In my MBA program we read a few books (huge understatement). Many were good, some are still on my shelves, but one is frequently picked up. Leadership: Theory and Practice by Peter G. Northouse
Scoring Criteria [5 star]
[slide1]Readability – Can you get through it, is it broken up for fast skimming, quick access to key points?[/slide1]
[slide2]Millennial (M.Factor) – Is the information trendy or can I pick this book up in 10 years and still get something from it?[/slide2]
[slide3]Notability (N.Factor) – Does the book have strong quotes, or good points to focus discussions around? [/slide3]
[slide4]Organic (O.Factor) – How much of the content seems original vs regurgitated trendy talk? [/slide4]
[slide5]Recommendation – Overall rating [/slide5]
Title: Leadership Theory and Practice (6th Edition)
Author: Peter G. Northouse c2013
Amazon Price: ~$78.00
[quote_right author=”Peter Norhouse”]Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal”[/quote_right]There are many ways to finish the sentence, “Leadership is . . .” It is much like the words democracy, love and peace. Although each of us intuitively knows what we mean by such words, the words can have different meanings for different people.
This book hit me like a load of bricks. When asked about leadership, I would always answer that leadership is defined by the traits of an individual and he/she was “born” with it. Those traits would be either intellectual (such as: charisma, drive, sociability) or physical (such as: height, attractiveness). However, leadership is much more. Northouse does not try and convince you that any one definition of leadership is right; rather, he introduces you to the 14 different leadership approaches. For example, chapter 4 discusses leadership as a style. Whereas the trait approach emphasizes the characteristics of the leader, and the skills approach emphasizes the leader’s capabilities, the style approach focuses on what leaders do and how they act. In the chapter he references the Leadership Grid, which explains how leaders help organizations to reach their purposes through two factors: concern for production and concern for people.
The book is tough to get through if you’re trying to read for fun, but if you want to open your eyes to the world of leadership theory you won’t be able to put this book down. I like this book because he takes the theoretical and makes it practical. Each leadership chapter ends in practical case studies. Also, he summarizes the key points, discusses the strengths and criticisms and has short self-assessment quizzes. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand leadership and internalize their own leadership approach.