Leadership - Best Advice I Ever Got
by Paul B. Thornton
reviewed by Steven Bryce

Every once in a while, you come across a book that is brilliant in its simplicity. Leadership - Best Advice I Ever Got - about being an effective leader by Paul B. Thornton is one of those.

In the Acknowledgments, Thornton explains that he was inspired by an article in Fortune Magazine of the same title. His "advisors" run the gamut from people's Mothers and Fathers and Family and Friends to National Leaders, Religious and Spiritual Influences to the school of hard knocks (Personal Experience). He even has a quote from the editor of the CEO Refresher Rick Sidorowicz in his new book. Rick uses his title of "Minister of Culture, High Performance Retail …and quotes Conrad LeDrew, one of Canada's best retailers, who taught him a passion for Customer service and outlined a strategy of being merchandise driven, customer obsessed and empowering people for great performance.

In the Introduction, Thornton suggests that this advice will help you think about and reflect on the following:

  • What you stand for - your core values;
  • Your attitude, desire and passion;
  • Your mission and vision;
  • Your approach to listening and communicating;
  • Your approach to influencing people;
  • Your presence;
  • Your leadership style.

He also hopes to expand your thinking around:

  • Where do you get your best advice;
  • Who else might have valuable advice for you;
  • How you can expand your network of people who are willing to share their ideas and insights.

He even offers a bottom line guarantee ... you will discover at least five to seven new ideas to improve your leadership effectiveness.

Paul Thornton has written several books, the latest being Leadership: Seeing, Describing and Pursuing What's Possible and his first book, Be a Leader, Make a Difference has been featured as one of the best of all time - http://www.refresher.com/bestbooks.html .

Thornton is a speaker, author, consultant and associate profession of business admin at Springfield Technical College. He is also associate professor at large for Thierry Graduate School of Leadership located in Brussels Belgium. He also has 10 years experience in Corporate America.

Each chapter has a 10 point summary, with some key thoughts:

  • "Think before you Talk" - Chapter 2,
  • "Invite and be open to feedback" - Chapter 4,
  • "Don't wait for someone else to lead. Take action." - Chapter 8.

Thornton summarizes the book as follows:

  1. Trust yourself and others;
  2. Compete in the arena of ideas;
  3. Solicit feedback from all levels of your organization;
  4. Don't copy another leaders's style, develop your own;
  5. Be clear;
  6. Listen to the crucial information;
  7. Focus on the people first;
  8. Put together the best team possible;
  9. Be a leader of leaders;
  10. Show people the way

In the conclusion, Thornton suggests you write down the top 3-5 pieces of advice that made an impact on you. Read this advice once a day for the next 10 days (the length of time for this to become a habit) and incorporate it in your operating style. He also suggests that you help people who work for you, you mentor or are in your network of professional (and personal colleagues) and share some advice with them … since sharing advice and making people better is what leaders do!

Paul's guarantee of five to seven new ideas will be easily achieved, with any kind of thorough read.

His advice on using the ideas, and turning them into action is probably the most powerful enabler of all. No less an authority of Stephen Covey uses "Be Proactive" to be the 1st of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which has become almost bible of the personal help world.

I can find no better ending than Thornton's final directive - "Be the Leader, Make the Difference!"

Steven Bryce C.A is a consultant, trainer, coach, and turnaround change artist, with 20 years of senior financial and logistics experience in some of Canada’s largest retailers and 3rd party logistics providers. Steven is currently a Partner with kaconnection - Executive Recruiting and a regular reviewer for The CEO Refresher. He can reached at 905 625-4032.

Many more reviews in Refresher Reviews in The CEO Refresher Archives.
Also see Recommended Reading for the Best Books of the Year.


Copyright 2006 by Steven Bryce. All rights reserved.

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