A debut manual focuses on the different aspects of leadership.
Taylor, a captain in the U.S. Air Force, aims his short but comprehensive book at readers of business leadership guides. He organizes his observations around, of all things, a haberdashery metaphor: the four “hats” at the heart of leadership. (He mentions to readers that they need not actually buy hats.) According to the author, all effective leaders must at some time or other wear four hats: the farmer’s hat, the drill instructor’s hat, the psychologist’s hat, and what he calls the self-care hat. Each of the hats he describes symbolizes its own priorities. The farmer’s hat stresses careful cultivation of people and resources as well as detailed forethought: “In seed selection and sowing, your goal is to choose the specific person or people you want to assign to each project or team.” The drill instructor must be prepared to utilize the surprise, shock, and awe of basic training and to deliver vital leadership in raw terms: “Feared by most, hated by some, and respected by all, drill instructors use a variety of tools to perform their leadership function.” The psychologist’s hat emphasizes good judgment, an even temperament, and exceptional listening skills and frankly acknowledges that “many leaders fail because of a failure of trust.” And the self-care hat reminds leaders that they, too, make mistakes and need help. Taylor elaborates on all of this in the clear, self-assured prose of an author who’s seen a great deal of inept leadership. As he deftly points out, these four categories apply far beyond the realm of the military but share all the important essentials with that world: “Whether one is talking about military security, selling insurance, or making widgets, there is a mission that must be completed, threats detected and deterred, and teams of people to lead forward.” Leaders of all types will find these tips both practically applicable and invaluably insightful, getting to the heart of the basic duties of team-building.
A succinct, readable, and powerful anatomy of leadership’s many roles.