Challenging questions for the leadership development journey

Product by:
Robert Kaplan

Reviewed by:
On 15 September, 2015
Last modified:15 September, 2015


A very helpful resource for those who are willing to invest in developing their leadership competencies.

Leadership doesn’t require a written invitation. It isn’t something that only “important people” can do. It isn’t a function of money, power, or title, although these elements can certainly affect, for better or worse, your ability to pursue your aspirations. Leadership is a way of thinking that engages your special talents now and, ideally, for the rest of your life, according to Robert Kaplan in his book What You Really Need to Lead: The Power of Thinking and Acting Like an Owner.

Given the range of views experts have as to what constitutes leadership, it is necessary to start out with an appropriate definition. The author says that effective leadership means having an ownership mindset, which involves asking the following questions:

  • Can you figure out what you believe, as if you were an owner?
  • Can you act on those beliefs?
  • Do you act in a way that adds value to someone else: a customer, a client, a colleague or a community?
  • Do you take responsibility for the positive and negative impact of your actions on others?

The leader needs to master some processes that will help develop the leader’s capacity to lead and enhance the leader’s ability to think and act like an owner:

  • Vision, priorities and alignment: Identify and articulating how you distinctively add value, prioritising tasks critical to adding that value, and aligning your decisions with accomplishment of those aspirations
  • Understanding yourself, your motivations, strengths and weaknesses, and developing habits that will enable you to keep learning about yourself

In my opinion this book will be very useful as a resource in a leadership training program. It is fairly short and interesting to read, while at the same time asking some profoundly challenging questions.

A very helpful resource for those who are willing to invest in developing their leadership competencies.

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