Top positive review
42 of 42 people found this helpful
weLEAD Book Review by the Editor of leadingtoday.org
on February 16, 2004
At weLEAD we naturally receive hundreds of books on the subject of leadership from virtually every perspective and approach. We will give Leadership Presence credit for a truly novel and effective approach. Unlike most leadership authors Belle Linda Halpren and Kathy Lubar do not come from a strictly business school, military or academic background. It may be the very reason why this book is so enjoyable to read! The authors are highly skilled actresses and taught acting skills in Repertory Theater. Many of the students they had were various professionals including teachers, doctors, businesspeople and others. Because these individuals were able to use the theatre skills they acquired effectively in the workplace, the authors founded the Ariel Group in 1992. Since that time the Ariel Group has presented workshops to over 30,000 executives. This book is a result of that effort and the results achieved.
The main theme of Leadership Presence is simple yet profound. The authors define Leadership Presence as the "ability to connect authentically with the thoughts and feelings of others in order to motivate and inspire them to achieve a desired outcome". Throughout the book you will find a special emphasis on the word "authentic". This is not a book about motivating or manipulating others by using acting skills or pretence. It is a book that focuses on learning to authentically connect with the minds and hearts of others to effectively lead. Far too many business leaders conduct themselves in ways they think their executive roles require, rather than being themselves based on their heartfelt values. The result is that they come across as inauthentic and this breeds a lack of trust. The authors spend an admirable amount on the importance of values and introduce the reader to what they call the PRES Model of Leadership Presence.
Leadership Presence was written to teach techniques that will help the leader to motivate, inspire and reach out to others. It will help the reader to enhance relationships, build collaboration and flexibly deal with challenging situations. The book is composed of nine chapters divided into four sections suitably called "Acts". Act I discusses how one can learn to be completely in the moment. Act II analyzes the skills available to build relationships. Act III examines the appropriate way to express emotions and feelings. Act IV focuses on being yourself and reflecting your values in your behavior. Most chapters end with a section on exercises or practice guidelines to cement the information taught in the preceding chapter. Numerous personal stories and examples provided by the authors keep the material interesting and practical.
If you are new to the study of leadership you will enjoy this book. If you have read dozens of books on the study of leadership, you will love this book because it views this complex subject from a truly innovative and helpful angle. Sometimes we can get so immersed in a subject we can't "see the forest for the trees". Leadership Presence is one of those unique books that will help you to step back and see the forest because it gets to the very heart of leadership...authentic behavior and values.