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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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Book Reviews

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“Turn the ship Around!” – David Marquet (Portfolio / Penguin, 2012)

Turn The Ship Around A True Story of Building Leaders by Breaking the Rules David Marquet

 

The theme of this book is the change in leadership approach introduced by a Retired US Submarine Captain in order to get away from the blind obedience that results from a highly-directive leadership style, typical of the armed forces. His experience turned a poor-performing unit into a leading performer measured by a number of relevant indicators.

The key message of the book is that “Leadership should mean giving control rather than taking control, and creating leaders rather than forging followers”. This is the author’s essential tenet, and it is something he terms ‘the leader-leader model’.

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  50 Hits
50 Hits

Leading Teams: Paolo Guenzi & Dino Ruta (Jossey-Bass, 2013)

Leading Teams Tools and Techniques for Successful Team Leadership from the Sports World Paulo Guenzi

This 330-page book has an easy-read style and will be of interest to anyone with sporting inclinations. Its sub-title, “Tools and techniques for successful team leadership from the sports world”, describes accurately its theme and content. From the off, it establishes a direct link between the two worlds, of business and sport. Sensibly, its first chapter points out the key differences between the two and offers words of caution about making too strong a link. After all, the make-up and operations of teams in business differ widely from those in the sporting context. It also highlights the fundamental difference in the way that the two sectors define and measure success.

So, this approach raises a couple of questions: (i) isn’t sport a sub-set of the larger world of commerce and business? And, (ii) isn’t it dangerous to generalise too far about the business of sport, given the vast differences in sporting commercial success? Both questions are valid and not really covered in this book. Indeed, as the reader progresses, it is clear that the real focus is on how sports coaches manage their teams, and the commercial outcomes are largely ignored after the opening chapter of caveats.

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  52 Hits
52 Hits

The Fulfilling Workplace: Ronald J Burke & Cary L Cooper (Gower 2012)

The Fulfilling Workplace Ronald J Burke Cary L Cooper

 

The sub-title to this weighty tome is “The organisation’s role in achieving individual and organisational health” and the editors – Burke and Cooper – have enlisted a serious collection of academics from the field of organisational psychology to provide 14 scholarly articles on the subject-matter. It is 314 pages in length, fully referenced (as one would expect) and is definitely not bed-time reading!

Setting the context for the book from the economic and corporate travails of the last 5 years, the core theme centres around the individual barriers to productive work and the challenges of operating in an environment of organisational mayhem. It also investigates individuals as the cause of dysfunction at both a team and an organisational level. The book’s proposition is that a healthy workplace can be achieved by the development of healthy individuals and a healthy working environment. The concept of the ‘healthy workplace’ is defined as one in which individuals are able to bring personal resources, healthy practices, beliefs, attitudes, and values into a working environment in which the organisation of work adds value to the individual’s collective skills, abilities and experience. They summarise this latter bit as a healthy, non-toxic work environment.

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  51 Hits
51 Hits

Beyond the Call - Marc Woods & Steve Coomber (Wiley 2013)

Beyond the Call Marc Woods Steve Coomber

 

Opening with statement from the influential Edgar Schein “The only thing of real importance that leaders do is to create and manage culture,” the authors go on to discuss the concept of discretionary effort (DE). This is something they feel has been under-researched and under-rated amidst all of the interest in organisational commitment and employee engagement of the last 30 years.

The book’s aim is to close the discretionary effort gap - between what people actually do and what they are potentially prepared and able to do. It is compiled from the authors’ own experience of the work environment, interviews they conducted, a review of the relevant literature, and from research done by Dr Christopher Rotolo at NY University. This last source supplies their definition for discretionary effort: “the effort that employees choose to exert in service to themselves, their co-workers, or their employers.” Put another way, it is the extent to which employees are prepared to perform above and beyond their job description - ‘beyond the call of duty.’

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  57 Hits
57 Hits

“Transformative HR” – John Boudreau & Ravin Jesuthasan

Transformative HR John Boudreau Ravin Jesuthasan

 

This is a book that ostensibly has a very clear mission: to champion the cause of evidence-based HR management. There is, however, a ‘sub-plot’ which relates to the need for HR professionals to be able to operate with their colleagues from other functions on a level playing field; one on which they can display the full spectrum of their talents.

The authors lead the reader through a well-argued thesis based on the assertion that the HR function is still evolving; from the personnel department to task-focussed HR, the function is now in the process of shifting its orbit around the centrality of human capital. These authors believe that the emphasis is on decision-making, with a far greater logic and analytical rigour than heretofore.

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  66 Hits
66 Hits