Be the Leader, Make the Difference
by Paul Thornton
reviewed by Rick Sidorowicz

Paul Thornton has written a very straightforward, concise and effective guide to the "nuts and bolts" of leadership. Paul's book, recently published by Griffin, starts with a crystal clear fundamental premise - "leaders provide their followers with something they can't provide themselves." The basic premise is that of a need that a leader fills - with a desire and willingness to 'intervene' and initiate action, make decisions, and take risks others don't want to face.

Paul's 3C Leadership Model encompasses three essential actions and facets of growth - Challenge, Confidence and Coaching. "At various times, people need help is seeing what's possible, confidence to take action, and coaching in how to proceed." The central premise of "need" is clearly expressed in the notion of leader as 'servant-leader' - "effective leaders serve others and provide what's needed to help people grow and develop." 

Be the Leader is based on a 'model', but it is a very practical and action oriented framework. We're not talking about how we think we should act, or how to assert that we are the leader, or how we can convince others that we are the leader. The title drives the point home - it is about 'being' the leader. It is about what effective leaders do, pure and simple.

The 3C model of Challenge, Confidence and Coaching points out how you can perform each role and how these facets interelate. As a leader you can "make the difference" by challenging people, building their confidence, and coaching them to succeed. Here is a taste of the actions that make the difference:


Leaders challenge the status quo;

  • moving others out of their 'comfort zones;"
  • creating a compelling vision;
  • establishing stretch goals; 
  • asking challenging questions.


Leaders build confidence;

  • by believing in them;
  • by pointing out their strengths and affirming talents;
  • rewarding and recognizing improvement;
  • empowering people with authority.


Leaders are coaches;

  • clarifying what top performance looks like;
  • conducting practice sessions;
  • providing helpful feedback.

Paul Thornton's 3C model is very sound and it is a very valuable guide for action. It's a great book one of the best! More to come on some of the specifics in the next issues. (ed.)

Paul B. Thornton is a consultant, trainer, and speaker specializing in the areas of management, leadership, and team building. Throughout his career, he has been involved in the selection and development of leaders. Since 1980, he has trained over 7,000 supervisors and managers to be more effective leaders. He is the author of two other books on leadership - Lessons From the Best Managers and The Answers are on the Office Wall

Paul Thornton can be contacted by e-mail at
For more information visit


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