Businesswoman and pilot Shotton charts a course for helping leaders reflect on their character and conduct.
Each chapter represents one of Shotton’s 10 essential leadership qualities, which are illustrated through a smattering of short anecdotes and examples. To review and inspire reflection, end of chapter exercises have readers contemplating personal leadership through academic ranking and writing exercises. Although much of the book’s style and message will be familiar to readers who pursue the business self-help genre, the author’s use of flight analogies and anecdotes makes the book stand out. Flight and piloting stories are present in anecdotes, short stories and even reflected in the descending chapter-numbering system that mimics a space mission countdown. The flight anecdotes succeed in piloting the reader through the text, which is much needed in this genre characteristically deficient in narrative threads. Reading the book from cover to cover is a breeze, but leaders in the C-suite who are looking for a guide they can easily scan will find the book’s subheadings nondescript. The book may prove more useful to middle managers, interested in self-reflection and aspiring toward a higher position. Another issue is that the author does more to set up her authority as an airplane pilot than as a leadership expert, saying in the beginning only that she is a “business leader.” Flipping to the author bio and back jacket hardly satisfy the question of what experience makes the author credible to write a book on leadership. By the back third of the book, anecdotes on the author’s leadership become more illustrative, but future editions could use some of this discussion in the prologue. Despite these shortcomings, the author’s anecdotes and end of chapter exercises will entertain and should help self-reflecting leaders better understand their current leadership style strengths and shortcomings.
With engaging examples and exercises, Shotton’s book will help reflective leaders reach new heights in self-awareness.