The Tools of Leadership: Vision, Inspiration, Momentum

Working on the twin principles that we are all obliged to lead, and that leadership can be learned, the author of the best selling The Tao of Coaching argues people are not led by plans and analysis, but by a trinity of vision, inspiration and momentum. This is more a book for aspiring leaders than accomplished ones, but the section on how to carry individuals or groups who are ‘disengaged’ makes a valuable distinction between skill and will. If you are dealing with high skill, but low will, you need to convince. If your staff have high skill and high will, you can involve and delegate. Low skill and high will involve training and enabling. However low skill and low will can mean replacing people.

The elegant writing style and cartoons make former McKinsey partner, Landsberg’s book a pleasure to read. But like so many books about leadership, it hints at, but never makes explicit, the specific demand situation: what style of leadership is appropriate to the needs of the organisation. Effective leadership should mean putting the onus of leadership not only on the leader, but on the organisation itself. The leader helps hold the tension, rather than providing all the answers.

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