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May 17, 2004

Jack Covert Selects: It Seems Like It Is "Book Review Monday"

By: Jack @ 7:04 PM – Filed under: Leadership & Strategy

The Feiner Points of Leadership: The 50 Basic Laws That will Make People Want to Perform Better for You by Michael Feiner, Warner Business Books, 304 Pages, Hardcover, June 2004, ISBN 0446532762
Does the world need another book on leadership? Yes, when the book not only clearly defines the difference between management and leadership, but also has fifty practical laws for being a good leader. I found the first part of the book where he defines the difference between leadership and management especially valuable. To give you an idea of how Feiners mind works:
"One interesting note here. Its much easier to think of examples of firms and individuals suffering from too much management and not enough leadership than it is to think of examples of the opposite problem. First, business schools and universities have done a very thorough job of teaching management skills. Theyre easily identified, easily quantified, and easily communicated. The second reason for the imbalance has to do with the nature of leadership itself. Leadership seeks to create changeand most of us are afraid of change. Indeed, our response to the threat of change, the looming possibility of the unknown, is to seek refuge in order, consistency, and predictabilityto seek refuge, that is, in management.
Michael Feiner was a senior executive at Pepsi and now teaches at Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He has put together a book loaded with stories from his teaching, corporate and consulting careers, that not only relates the fifty laws but makes them easy to remember too. Because the author moved from management into academia, the book has an authentic flavor and also makes it a practical and hands-on reading experience. I especially like the way the book is laid out. He divides the fifty laws into three primary categories. Relational Leadership explains the how-tos of managing relationships with peers, teams, bosses and subordinates. Situation-Specific Leadership gives insight into dealing with conflict, change or even something as simple as a difference of opinion. Values-Based Leadership explores all the various laws, as well as the influence a leaders values has on building a followership.
At the end of each section he summarizes the different laws which is especially helpful as a quick and easy reference tool. Hand in hand with the summaries, is the clever Laws Matrix at the end of the book that emphasizes the leadership laws most valuable and helpful in specific situation. The Feiner Points of Leadership is an applicable book that it is easy to follow, whether it involves dealing with a difficult boss, fierce competitors or unproductive subordinates.