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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Character-Based Leader, August 19, 2012
This review is from: The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution...One Person at a Time (Paperback)
Great leaders lead by example. Think George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Michael Gorbachev, Susan B. Anthony, or Martin Luther King, Jr. Effective leaders personify and exemplify the values that characterize their business, school, church, organization, cause, or nation. That's why character matters. Leaders may talk values, but unless they walk their talk, they send out a contradictory message that undermines the cohesion and vitality of the entity they lead. "The Character-Based Leader" shows the power of exemplification in the best way possible: through a collection of compelling examples. If you're responsible for leading anything--from a family to a team to a company or a city--this book will show you how to improve your game and better serve those whom you're privileged to lead.

- Robert W. Fuller, former president of Oberlin College and author of "Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship?"
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Potential to be life changing, September 22, 2012
This review is from: The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution...One Person at a Time (Paperback)
I bought this book the first day I heard it would be available and have moved other books aside to reading this one. This will be a meaningful, life changing book for the reader who let's the message implant itself in their daily practice. We all read, but do we practice what we read? I normally pass over the acknowledgements and preliminary texts to go for the meat of the book right away. Not this time, and here's why. I have been reading blogs focused on leadership and character development for a long time and as I was contemplating purchasing The Character Based Leader, I noticed all the names of authors who contributed and realized what a gold mine this book would be. There is no one size fits all in our organizations today, but there is the underlying need for leaders who operate with impeccable ethics, passion for their work, with compassion for humanity. This book recognizes that and seeks to build character at the individual level where it will spread into the board rooms and the annual plans to create the tapestry for stronger organizations. Each one - teach one.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Defines and Redefines Leadership, September 16, 2012
By 
Bob Burg (Jupiter, Florida) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution...One Person at a Time (Paperback)
21 different Leadership authorities and practitioners combined to provide both individual lessons and a comprehensive look at what makes a highly successful and effective leader. Lessons range from general philosophy to very specific "how-to" teaching; each complementing the other.

As the title tells us, it all centers around character; that what someone *is* determines what they do. As Mike Henry wrote early in the book, the general authors' consensus is that "Character-Based Leadership is leading from who you are, rather than from your position of power."

I thought the following paraphrase of a quote by very successful CEO, Mark Oakes was powerful and representative of the wisdom in this book: "Character-Based Leadership is not a particular style of leadership or a key set of behaviors. Rather, it is making the decsion that you *are* a leader. Instead of simply deciding to run a triathlon, a greater transformation occurs when you decide to become a triathlete. At that point, your actions emanate from who you are. Character-Based Leadership is not a list of behaviors, but is about who you are at your core."

The goal of this group, all of whom are individual members of Lead Change Group, Inc., apparently is to "create a leadership revolution so that "character becomes the top priority in evaluating and developing leaders." And, those of us who read the book, learn and apply the information and wise teachings, are in an excellent position to be a part of that very worthy vision and outcome.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sustenance for the Hungry Leader, September 25, 2012
This review is from: The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution...One Person at a Time (Paperback)
Books are food for the mind and soul.

Some are empty sugary snacks, some are one-of-a-kind extravagant affairs like a 12 course royal banquet (Drucker's Management for instance), some are light and nutritious like a good lunch salad.

The Character Based Leader: Instigating a leadership revolution one person at a time, by the Lead Change Group, Inc., is a dinner buffet: an assortment of dishes with something for everyone.

Buffets are iffy things - you've probably been to one of those restaurants where 30 or 40 different foods are laid out, but you don't want to eat any of it - the lettuce is wilted, the meat is tough and flavorless, and the bread is dry. In their effort to serve many types of food, the owners did none of it well.

You've probably encountered the same thing in certain buffet-books - those collections of individual authors with writing centered around a theme. Each contributes their own perspective in a single chapter-length essay. Sometimes the narrative is lost, the writing is dry, and you get the feeling the author's heart just wasn't in it.

I am glad to say that The Character Based Leader is decidedly NOT this type of book.

With 21 different authors, it is bursting with flavor and value for hungry leaders.

You Say You Want a Revolution

The Character Based Leader opens with the premise that we need a radical change, that "people aren't satisfied with where they are or where leaders are". Trust in leaders is low and many young people have an aversion to being leaders themselves.

Mike Henry Sr., founder of the Lead Change Group and the motive force behind The Character Based Leader wants to start a leadership revolution. In that spirit, the book is intended less as instruction and more as inspiration. [Full disclosure: I am a member of, and write for, the Lead Change Group, but am not associated with this book].

He starts with the foundations of this revolution and character-based leadership:

1) Leadership is influence.

2) Influence is given.

3) People give influence based on trust, competence, and purpose.

The essential message is that leadership flows from who you are. If those three principles aren't at work in you, you're not leading. You might be coercing, pushing, threatening or manipulating...but you're not leading.

21 Flavors

Rather than try to summarize all the excellent points made in The Character Based Leader, like a restaurant reviewer, I'll highlight some of the chapters you don't want to miss.

Chery Gegelman asks the definitive question: Why Character-Based Leadership? and answers it through the lens of human needs and the continually expressed yearning for character-based leaders throughout the ages. Chery's chapter concludes with an important challenge: share the vision. It's not enough to practice character-based leadership yourself - it's vital that you share the vision with others.

