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Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?: What It Takes To Be An Authentic Leader Hardcover – February 1, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“the book gives a more nuanced view of this leadership trend than many inferred from the title or its message to “Be yourself”. They point out precisely that good leaders need a chameleon’s ability to adapt themselves to different situations, and to conform to the culture of their organization.” — The Financial Times

About the Author

Rob Goffee is Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School. Gareth Jones is Visiting Professor at INSEAD. He was formerly Director of Human Resources for the BBC.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578519713
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578519712
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rob Goffee is Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School, where he teaches in the world-renowned Senior Executive Programme.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Gerard Kroese on October 14, 2001
Gareth Jones is director of Human Resources and Internal Communications at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and a former Professor of Organizational Development at Henley Management College in Oxfordshire, England. Robert Goffee is Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School. They are the founding partners of Creative Management Associates, an organizational consulting firm in London, England. This article, published in Harvard Business Review's September-October 2000 issue, discusses the research of the authors into leadership (as academics, consultants, and executives).
The authors argue that inspirational leaders share four shared (unexpected) qualities: Leaders show and reveal their weaknesses, rely heavily on intuition and associated timing, manage with tough empathy (passionately and realistically), and reveal (and capitalize on) their differences. Goffee and Jones discuss each of these qualities in detail, explaining why these qualities are so important and how leaders show them. There is a short history of leadership and a discussion of some popular myths about leadership: 'Everyone can be a leader', 'leaders deliver business results', 'people who get to the top are leaders', and 'leaders are great coaches'. In addition, there is a short discussion on female leadership, whereby the authors' advice is that female leaders should stay true to themselves. The final conclusion of the article is that the four discussed qualities cannot be used mechanically. Their advice to executives is: "Be yourselves - more - with skill."
This article is much in line with the latest thinking in leadership: Emotional intelligence (EQ/EI) is as important, or even more important, than traditional intelligence (IQ).
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Shea HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The book's title definitely plays on a manager's fears. Rather than saying "top 10 tips for being a great manager", it is poking at you - "why should anyone be led by YOU?" I'm not a great fan of fear-mongering. So what advice do they offer?

You could say that much of this advice is offered in similar management books. You need to understand the people you work with - what motivates them. If someone is quiet, you need to find quiet things for them to do, rather than force them to be a cheerleader where they are likely to fail. Your techniques must be situational. What works well in a room of 500 high powered salespeople probably won't work in a group of 5 quiet engineers. You need to be very aware of those nuances and adjust your pattern accordingly.

You need to be authentic. You must really believe in what you're saying, and work at something you honestly trust in and enjoy. People can sense inauthentic behavior. If you are working somewhere you hate, it is better to find a new job than to "trick" people into promoting a system you do not like.

You cannot try to be perfect. Nobody IS perfect and people will realize that right away. If you don't know an answer, admit it. People will accept it. If you always forget names, admit to it. People will like you more for "being human" and accept the fault as a cute one. The more you try to hide faults, the more you are known as a deceptive liar.

That's not to say you should not improve yourself. If you have a legitimate "problem" fault like not understanding the core business model, you should strive hard to get better. If you need help, ask for it. People will be more than willing to help you succeed if you are honest about it.

As a manager you should be respected - but not necessarily liked.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Authors Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones provide a welcome balance to the many books advising that leadership is a matter of adopting this or that characteristic or technique. They emphasize the situational nature of leadership, the extent to which it depends on followers in a particular organizational context. They infer some basic principles for authenticity and leadership from what seems to be a solid body of empirical observation and interviews, including generally pointed, well-chosen anecdotes showing good leaders in action. We recommend this thoughtful book, which offers an insight that few books on leadership dare to voice. The authors unabashedly assert that even great leadership may not lead to good business results. They further state that an excessive emphasis on results is one of the great obstacles standing in the way of authentic, moral leadership.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Serge J. Van Steenkiste on March 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones observe that although organizations stress that they need more leaders at every level, too often they encourage the rise of either conformists or role players with an impoverished sense of who they are and what they stand for. Neither makes for effective leadership (pp. 9-10, 14, 27, 70-73, 212). Goffee and Jones stress that regardless of the leadership style in fashion, followers are looking for real leaders, not for leadership clones (pp. 7, 49).

To their credit, Goffee and Jones do not buy into the existence of a universal list of characteristics that should necessarily turn someone into a leader (pp. 10-11, 17, 41, 204). Contexts shift and relationships change over time. For this reason, Goffee and Jones recommend that readers do not try to slavishly model themselves after successful leaders based on the published autobiographies of these leaders (pp. 42, 203). The authors invite aspiring leaders to be more themselves but skillfully and in context (pp. 205, 223-24).

Goffee and Jones articulate their understanding of leadership around three fundamental axioms. Leadership is 1) situational, 2) non-hierarchical, and 3) relational (pp. 11-15, 204). Situation sensing is a mix of sensory and cognitive abilities that allows effective leaders to adjust themselves to the situation at hand. However, leaders can alter the context that they found originally, which requires from them an understanding of what can be rewritten and what cannot (pp. 87-89, 94). Goffee and Jones emphasize that reframing a situation has to be done for the benefit of the followers as well (pp. 12-13). Controversially, the authors argue that people who make to the top of an organization are not necessarily real leaders.
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