Academics, consultants, leaders, and authors Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones have not created a step-by-step manual for becoming an effective leader. In fact, they are adamant that such "recipes for leadership" don't even exist. What they have done is crafted a thoughtful and well-researched guide that leads readers through a path of self-awareness, emerging at the other end with clear ideas on what will make them a successful, authentic leader.
Goffee and Jones begin by stating that hierarchy and leadership don't mean the same thing. They argue that leaders exist on all levels of an organization, and are most interested in studying leaders who are capable of inspiring followers and who are "anti-bureaucratic and charismatic". While they adamantly resist formulas, the authors will say that true leadership is "situational, nonhierarchical, and relational" and that leadership is not an end in itself – it is always in pursuit of an overarching purpose.
According to Goffee and Jones, leadership is a relationship between the leader and their followers. They state that followers seek a leader who is authentic and exciting; someone who creates a community and believes that the task at hand is significant.
In true transformational leadership style, the authors believe that the best leaders can excite followers so that they become great performers. They know when to step aside and let members of their teams develop and use their expertise to the benefit of the organization.
Throughout the book, the authors draw on their vast research, including in-depth, one-on-one interviews, to share examples of effective leaders in action, from the world-famous Richard Branson to the more humble New York City nurse, Carol Brown.
Each chapter will challenge you to think about your own leadership style, strengths, and weaknesses. This is not a book to skim and I recommend setting aside time to focus on each chapter's message and how it is relevant to your leadership goals.
By the end of the book, you will have reflected on ways that you can:
"Great leaders can, and must, make a difference – and your capability to act as a leader can be improved. In the process, you might even make the world a better place."