Mary C. Shaefer reminds leaders that everything they accomplish happens through people and emphasizes putting the "human" back in human resources.

For me, possibly the most important chapter in the entire book is "Leading from Our Strengths" by Page Cole. Working and leading from strengths is essential and too-often overlooked, but as important as that is, it's not the reason I emphasize this chapter.

Toward the end of the section, Cole examines the alternatives to strength-based and character-based leadership and provides critical value for any positional leader who reads this book. You can lead by position, policy, preference, participation, pandemonium, or personality...

But NONE of these are as effective as leading from strengths and from character.

This message is so important: there are thousands, if not millions, of positional "leaders" who have no incentive to change the way they do things. The way they're leading has "worked" for them at some level.

As frustrated as you might be with these leaders, real change will require them to recognize there is a better way. A way to lead that is more effective and healthier for them and the people they lead. This is not easy - how many of us ever change our behavior without a significant reason to do so?

Cole provides the core message: there is a better way. It doesn't just feel better to your team - it will work better for you.

A few more highlights:

With a great sense of humor, Chad Balthrop provides a great look at the power of humility. Balthrop recognizes that "What the king used to win by might, must now be won through influence."

Another favorite chapter is Mike Henry Sr.'s look at respect and bringing your team to life. He provides great insights on how to disagree productively and how to manage your own reactions.

I've only touched on a few high points, but there are many more worthwhile chapters - each with something different for the aspiring leader.

Happy reading,

David M. Dye
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leading Change with Character based Leadership, September 24, 2012
Being a student of and practicing servant leadership for a number of years, this was seen as a must read. When this book was announced, I was intrigued how twenty-one international leadership experts could create a collaborative project on this topic. Essentially the book is a product of the practice of character based leadership. With all of the authors pulling together in a comprehensive book that gives wisdom, insight and prescription into improving and staying on track as a leader.

The book is filled with stories, experiences, examples and sprinkled with famous quotes to support the information it presents from the varied perspectives and experiences. This is a very enjoyable read, it can also used as a leadership reference book. I plan on putting it on my recommended reading list for the business students I teach and mentor. The book has information on leading with integrity, trust, respect, humility and authenticity. It touches on knowing yourself as a leader to developing a high functioning team. There is a wealth of inspiring leadership material packed into the 210 pages.

The book, if followed delivers on the goal of starting a revolution so that character becomes a top priority in evaluating and developing leaders. Making character count in leadership is the change that this group wants to instigate. An insurgence of Character based leadership is something of great need in the current business world. The twenty-one authors created a gem that is nicely supported with their social media information which will impact the leadership revolution that is needed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an inspirational quilt of leadership stories, September 27, 2012
This review is from: The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution...One Person at a Time (Paperback)
The Character-Based Leader is an inspirational quilt of leadership stories, research, examples, advice and wisdom from some of the most influential voices in social media. Reading each chapter was like eating chocolate chip cookies - I couldn't stop myself until the entire plate was finished. This book reads like a virtual dialog, with diverse, intelligent and provocative perspectives on the complex leadership characteristics of trust, integrity, respect, humility and perseverance. If you're serious about leadership, and you're ready to make a real commitment to change, then I'd highly recommend reading The Character-Based Leader.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really Love this book, October 17, 2012
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I know this book can help me and it will help anyone else that reads it become a leader. Wonderful, inspiring, uplifting, Be the leader that you Know you are inside, bring that person out and show the world it's possible.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To inspire others, and learn about yourself, November 11, 2012
This review is from: The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution...One Person at a Time (Paperback)
This book is a smorgasbord of multiple experts in multiple fields focusing on the one thing that so often is given only a courteous nod rather than full attention in books of this nature - Character.
I found it especially insightful that many of the authors talked about delving into ourselves first, for instance to get often overlooked unflinching feedback from others, to help us become better leaders of character. That's right...not just better leaders, but leaders of character. I have had the blessing of starting peer groups in middle school that pairs student "leaders" with students who struggle with Asperger Syndrome, a disability that affects success in our social world. Interestingly enough, I use the quote that Page Cole used from John Quincy Adams that focuses on inspiring others to become good leaders, when I do the training session for these students. Starting these young leaders or reminding us older experienced leaders how important it is to extend oneself for others is truly something that we all need. This book is indeed a treasure trove of experiential advice that the youngest aspiring leader, or older, practiced leader both can profit from; and either realize, or be reminded of, the value of having character as the base for any leadership position.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Character Based Leader, November 7, 2012
This review is from: The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution...One Person at a Time (Paperback)
The Character Based Leader is a great read. There are many leaders in this world, some good and some bad. In fact, we are all leaders in one way or another. We are leaders not just in the business world or in the military but in many different areas of life. Some examples would be... family, school, church, social organizations etc. Great leaders continue to learn and improve. The Character Based Leader is a tool that will leave you inspired, excited and ready to apply these valuable principles to your various situations!

Allen J. Terrill
President - Terrill Process Service Inc.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read!, September 24, 2012
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This review is from: The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution...One Person at a Time (Paperback)
To fulfill the potential our future offers, we desperately need character-based leaders. Now 21 passionate authors have combined their talents to deliver a cohesive message that is both inspiring and informative. Peppered with stories and examples, "The Character-Based Leader" is about making a choice. Read it and be ready to take action!
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