Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life

96Review by Alice Waagen
Book by Stewart D. Friedman
Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press, 2008

Not another leadership book, right? I too have grown weary of “leadership” books, which these days seem to grow on trees. Friedman’s’ book Total Leadership, however, puts the all-powerful concept of work on equal footing with the other domains that are important in a person’s life: home, community and one’s private world. Plus, he explains that one can truly achieve a form of personal leadership that transcends the limited definition so often found in business books today.

Here’s how:

  • Part I* helps readers identify their core values, attention and satisfaction levels in each of the four domains.
  • Part II* has readers identify each domain’s stakeholders and their expectations. You then look at your communication with these stakeholders and are tasked to discover how well you are meeting their expectations — and are challenged to look for four-way wins or changes made in one domain that will positively affect the other domains.
  • Part III* completes the leadership development process with details on how to create a game plan for change, with goals and metrics to chart your growth and success.

Seem daunting? Fortunately, the book’s ample supply of engaging examples, clear instructions and more than 30 tools allows the reader to produce stronger business results, find clearer purpose and feel more connected to people in all domains of life.

I found Total Leadership illuminating for it gave me a new way to look at what is important in my life. I especially enjoyed the reflective exercises on taking inventory of the expectations of the other stakeholders that are impacting me.

I actually had an “ah-ha” moment realizing I can achieve complementary wins by integrating more of the activities across my work and community domains, as well as reinforcing my core values and personal satisfaction. That in and of itself is worth the price of the $20 trade paperback.