Essay On Public Administration
In many occasions, leadership has proved to be a difficult undertaking by most people. At the face value, leadership may seem like an easy task. However, this is very far from the truth. Leadership positions require a lot of attention from the leader in order to effectively serve the people being led. There is no clear definition on what good leadership is. Despite this, the general consensus obtained from reason is that a leader must possess certain qualities and virtues for him to be fully trusted by the people he leads. There is a lot of literature available on the characteristics of a good leader. Such literature also goes on to highlight the aspects that people should avoid if they are going to be classified under the ‘good leaders’ tag. The actions of the leaders are necessary in determining how the leader is perceived in the society. Although this is the case, experts also contrast each other on what a good leader should be like.
Among the available literature, Perry M. Smith and co’s ‘Rules & Tools for Leaders’ is regarded as giving the best approach on this issue. Throughout the years, this book has guided thousands of leaders across the world on how to not only create, but also maintain profitability and growth. The theoretical approach that the book gives is on leadership in an institution, organization or a company. The book addresses matters pertaining on how managers and other leaders should conduct their hiring and firing processes (Smith et al. 2013). Apart from this, the author also addresses the day to day encounters of leaders in the corporate world, the crises that arise during the dispensation of their duties, the challenges they face when implementing strategies among many other fields. In a nutshell, the author manages to address most of the aspects of managers and leaders. He further explains the means through which employees can do their jobs well. In a simple but comprehensive language, he tackles group dynamics, ethical practices, business models and other related aspects. To add up on this, the book also addresses important guidelines and checklists that the leaders should ensure to implement on a day to day basis. Such a practice is likely to see the leaders and potential leaders enhance their skills. Due to the insightful information given, the book is necessary for any leader who wants to prosper in the environment where leaders are judged upon what they deliver.
For a person to be considered a good leader, he must convey certain qualities and characteristics that portray him/her as being one. In the diverse world where variance is the norm, it is difficult to agree what the definition of ‘a good leader’ should be. The levels of integrity, moral standing in the society, participation in economy-building and possessing virtues such as patience are some of the skills that good leaders are attributed to. In the book, Perry and company give a guideline on the rules and tools of good leaders. Such rules and tools are necessary in shaping potential leaders attain such a status in the society by acting and behaving consistently to such behaviors.
Golden nugget quotes
Throughout the book, the authors use a number of important quotes to pass their message to whomever reading the book. Although such quotes are many, below are some of the most interesting ones.
‘If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader’ (Smith et al, 2013). In this quote, Perry describes some of the qualities that a good leader must have. In essence, leadership entails guiding a group of people to attain certain goals, whether from the economic perspective or the social perspective. Leaders should be people of a great moral standing who should inspire other people in a manner that is positive. This way, they can attain full confidence from their subjects.
‘A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit’ (Smith et al. 2013). In this paragraph, the author intends to communicate that leaders should take responsibility whenever matters go wrong. This is one of the qualities that modern leaders lack. In practice today, most leaders tend to identify themselves with success and then divorce themselves from failure. In so doing, they blame the subjects and other people for such failures. This is contrary to the approach that is proposed in the book.
‘Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership’ (Smith et al. 2013). This quote is intended to advice leaders that their core duty entails solving the problems that their subjects face. Failure to receive such problems may effectively mean that the subjects have given up on the leader or hey no longer have the necessary confidence in the leader. As a matter of fact, leaders are expected to be as close to their subjects as possible. This is the only way that they can understand the problems that their subjects present to them.
‘Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion, and also intuition, creativity, insight and focused attention’ (Smith et al. 2013). The authors go further to explain what they think good leadership is about. By being in a position to lead, people, leaders should do their best to ensure that they are good role models to those that they lead. Leading by example is the best way through which the subjects can be led as they will have the confidence to try whatever their leaders encourage.
The book offers young and old leaders an opportunity to understand leadership and the standards that the leaders should measure themselves against. To a large extent, this book should be used as a yardstick by the leaders to measure the extent to which they have led their people well. Perry and co give a deep analysis of the virtues of leaders, going a step higher to give practical examples on what good leadership should entail. Although dictatorship is not rampant in the modern era, there are several ways through which leaders have oppressed their subjects. Failing to provide adequate environment for them to prosper is a form of mistreatment that may lead to inequality. As the authors put it, a leader should first consider himself (herself) as being the servant before they can think of themselves being the supreme. Leadership entails instilling confidence to one’s subjects to the extent that problem-solving can be achieved easily.
As already argued, this book offers by far the richest literature on leadership strategies. The authors combine theoretical aspects with practical aspects to demonstrate and give deep explanations to the potential leaders. As a matter of fact, any leader who intends to meet the threshold of being termed as being a food leader should give such a book priority and make it a reference point to measure their performance. This way, they will be in a better position to understand what is expected of them from the people.
Strengths of the book
There are a number of strengths that the book has. The first strength is as regards to the simplistic but comprehensive approach that the authors have employed. The language used is easily understandable by people from all walks of life, meaning the book has a large fan base. With this in mind, it comes without saying that the targeted audience is varied. Right from political scenes, economic leaders and organizational managers, the book addresses the issues in question in a manner that is understandable to all. To add up on this, the authors go a notch high by giving practical examples through which the readers can identify themselves with. By doing this, one is able to relate the real life challenges they face and the suggested strategies on how to overcome them. The result of this would see more people equipped with proper leadership skills. The deep analysis given by the leaders also means that all aspects are deeply analyzed to cover every leadership aspect. This way, the book becomes necessary to those aspiring to be goo leaders in the society.
Despite the above strengths about the book, it has a number of weaknesses. For instance, the authors tend to generalize the issues they are discussing. In their attempt to give practical examples about leadership and challenges thereof, the authors do not take into account that the market base is varied. It would be better to give a number of varied examples on each aspect to enable people from all walks of life identify themselves with these examples. Because of this, the book risks being classified as belonging o the elite leaders to whom most of the examples refer to. Although the authors use a simple language, it would have been prudent to give cheap examples that would be relevant to the ordinary citizens.
The second weakness of the book is its complexity. Important to note is the fact that this is not a weakness per se. Whereas such complexity enables the authors to address all aspects of leadership, it makes the book bulky. With such a bulky document, most readers will only peruse through the pages because of lack o time to read the entire book. Such a practice may mean they do not capture the necessary aspects which can be related to the real life scenarios. Relevance
With democracy fast taking shape, leaders are forever under close scrutiny from their subjects. What this means is that a small deviation from the expectations may see a leader impeached from their position. In the corporate sector, leaders are expected to be firm and provide relevant mechanisms through which the subjects can base their productivity. Because of this, there is need for the leaders to have a better understanding about what is expected of them. This is where the book derives its relevance.Conclusion
Leadership entails several challenges that one has to overcome in order to gain confidence from his subjects. The approach that the book uses is essential in that one gets to understand the dynamics that play a role in shaping one’s standing. If one takes into account the issues discussed in the book, they are likely to be successful in their leadership ambitions.
Smith, P., & Foley, J. (2013). Rules & Tools for Leaders: From Developing Your Own Skills to Running Organizations of Any Size, Practical Advice for Leaders at All Levels. New York: Perigee.