Ciarella’s how-to on leadership blends American military and business strategies.
This cleverly titled book suggests some connection between military leadership and business leadership. The author, who has almost 30 years of sales and sales leadership experience, uses his brief stint as an Army officer as a platform to discuss the characteristics of good leaders and good followers. Ciarella frequently references the military angle; however, most of the guide is essentially grounded in standard management practices that have repeatedly been covered elsewhere. On the positive side, Ciarella summarizes many business basics in a tidy little book that is both mildly informative and easy to read. He also includes the requisite specific examples to support the generalizations. In addition to offering an overview of the qualities supervisors and support staff need, the author includes chapters on choosing directors and team players, assessing performance, and understanding the benefits and rewards of good guidance. In one of the more intriguing chapters, the author suggests, “Good leaders use data to support their positions, never to be the position itself.” Ciarella includes some suggestions for making the best use of facts and figures in decision-making, and many of these are worthy of note. For example, “Use only as much detail as necessary”; “Spread around the burden of data-gathering and analysis”; and “Have a good understanding of the true costs of data-gathering.” These tips become all the more important when viewed in the context of the author’s statement that leaders would do well to “avoid over-studying a decision point.” This chapter, at least, presents a fresh view of the potential danger of data dependence. But for the leader-to-be who’s seeking substantive guidance, this book marches down a too-well-trodden path.
Features the standard litany of leadership platitudes, but readers looking for a fast take on management skills may find what they need.