The lowdown: No Bullshit Leadership summary by Christ Hirst that analyzes the skeletal framework of a goal-oriented, achieving leader.
Think of anything, and you can find false assumptions surrounding them. Leadership is no exception to this general rule. In truth, there are no unique characteristics that “born leaders” exhibit early in their life. Instead, leadership is better accurately described as a muscle that only develops with usage and exercise as opposed to the gimmicks and mind games that you have been fed for so long.
Three valuable lessons I learned from this book were –
- Colin Powell’s 40/70 rule.
- A leader is a bold, decisive character.
- The best teams are appropriately diverse teams.
Lesson One: Colin Powell’s 40/70 rule
Even the best analysis programs can only predict outcomes, albeit to a higher percentage of accuracy. However, in leadership, the only bad decision is no decision.
The 40/70 rule, as described by former US Secretary of State Colin Powell is that as long as a plan is 40% likely to succeed, you should take the leap.
However, at the point you reach 70% likelihood for success, you know you have spent more time than necessary in making the call. This is in no way an endorsement for you to make impulsive decisions, but you should learn to strike while the iron is hot.
To help your team members make decisions faster, team members need to see you as an active leader. This example sets them in the path to trusting themselves to make decisions too.
Lesson Two: A leader is a bold, decisive character
As the leader, you are responsible for yourself and everyone on your team.
Your team is like your child, impressionable, and requiring your guidance. To be a good leader, you need to assert your influence on your team. Sometimes, you find members on your team that
- Do not fit with the culture of your organization
- Do not deliver results
- Deliver but do not get your culture.
As a bold leader, you must be ready to make the difficult decision of showing the door to members who do not buy into the culture you are fostering for the team.
You need to dig in your heels. These members, according to Jack Welsh, former CEO at General Electric, can disturb team dynamics, but members who are simply not delivering can be taught quite easily.
Lesson Three: The best teams are the appropriately diverse teams
A successful team is made of a diverse group of individuals with differing economic, cultural, and personal values working towards achieving a common goal.
In fact, it has been proven that the most diverse companies make more than their homogenous counterparts. This is because the members of the team come from different places, and hence, they have fresh perspectives to solving problems.
As rightly pointed out, a football team cannot thrive on dependable defenders alone. It needs the proper mix of reliable performers and the unpredictable maverick playmakers.
My Personal Takeaway
From reading this book, I saw that leadership could be quite uncomplicated without all the drama, meetings, gimmicks, and bullsh*t associated with it in the past by people who overcomplicate things – as a habit or a ploy to sell books on leadership.
I learned that a good leader rubs off on his team, and at every point, they look to you for motivation.
You cannot always get it right, but a win ratio that is slightly higher than the losses is enough to inspire trust from your team members.
Put into Action
- Know where your team is.
- Know where you want to go.
- Listen to your employees, especially those in direct contact with your clients.
- Develop a clear plan for success, but nothing too fancy. NB – Not a mission statement. Preferably, channel all that energy in the mission itself.
- Be ready to make bold calls – not everyone shares your dream.
You should consider buying this book if…
This book is a good read for everyone struggling with leadership and those who believe they are not cut from leadership material. So, think twice when next you think you are a leader – am I a bullsh*t leader?
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