Bookcase: Leaders and Misleaders

• By Andre van Heerden
• Maruki Books
• RRP $39.95

Books about leadership may be commonplace, but leaders worthy of the description are alarmingly rare.
In his self-published book, Leaders and Misleaders, Auckland-based organisational consultant and leadership mentor Andre van Heerden argues that the world, the Western world in particular, faces leadership crisis. Not an unreasonable claim or surprising conclusion given the plethora of everyday evidence.
The author’s deeply reflective and meticulously researched review of the history and evolution of leadership, coupled with his own diverse life experiences, leads him to conclude that the solution to the problem resides within us. And discovering our leadership capabilities has very little to do with leadership and skills training.
It does, however, have much to do with what he calls “a genuine education”. Leadership is more about attitudes, and these are significantly shaped by sound education. The ranks of management are, on the other hand, full of highly intelligent and skilled individuals. But they can’t motivate individuals or create the “harmonious relationships” on which effective team performance depends.
The book is an outcome of the author’s own experiences and the development of his leadership programme, which he calls Leading Like You Mean It, the book’s subtitle. Leadership, he reasons, is not set of skills but rather “a state of mind” that must be cultivated daily.
The five critical leadership tasks van Heerden has identified and which he triggers with the mnemonic STORM are strategy, team-building, organisation, reflection and making decisions. These are, he argues, the essential daily activities of someone who “leads like they mean it”.
The book explains what constitutes leaders and misleaders, what has gone wrong with leadership, how leading like you mean it works, the power of integrity, why thinking for yourself is important, the role of education and personal growth, understanding human nature, building character and fulfilling relationships and how leaders unleash creativity.
Leaders and Misleaders is not one-sitting read. It is 225 pages of tightly argued proposition and intriguingly quotable quotes. The world’s book shelves may be staggering under the weight of books of this genre, but this one is interestingly different and as such, makes useful contribution to our need for better understanding of how local and global leadership seems to have gone to the dogs.

Visited 11 times, 1 visit(s) today
Close Search Window