Be The Leader: Make The
Paul B. Thornton takes real-life examples and ‘answers off the office walls’ (i.e., business and inspirational sayings found on many of characters walls, used in his book to highlight ‘how to be a leader’) to tell us how we can all become better leaders. Although I have not had the experience of having Mr. Thornton give a seminar or training on leadership, I can gather that many of the book's chapters and examples would indeed fit well into that forum.
When viewed in those terms, to perhaps compare Thornton’s Be the Leader: Make the Difference to Tom Peters’ Seminar may not be too much of a stretch. To explain, both authors use example and analogy to highlight and emphasize their core principles and do so in a manner that gives one the ‘feel’ of an actual training (or seminar, respectively). In the case of Thornton, he focuses on three things that Leaders do:
One interesting aspect of the 3 C’s is that in Mr.Thornton’s words, "Everyone has untapped leadership abilities that can be developed and utilized” and the catalyst to develop this leadership is the desire to “make a difference”. Thus, by using the 3 C’s we all can become better leaders, managers, supervisors, coaches and people.
I would recommend that a reader may want to read the first chapter “The 3 C's Leadership Model” and then scan and skim the remaining chapters until the last two chapters, Chapters 18 and 19 and his “challenge” to reader/leaders. To explain, chapter 1 really gives the basis of the 3 C’s, the following 17 chapters hit home his ideas but can become a little long (or repetitive), if read from cover to cover. However, don't miss out on Chapter 18 – “Lead Yourself,” or Chapter 19 – “Others and Case Studies - Applying the 3 C Leadership Model” - it really ties the book’s ideas together nicely. The last section is a “challenge” from Thornton to the reader/leaders to help and challenge others to achieve their dreams, build their confidence along the way, while striving to become a great coach, mentor and teacher and finally, to set the example of personal and professional growth along the journey.
Overall, Paul Thornton really has great experience to share and ideas to express and in his book he undoubtedly combines the best aspects of his previous two books - Lessons from the Best Managers and The Answers are on the Office Wall into a portable and pertinent book on the topic of leadership. Paul Thornton draws on his 25 years of experience training supervisors and managers at United Technologies Corporation, as well as his consulting and training experience at “Be the Leader Associates”, a firm he founded to support companies in selecting and developing leaders whom “they need to compete with the best”.
Ross Otto is the Manager, Clinical Analysis and Operations of a Healthcare-related company. Comments or questions can be forwarded to Ross at: firstname.lastname@example.org . (ed.)
Can you lead? Can you make the difference? Paul Thornton asks the right questions. Too frequently we talk about the importance of the manager and management, but disregard leadership. Thornton views leadership as a triangle with the following three sides: challenge, confidence, and coaching. Thornton's book is easy to follow with a large number of case studies and quotes from business leaders.
An important highlight of the book is the chapter entitled "Ask Challenging Questions". One example is from Dan Kelly, Director, Programs, International Fuel Cells: "The managers asks who, what, when, and where. The leader asks why and keeps asking why until all assumptions and beliefs are revealed." Thornton also lists more specific questions related to customers, product development, excellence, and people. The book has short chapters allowing the reader to take in little snippets as time allows.
As Thornton says, "Ongoing education, training, and development of yourself is . . . [an] area in which you must set the example. Before you can be a good coach and mentor, you must learn how to be a good student." Be the Leader: Make the Difference will help you to start.
Thank you Peter. (ed.)