The Inspiring Leader

The Inspiring Leader (unlocking the secrets of how extraordinary leaders motivate) John H. Zenger, Joseph R. Folkman and Scott K. Edinger

With a title like this I couldn’t help but be drawn to this book and it did not disappoint. This book purports to be different from others you see on the subject of motivation and leadership because it is based on analytical research and evidence rather than anecdote and theory and it does appear to do this well.

It takes on the subject of ‘inspiration’ and ‘motivation’, despite recognising that it is often seen as a 'touchy/feely' subject, simply because the authors have been convinced through their research that it is these qualities that make such a significant difference to the capability of a true leader.

The book blends facts and figures with stories of real leaders in real situations and encourages the reader, through suggested actions, to reflect on their own competence and develop their leadership capabilities.

Here’s an example of just one of the studies shared in this book:

- Leaders with no strengths in a particular competency (as identified via 360 feedback) they have an average effectiveness rating at the 35th percentile.
- When leaders have 1 strength, their effectiveness rating jumps to the 63rd percentile.
- When a leader has 3 of the 16 strengths assessed, this lifts their effectiveness rating to the 80th percentile.

If ever there was a reason to concentrate on developing strengths, this, surely, must be it.

Subjects covered by the book include the importance of self-belief, optimism, initiative, enthusiasm and responsible behaviour - all qualities and attributes that we know about but perhaps don‘t spend quite enough attention to when developing our leadership repertoire. It also talks about the importance of role modelling and the effectiveness of this in developing a high performing company.

An enjoyable read and one in which you can learn something new in every chapter.