Improving leadership

by 17 Apr 2007

Quiet Leadership: help people think better dont tell them what to do: six steps to transforming performance at work, by David Rock, HarperCollins 2006. $45.00

Imagine being a leader who doesn’t actually have to tell anyone what to do. While this may seem unrealistic and counter-productive, leadership coach, teacher and public speaker, David Rock believes this can improve employee performance. His book is a six-step guide to workplace performance improvement, increasing productivity, boosting morale and creating better job satisfaction. According to Rock, the key is in understanding the human brain and how people think about and process information. The first half of the book examines recent discoveries about the brain and how it can be used to change things by recognising it as a connection machine. For executives who want to be more inspiring and get more from their leadership or management teams, Rock details six steps to think about: thinking; listen for potential; speak with intent; dance toward insight; create new thinking; and follow up. The final part of the book looks at how these six steps can be put into practice to help solve problems, work with teams, and to make decisions. Quiet Leadership is a reasonably light read filled with exercises, examples and diagrams.

Leadership Power Plays: how the worlds most powerful executives reach the top of their game, by BusinessWeek, McGraw-Hill, 2007. $24.95

As part of the BusinessWeek power plays series, this book provides an insider’s look into the best practice and “power moves” of some of the world’s most successful leaders. Readers are given insights into the business problems, solutions and strategies for success of business luminaries such as Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan, Terry Semel, CEO of Yahoo!, Jack Welch, past CEO of GE, and 11 other executives. Set out in an easy-to-read format, the case study style makes this a practical tool for readers as they can apply what they learn from the experiences and advice shared. Each story is unique, focusing on different issues, meaning there is something in it for everyone. The final chapter pays tribute to the man considered to be one of the greatest management thinkers ever, Peter Drucker.

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