Good business leadership skills have something in common with forest fires, Christopher Columbus and symphony conductors, according to Stewart (52 Leadership Gems, 2012, etc.).
Fires are beneficial when they clear debris from forests and keep them uncluttered and fresh; Columbus proved the value of not being restricted by old ways of thinking; and a strong symphony conductor brings diverse elements into harmony. These are just a few of the 52 lessons that can be applied to business leadership, as laid out by Stewart, an internationally recognized leadership coach, teacher and lecturer. The stories follow his Lead Now! model, which contains 21 leadership “dimensions.” Each story lists the dimensions to which it relates and summarizes the lesson provided. Each summary is followed by several questions that readers may use to connect the story to their own situations. As with other volumes in Stewart’s Leadership Series, this book is short and its chapters brief, so busy executives don’t have to absorb huge chunks of text in a single sitting. Like parables and fables, the stories all contain deeper meanings, and while some of the tales seem to be right on point, others are a bit of a stretch. A story comparing drug-sniffing dogs to the training of employees may require a few readings to become clear, even with the hints provided, and a story that links a sloth’s behavior to the idea of finding something memorable may cause some readers to scratch their heads. Still, there are far more hits than misses here, and at best, the stories are both interesting and instructive; one story tells of how Kleenex tissue went from being used to treat wounded soldiers in World War I to being a product now used the world over. Such information, like this volume as a whole, is nothing to be sneezed at.
Intriguing stories for business executives looking to deepen their leadership skills.