By Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood, Kate Sweetman
Harvard Business Press
If you want the basics on leadership, The Leadership Code: Five Rules To Lead By is the book for you. If you only have one book to read on leadership, this is the book. If you develop in the five areas of leadership the authors outline, you will be a more effective leader.
Drawing on decades of research, Ulrich and his team set out to crack the code on leadership. They interviewed thought leaders in the field of leadership and discovered five essentials of leadership that were repeated again and again.
They suggest that leadership maps against two dimensions – time and attention – and is supported by the strength of the individual leader. Here are a few quotes that set the foundation for their findings:
“Because effective leaders are able to think and act both in the short term and for the long term.” p. 12
“Effective leaders gauge when their focus needs to be on architecting the organization and when to shift to individuals and their abilities.” p. 13
“Leaders must model what they want others to master.” p. 13
Here are their five rules of leadership:
- Leaders Shape the Future
It is the leader’s job to be the strategist for their organization setting the direction for the future. A strategist answers the question, “Where are we going” providing both the compelling vision for that future but also the practical and pragmatic way to reach that desired future.
- Leaders Make Things Happen
A leader must also be an executor answering the question, “How will we make sure we get to where we are going?” Executors translate strategy into action understanding how to make change happen, assign accountability, delegate, and make sure teams work together. They know how to put systems and disciplines in place to get things done.
- Leaders Engage Today’s Talent
A leader is a “talent manager” identifying, building, and engaging talent to get results now. They draw talent to their organizations, develop people, engage them, and ensure that employees want to do their best. Great leaders inspire an intense loyalty from their team both personally and professionally. They support and inspire people to grow and develop for the good of the organization.
- Leaders Build the Next Generation
Leaders are passionate and intentional people developers. They can answer this question, “Who stays and sustains the organization for the next generation?” Ulrich and team call this Human Capital Developers. Great leaders ensure that their organization will outlive any single individual, including themselves. They are intentionally looking at long term competencies required for future strategic success. They want future leaders to be successful.
- Leaders Invest in Themselves
Personal proficiency is at the heart of the leadership code. Effective leaders inspire loyalty in others because they act with integrity and trust. They are aggressive learners seeking to excel in leadership and strengthen those areas where they may be weaker.
This book offers specific actions that leaders can master in each of these five areas. More than likely, you will be dominate in one area but you need development in all five. The authors provide a leadership code assessment to see where you are currently and where you need to grow.
The Leadership Code is a great personal leadership development book. Let this be the year you set out to grow in all five of these areas and you will see a significant difference in the impact of your leadership on your organization.
“Instruct a wise man, and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man, and he will learn more.” Proverbs 9:9
What leadership lessons did you gain from this book?