Top positive review
A long-time favorite of mine about how anyone can be a leader no matter where you are or what your job title is
on December 22, 2017
Note: I wrote this as part of a book review series I started at my workplace.
Sounds nice on paper, but I don’t have a leadership title and I don’t really want one.
Sure, not everyone wants or needs to be a Leader with a capital L, but this book is about what author Mark Sanborn calls “little l” leadership. What is “little l” leadership? According to Sanborn, “It is about the small things each of us can do every day to positively influence our customers, our colleagues, our friends, and our communities.” If you have a desire to make the world a better place for the people around you, that’s “little l” leadership. No need to use a megaphone, give a PowerPoint presentation, stand at a podium, or any of those other stereotypical “capital L” leadership things you may dread doing.
I already have a leadership title. Guess I can skip this book.
Hang on! Titled leaders are included, too! Anyone in any position, titled or not, can learn something here about what makes a good leader. Even if you’re already familiar with all the principles presented in this book, it never hurts to have a refresher course. In fact, going back to the basics can be a crucial step in rejuvenating your work if you’ve let yourself get buried in the daily grind of all the boxes that need to be checked and have lost sight of the important influence you can have over your staff.
There are about a gazillion leadership books out there. What makes this one worth reading?
First of all, it’s short! At only 128 pages, You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader doesn’t ramble on and on with lots of cases studies or beat around the bush with repetitive filler. It gets right to the point about the basic essentials of leadership and is therefore a very easy, accessible read. (Plus, it makes a great gift book!)
Second, this book speaks to a much broader audience than the typical business leadership book. You won’t find any insider tips on how to increase your company’s bottom line or maximize worker productivity or develop strategies for long-term business growth. Instead, Sanborn talks more generally about the ways all of us can use leadership skills to create positive outcomes for the people we interact with on a daily basis.
Third, You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader is timeless. Although it was first published over ten years ago, its principles are still very relevant and applicable today because they are not based on passing industry trends or economic climates. Making a positive difference in the world will never become obsolete.
Okay, cool. So how can I practice “little l” leadership in my daily work?
If I tell you, I will spoil the whole book because it’s not very long! To give you a bird’s-eye view, though, Sanborn discusses six principles of leadership: self-mastery, focus, people, persuasive communication, execution, and giving. He shares stories of people who have used these principles effectively as well as a list of actions the reader can try for putting each principle into practice. Of course, Sanborn is not the first author to write about these principles, but as I said before, what makes this book a worthwhile read is that he cuts out all the business jargon, boiling leadership down to the most important essentials. The author’s definition of true leadership is “an invitation to greatness that we extend to others.” Simple yet profound, no?