12) Note: There are five and each (all by itself) is worth far more than the cost of the book. o The Nine Outer-Core Strategic Competencies (18-30) o The Six Elements of Character (38-42) o The Values Profile and Elements of Character (46-52) o Breaking Down the Map of Leadership Maturity(tm): Enneagram (58-68) o Helper Leadership Style, Tips for Strengthening the Helper Trait, and Tips for Working with Predominant Helpers and (72-76) o Entertainer Leadership Style (82-83) o Artist Leadership Style (92-93) o Thinker Leadership Style (102-103) o Disciple Leadership Style (112-113) o Activist Leadership Style (122-123) o Driver Leadership Style (132-133) o Arbitrator Leadership Style (141) o Perfectionist Leadership Style (150)
All organizations need – but few have – great leadership at all levels and in all areas. This book responds directly and effectively to that need. Earlier in this review, I noted that, although some great leaders simply have “the right stuff,” John Mattone suggests that the vast majority of great leaders — more than 95 percent — “have become great leaders through personal choice.” They make a conscious decision to develop their own character and competence. They also make a conscious decision to support that same process of development by others. He wrote this book to provide a wealth of information, insights, and counsel that can help guide and support those efforts.
Editor's note: This review was written by Robert Morris and has been published with his permission.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.