Book Review – Christopher Stephens
Revealing the Trade Secrets of Leadership
Bloomsbury, 2017, Paperback, 211 pp,, £16.99 ISBN 978-1=4729-4123-7
By Eve Poole
This is a wonderful book. I enjoyed every line of it from the first to the last. But I have always devoured books on management and leadership, from Herzberg and Maslow to Handy and Covey. A fraction of each of them has served to inform a career spent selecting and encouraging leaders in business, as well as in the charitable and public sectors.
So is this just another tome to add to the groaning management shelf, or does it bring something new and distinctive? And, as it is written by a professional theologian, are there some themes which are specially relevant to Christians in the church today?
Let me start by describing what Leadersmithing sets out to do. It provides a vast and varied buffet of learning treats for the life-time task of becoming a leader. It is anchored in research carried out at Ashridge Business School and elsewhere over many years. It cleverly defines leadership by reference to what leaders do when faced with a series of well-defined ‘critical incidents’ and it then sets out four clusters of skills, qualities, behaviours and tools – referred to as Foundation Practices – that leaders may deploy in addressing them.
It is based on a very robust view of how learning takes place: muscle memory, self-regulation, reflective judgement and learning to learn…
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