By @SimonCocking review of Lessons in Leadership: 12 Key Concepts, by John Adair is available to buy here.

Designed to challenge and inspire anyone who is seeking a deeper understanding of management, Lessons in Leadership provides a series of reflections on the very fundamentals of leadership as a management function.
In the midst of current global concerns about the quality of leadership, this book is both a practical handbook and a vital contribution to the ongoing debate about what kind of leadership we should be encouraging in today’s volatile and uncertain world.

This is an accessible and insightful book, with real world examples, from ancient times all the way up to the present day. Leadership is an ongoing challenge, you need to be smart, determined, but also able to hear and listen to the people you are trying to lead. Many people in positions of leadership have come to grief because of an inability to recognise the circumstances around them, and accept and adapt to them, rather than blindly trying to apply their own belief of how things ‘should be’.

His examples from Spartan military campaigns are surprisingly relevant, as well as episodes from subsequent wars too. At the same time this is not purely dependent on warfare based examples, so ensuring that the insights are relevant for all of those who are not, thankfully, stranded in the bush in life or death situations. Thankfully though, after a lot of recent theory heavy books Adair keeps the momentum going by giving a series of actual examples and experiences to illustrate his points.

We enjoyed reading it, got some good actionable insights from it, and would also hand it over to more general readers (teenagers on long summer holidays for example) to read too. Even concepts such as the simple on of leading by example are still relevant and more likely to provoke positive responses from the cohorts you find yourself leading. We can all think of terrible leaders who told people to do things that they would never do themselves, and it’s fairly predictable how those sort of commands play out.

A useful, concise book on leadership.


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