Our colleague Ian Sampson with Ben Baldwin, both of the Queensland-based Leadership Foundation, have recently produced a valuable and readable addition to your e-book leadership and management library. The Etiquette of Leadership: The art and science of leading well, by Ben Baldwin and Ian Sampson.
The authors are quick to point out that this book is not about a new theory of leadership but draws on “time-honored understandings that have developed over hundreds of years”. Its emphasis is on “uncovering the principles and practical approaches, what some would call manners, that good leaders almost always use”. It aims to help you build the effectiveness of your own leadership.
What this book is not about is traditional etiquette, based on the myths and legends of chivalry and it is not about elitism, exclusivity or a particular style. As they say,
“Nothing is less important than which fork you use. Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor.”
The authors set out “to help you be a truly effective leader and to help you be at ease with your own uniqueness as a leader”. The second of these objectives I think is the aspect that makes this book stand apart from other leadership texts.
It encourages reflective practice as a way of learning and modifying the way leadership is practiced. Much of the book pivots around four factors that come together in the moment of leadership.
- Awareness of the context
- Understanding your own frames and ways of being
- Intention – both your own for the situation and awareness of your effects on others
- Care for others
As well as in work situations, the Etiquette of Leadership also explores how it can be brought into your social, family and your community life.
A pervasive theme concerns leaders knowing themselves and the values which drive their behavior, as it is these things that have the most profound impact on who they are as leaders. Baldwin and Sampson are not at all prescriptive about what these should be, but ultimately good leadership requires a personal authenticity and congruency between who we really are, and what we say and do.
This book provokes and guides deep reflection helping you to understand, question and perhaps re-evaluate how well and ethically you are leading a life of thoughtful action and lies within a genre of deep work on leadership that is represented by such authors as Clayton Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life?
I would recommend this thoughtful and thought-provoking book to both experienced and aspiring leaders.