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Powerful leadership learning and current thinking on coaching

Welcome to our book reviews

Take a look at the books that have stood the test of time in leadership and coaching.  

You'll find reviews and author interview clips below.

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Bob Hughes, Forton Group CEO & Creator of the Leadership Book Club

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Intentional Leadership by Jane Kise - reviewed by Bob Hughes

1Intentional Leadership2 lenses for focusing strengths, managing weaknesses, and achieving your purpose.

I’m fascinated by the concept of personality type and yet sometimes despair of the oversimplified use of the idea and the inherent danger of constraining people rather than liberating them. Through this book, Jane Kise has created a pragmatic and expansive approach to how we make use of knowledge of our type, include some great links into emotional intelligence and neuroscience, and built-in some useful techniques to support leaders who want to make conscious choices about the impact they make the development needs this will require.

Jane makes the useful distinction between intentional leaders and the rest; she talks about not only planning what to do but how to do it - this fits in well with our own leadership model of the what the how and the who. The book has at its heart both emotional intelligence and personality type and Jane build some useful tips into her book for how different personality types might build on their strengths.

The book is well structured; starting with the opportunity to identify your top 10 leadership priorities, linking these to Jane’s 12 lenses and then building a plan. There’s an interesting discussion about the need to be honest about blind spots as well as focusing on strengths when looking to develop yourself. She also points to the need for responsibility, commitment and brutal self honesty.

There is a very concise chapter describing what we mean by personality type and then linking this concept to the leadership priorities and lenses previously described. I found this really interesting and when I applied of the model through my own type, I could see some areas where it will be really useful for me to focus as a leader - either because it was plain to my strengths, or, almost more importantly, because there was a danger of me neglecting a key priority because it didn’t fit in with my preferred approach.

Jane it brings each of the 12 lenses to life through the eyes of some characters she has created. There is a case study of how they’ve worked and then some discussion about what they were missing through over focus on one aspect only. Links are made between the lenses and emotional intelligence, with a discussion about the contribution this lens makes towards leadership. There are some good self-analysis questionnaires and some tips for coaching yourself, with some options for how to develop each lens.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter on balancing reality with vision - two concepts at the core of our leadership coaching model. These are linked with the second letter pairing in MBTI/TDI; Sensing (S) and intuition (N). It reminded me of the old quote “vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare”. The character in the book with a preference for Sensing did their job thoroughly, but failed to influence through assertiveness and hadn’t seen the bigger picture of social responsibility which meant that, although her part of the job was complete, it failed after it left her department. The person with the preference for Intuition had great vision and was full of possibility, but had failed to see the short-term impact on their team as they expanded the organisation. Here, empathy would have helped him make the connection from his vision to the reality around him. The author makes with a very valid point that our brains tend to filter out information that contradicts our positions or choices.

In her conclusion, Jane draws was back to the need to define success for ourselves and points out that her model  can support people to stop trying to be someone they aren’t; instead it will help you become who you want to be.

 
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