July 1, 2000
Staff Picks: Jack Covert Selects - The Real Work of Leaders
The Real Work of Leaders: A Report from the Front Lines of Management by Donald L. Laurie, Perseus Books Group, May 2000, 203 pages, $26.00, Hardcover, ISBN 0738202495 Does the book world need another book about leadership? Judging from this one, yes. I found this book to be a short, quick, concise overview of leadership. The author interviewed more than forty CEO's and finds that there are seven important roles any leader must have. One thing I really like about this book is that Laurie has a tie-in paragraph at the end of each chapter to prepare you for the next chapter. This lends cohesiveness to the book, and shows how each step in becoming a successful leader points to the next. I could relate to Laurie's writing about the leader dealing with crises. In those chaotic situations, we have to really lead by example. At the end of the book, in a chapter called "Questions and Answers", Laurie answers questions that the CEO's asked him. Many of these questions deal with relating to your customer and issues of strategy, and Laurie offers sound answers. I found the book very readable, from the preface story about the gorillas, to the epilogue called "The Value Leaders Add." As Laurie says: "It is part of the real work of a leader to provide direction and to create the conditions for people throughout the organization to become the best they can be, able to move into their futures rather than stuck in the past." E'nuff said.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.