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A debut guide offers a personal examination of business leadership.
Differentiation in the leadership book category is virtually impossible because there are only so many ways being a leader can be portrayed. This leadership manual by MacLeod (School of Population and Public Health, Univ. of British Columbia) labors valiantly to set itself apart from the pack. For the most part, the content is familiar and has been covered in other texts; such topics as exploring personal leadership traits, dissecting organizational culture, dealing with complexity, and embracing change have been exhaustively addressed before. References to and excerpts from other books, which this volume contains, are also common. But MacLeod’s guide stands out by doing one thing particularly well: It puts a very personal face on leadership.
Featured in these pages are numerous “leadership vignettes” taken from the author’s own corporate management experience that serve to illustrate key concepts. MacLeod often demonstrates lessons he personally learned, and he is unafraid to expose his own vulnerabilities and history. The personal slant of the insightful manual is also refreshing because it emphasizes the human side of leadership. MacLeod talks about the importance of empathy, “servant leadership,” values, and integrity.
The book is under 300 pages, with just six chapters. Except for the last one, all of the chapters include a section that asks provocative questions requiring readers to delve into their own leadership styles and reflect on their unique capabilities. The questions really get to the heart of the subject. The author suggests he is sharing knowledge rather than giving specific direction, an approach that feels authentic. MacLeod closes the guide with a perceptive, elegantly written assessment of his own leadership development:
Candid, concise, and skillfully delivered leadership advice.