Total Leadership

There’s nothing new about this latest edition of Total Leadership other than a new preface by its author Stewart D. Friedman and the fact that it’s now published in paperback.  The book, first published six years ago, still claims to help its readers “be a better leader” and “have a richer life”.

The author concedes that, “much has changed in the world” since the book was first released. Indeed it has.  But, he assures in his new preface, everyone is even “hungrier now” for useful knowledge to help them achieve “higher levels of performance and fulfilment”.  Despite our fast changing world he’s obviously still happy with his basic hypotheses. All that was required was to make his programme more accessible to the world through less expensive paperback and e-book formats?

The book’s designed to improve leaders’ performance at work, home, in the community and their private self by “finding mutual value among these disparate pieces of their lives”.  It contains an array of practical action ideas to accomplish this outcome.

Total leadership is about pursuing “four-way wins”. It is, according to Friedman, a “novel synthesis of ideas” from two traditionally separate fields – the study of leadership and the study of how individuals can “find harmony” between the different parts of their lives. His book is designed to “offer a fresh approach” to developing leadership and integrating work, home, community and self to accomplish his four wins.

The total leadership experience involves; being real – acting authentically; being whole – acting with integrity; being innovative – acting creatively. The book is accordingly divided into these three components and is effectively an adaptation of Friedman’s hands-on course which he runs at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he is the Practice Professor of Management. He founded the Wharton Leadership Programme and the school’s work/life integration project.

It’s interesting and easy to read. For managers and leaders keen to hone their holistic leadership thinking and skills, it provides points worth closer scrutiny and deeper consideration and techniques for implementing concepts worth trying. 

Reviewed by Reg Birchfield; writer on management, leadership and governance. [email protected]

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