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Good Authority: How to Become the Leader Your Team Is Waiting For Hardcover – October 4, 2016
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“A powerful, personal, persuasive guide to becoming a better leader in the modern, digital age. Highly recommended!”
― Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert and author of Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers
“Studies show that less than one-third of employees are engaged at work and that managers are the key to fixing the problem. Jonathan Raymond’s Good Authority gives managers exactly the tools we need, and shows us that the best way to get people to be engaged is to be more engaged with them.”
― Jonathan Becher, Chief Digital Officer at SAP
“Jonathan has lived the changes he inspires other leaders to make. His refreshing new book is full of practical, no-nonsense guidance for the leader who wants to do work that matters. If you’re looking for a roadmap to help the people on your team to own their work, this book is for you.”
― Bernadette Jiwa, bestselling author and Brand Strategist
“Good Authority is a beautifully written book that will help you be a better leader and build a strong and lasting company culture. With the tools in this book, you’ll not only improve your bottom line, you’ll also improve the lives of the people at your organization, including your own.”
― Michael Port, New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Steal the Show
About the Author
After twenty years of not being able to decide whether he was a business development guy or a personal growth teacher, Jonathan stopped trying to figure it out. He’s the owner of Refound, an online training startup that offers Good Authority training programs for owners, executives, and managers. He’s madly in love with his wife, tries not to spoil his daughter, and will never give up on the New York Knicks. Jonathan is the former CEO and Chief Brand Officer of EMyth, where he led the transformation of a global coaching brand and has worked in tech, clean tech, and the nonprofit world after graduating law school in 1998. He lives in Ashland, Oregon, a lovely town that’s too far away from a warm ocean.
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Where the book really shines is giving you a walk-through of the most critical and hard-to-have conversations in your role as a manager or in any role of authority for that matter. The author doesn't just skirt through the uncomfortable parts, he gets down to the intricacies - the tough conversations, holding people accountable, opening up to the vulnerability of being a leader, classifying and profiling people ( in a human sense!) - their strengths, weaknesses, how to mentor them , their motives, and even examples of how a conversation would go! I believe the stories are from personal experiences so you can model your own process. The stories are appropriately placed and as much as needed ( the book is quick to read and an easy read for that matter, unlike the filler books that have to more than 250 pages these days with unneeded stories).
When it comes to interpersonal dynamics at the workplace, there is not a manual with a series of linear steps that you can take.
I believe with this book, the author has been able to identify AND provide a vocabulary for one of the elusive parts of work life.
If I started pointing out everything that stood out to me, I would have to put almost the entire book here.
Personally, there is a lot more in these pages that I would have to revisit for again and again. I believe the lessons on Accountability and Archetypes ( doesn't sound Sexy I know) alone would be 1000 times the price of the paperback if not more. I honestly believe most people could be blindsided their entire careers by these blind-spots ( I know people that have been and it certainly was an eye-opener for me).
This was a "full" book in my opinion. It wasn't like a commercial where I got a couple of steps but needed to buy something else to get "the real insider secrets". I know the author has a coaching program ( and I am sure it is an excellent one!) but at the end of the book, it was't something I felt I NEEDED to have, there wasn't a sales pitch. I felt I walked with "full" pieces ( a lot of them for that matter) that are immediately implementable and something I would probably be using for years to come!
If you are in a position where you manage other people or rely on other people to be managing people, this is a MUST-READ!
I applaud Raymond for avoiding chintzy buzzwords and trademarked Paths To Success. His approach involves self-scrutiny, human understanding, and professional mutuality. Though he uses occasional handy acronyms, and pinches liberally from simplified Jungian psychology, Raymond fundamentally calls managers to know themselves, and their subordinates, a slow, sloppy process that yields abundant rewards. Admittedly, this book is a billboard for Raymond’s management consultancy. But it exceeds other such books I’ve read by being grounded in facts.
For Raymond, leadership involves neither issuing orders and cracking the whip, nor heroically fixing others’ problems. Heroes, he writes, ensure their own job security by keeping subordinates dependent on frequent rescue. Instead, he encourages leaders to be “Less Superman, More Yoda”—that is, to give employees latitude enough to develop into the fully fledged individuals we already know they are. Leaders should avoid “company culture,” a buzzword that apparently offends Raymond, instead mentoring capable workers.
In pursuit of this goal, Raymond cites certain portable tools like the OWNER chart and the Accountability Dial. Accountability looms large in Raymond’s thinking, though he reserves it for fairly late in the book, since “accountability” often devolves into punishments and rewards. Instead, he systematically encourages workers to own their job performance, while demanding managers exercise good (rather than “borrowed”) authority over their charges. His system is portable enough to implement without necessarily hiring consultants.
As Raymond writes early, “the health of a [company’s] culture is equal to the collective ability of the people who work there to feel the impacts of their actions on others.” This requires employees to engage one another as fully human. Not necessarily equal: employees will resist improving their performance if they don’t anticipate consequences for their actions, and your buddy can’t sack you. Instead, when managers and employees consider their relationship mutual, outputs improve.
This creates certain tensions. Leaders guide and mentor their subordinates, do so without necessarily prying into workers’ personal lives. (Raymond uses the term “therapist” early, but ambiguously, and doesn’t harp on the concept.) This means meeting workers where they are, rather than bullying or chivvying them into an inferior relationship. This doesn’t mean exempting workers from fallout for their more egregious mistakes; Raymond makes clear that healthy culture requires setting firm boundaries and terminal limits.
Perhaps most important, in Raymond’s less-Superman-more Yoda model, leaders must relinquish the ideal of invulnerability. They cannot deny their own mistakes or weaknesses while simultaneously requiring workers to come to grips with theirs. Raymond’s OWNER chart, which is so good I’d rather let him explain it, does include “Name the Challenge” and “Embrace Mistakes.” Though he doesn’t use the term, his model relies on mutual honesty, too often a missing quality in today’s workplace environment.
Raymond’s model, and the examples he uses, draw from the white-collar technical world. A former tech CEO, Raymond’s experiences involve office work and skilled professional employees. However, with limited fine-tuning, his model, based on straightforward structures of group dynamics and social psychology, should translate into blue-collar work, like factories or construction. Having done both these categories, I’ve seen the importance of a firm but uplifting hand on the tiller, something frequently missing from manual trades.
Much as I appreciate Raymond’s model, he frequently misses his own assumptions. For instance, he assumes management and labor share mutual goals, and simply need to reconcile means. His three leadership archetypes—Fixer, Fighter, and Friend—miss one equally important model, the Foe, who threatens and insults workers into compliance, often preemptively. Similarly, his five employee archetypes overlook the Foe’s favorite self-justification, the Slacker. Maybe a management theory predicated on mutuality can’t accommodate these unilateralists.
So, for organizational leaders who want strong members on resilient teams, Jonathan Raymond offers a structural approach that rewards everyone together. Mutatis mutandis, Raymond’s business approaches could empower schoolteachers, religious and political leaders, activists, and others who would bring out the best in others. Having faced multiple workplaces where management and labor had essentially adversarial relationships, I find Raymond’s vision energizing. Despite its challenges, it needs leaders generous enough to implement it in real life.
The author's publicist provided me a copy of this book, at their own expense, in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions stated are strictly my own.