"Becoming a Student of Leadership - Making Leadership a Practice" is a book about leadership in the broadest sense of the word. It asserts that we all serve as leaders in some way, and we need to become students of leadership to learn how best to lead from our various positions within an organization. As students, we must practice with a drive to continually improve and the humility to know that we'll never be finished learning. The most effective leaders spend less time trying to prove what they know and more time creating opportunities for everyone to learn. The book is written as a series of stories, meditations, and essays about various aspects of leadership including the influence of ego, the importance of humility, the power of radical candor, and the ability to address adversity with generosity and an assumption of positive intent. Many of the pieces present stories about Jeffrey's work and life experiences — and often about his mistakes and shortcomings — that led him to revelations about how to become a better leader.
Current leaders will find "Becoming a Student of Leadership" useful not because it offers radically new ideas on effective leadership but because it draws readers in with personal anecdotes that remind us of how to be an inspired leader. It reminds us of our human imperfections and encourages us to challenge our views and perspectives. It helps us to check our egos and seek to discover our blind spots and weaknesses that diminish our ability to lead and inspire from a place of humility.
Managers will benefit from the book because they, too, need to understand the difference between effectively delegating and oppressively micromanaging. Many of the stories included in these pages will remind managers how introducing meaning, purpose, and possibility to the work of the team, rather than being an officious taskmaster, will inspire higher levels of engagement, motivation, and productivity across the organization.
Young professionals and aspiring leaders who have known too few inspiring and too many misguided leaders will also find hope and value in reading about how the path to leadership starts right here, right now, and is taken with intentionality, humility, and practice. They will learn that leadership is not about obtaining and wielding power, but about making connections with the team, creating a compelling vision, and generating energy and excitement about the work ahead.
In fact, "Becoming a Student of Leadership" has something for everyone – the opportunity to discover the leader in all of us. We all have a reason to lead effectively at some point in our lives. The essays, meditations, and anecdotes found in these pages are written as a series of reminders about leadership concepts many of us may already know, but they shine a new light on how to lead in ways that make others eager to follow.
The book was not written as a linear narrative or in chronological order, nor was it written as a step-by-step guide to becoming a leader. It's more of a collage of meditations and reflections on relationships, work dynamics, and our own internal narratives that encourages readers to be reflective about these dynamics as they engage in leadership. Although readers may find it useful to read the book straight through from beginning to end, they may also choose to jump around to sections that they find of interest at a given moment (or in response to a particular challenge) in their leadership journey.