Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership, by Phillip Van Hooser
Indeed, this book does cover much that leaders ought to know. It also covers what followers wished the people who are supposed to be leading them know. It was odd to be reading this as America is embroiled in a government shutdown. It makes the difference between real leaders and mere politicians (or mere executives or officers) very apparent. It was refreshing to read the words of someone who states right away that leadership is not a position; it “is a choice, reinforced by individual effort.”
His advice might be summarized as make good choices and follow up with action. But we all know that it’s not always easy. Van Hooser’s illustrative stories and clarity of thought make it a bit easier, at least as long as we remember what he writes. The book is aimed at a leader going it alone, with the author as a supportive, but butt-kicking coach.
I suspect that most readers will agree with his statement: “We are giving untrained, unqualified individuals a scalpel, in the form of the power of the position, without training them how to use it, and then encouraging them to go do surgery on their departments and on their employees.” Being a great professor, accountant, or engineer does not mean that you’ll be a great leader. That’s why coaches and tools like Everything DiSC Work of Leaders are so important.
My favorite chapter is titled “Preventive Leadership.” I love this concept even as I continually struggle with it. It’s so much easier to be reactive than proactive. Van Hooser offers six thought processes to support me in my navigation towards being not only a strategic thinker, but also a proactive questioner. As a CD, the thinking part comes fairly easy, but getting out there and embracing what the author calls “the wisdom of dumb questions” is a huge challenge.
Another chapter I enjoyed was about how leaders can sometimes punish their best employees through showing a strange sort of favoritism. I’ve been on both ends of that leadership pitfall. You can read an excerpt of this section on Van Hooser’s blog: How Leaders Handle Favoritism.
Towards the end of the book, the author congratulates the reader for making it through the book and shares another anecdote. It was obvious throughout the book that Van Hooser cared about his reader, but I appreciated that extra step he took. He also suggested next steps, such as beginning your own personal leadership journal or teach someone else about something you learned while reading his book. Just reading the book is only one step on a leadership journey.
I’ve shared one of Van Hooser’s interactive exercises in our Activities for Work of Leaders trainings.
You also might want to follow the blog that augments the book: Leadership Training Blog
Personality Profile Solutions, LLC, is an Everything DiSC – A Wiley brand – Partner.