Friday 22 April 2016

The Leadership of One - Karla Brandau and Douglas Ross

The Leadership of One:
Become the leader people Choose to follow ... not have to follow
Karla Brandau and Douglas Ross
Discretionary Effort Leadership

With averaging over a hundred books a year I am often surprised by home some books fall into my hands. This book ended up in my hands by a chance encounter. And to be honest it is a quick and easy read, but also a very important one. The book is so important because it reminds us that the first role of a leader is self-leadership. Only through that primary role and responsibility will we develop the skills to lead others and to bring out the best in them. We will become true leaders by example.

Times they are a changing and to be effective leadership must change also, in today's workplace things are constantly changing; mergers, acquisitions, turn over and the changing demographic of the workplace are demanding it. Much like the writings from Brady Wilson or even Seth Godin - Brandau and Ross capture that changing dynamic and provide sound guidance on how to become the 21st Century leader or as they put it; the leader people choose to follow … not have to follow.

One of the first examples of this change they bring to our attention is the concept of a triple bottom line: "A triple bottom line means evaluating the company's performance in the public business world realized in profits, the private business world of their people, treating employees with respect and retaining their top people talent, and the social sphere of their community and how well they interact with the planet on environmental policies." It is no longer just about a good pay and benefits. Meaningful work has become much more than that.

Then they go on to highlight the main point, leadership begins with self. They state: "The fundamental assumption of this course is that becoming a 21st century leader is an individual growth process where each person seeking the coveted title of "leader" is first required to lead themselves into new territory of deeper self-development and professional growth." And that is done through personal growth and development: "Knowing you only have one person to lead means you focus on your professional growth, emotional intelligence evolution, and your ability to live in integrity." That development can be with books like this, through courses, group training and even one on one mentoring.

Through this book you can register online for some free assessments and tools to help you get started on this path. They offer this and if you are interested extended coaching: "The Leadership of One coaching gives you access to a variety of assessments, including identifying not only personality traits that people can observe, but hidden motivators that help explain why you make certain choices and why you value one behavior or activity over another."

This book was an awesome little read. It helped remind me of why some of us go the extra mile consistently and do the bare minimum. It all comes down to effort, or we should say discretionary effort. Through developing ourselves and through developing other we can help foster an environment that gets those results. One of the quotes from the book that had the most impact on me was "Discretionary effort is optional. It is freewill, which is an intentional choice by the employee." Most of my career, both corporately and in non-for-profits that has been a strength of mine but I did not have words for it. This book provides a framework for the language and for bringing out true leadership in self and through that to your teams and maybe even your whole organization. This was an excellent little read and I look forward to reading Discretionary Effort Leadership once it is available.

Books by Karla Brandau and Douglass Ross:
The Leadership of One
Discretionary Effort Leadership

Books by Douglass Ross:
A Liturgy of the Heart

Books by Karla Brandau:
Email Survival Skills
Dartnell-Pictorial Guide - Outlook-2010
Dartnell-Pictorial Guide - Outlook-2007
Wake Up the Winner Inside

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