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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Book Review: Fresh Look at Business Leadership

Title:   Hanging the Mirror: The discipline of Reflective Leadership

Book Website/blog:  http://www.hangingthemirror.com/

 

Authors: Alan Scheffer, Mark Scheffer, Nancy Braun
ISBN:  978-1-60047-758-4
Reviewed by Kirkus
Genre/Subject: Leadership, Management, Organizational Development
Soft cover, 171 pages
Available from:  Book website, Amazon, Barns and Noble

KIRKUS REVIEW

Three management consultants take a fresh look at business leadership in a work that will enlighten and inspire.

 
These three debut authors have crafted an impressive book, one that is highly readable, instructional and humanistic in its approach to leadership. The title is derived from a client comment that the authors’ company “pushed each of us to hang a mirror and really take a look at what we saw.” The premise that leaders need to be “reflective” to be effective is played out in finely tuned, well-organized chapters that move through topics including motivation, vision, recognition, involvement and communication. The authors’ keen insights, enhanced by liberal use of authoritative sources, pervade each chapter, offering leaders much to ponder. The authors ask provocative questions—“To what extent do leaders use their authority for employees or onthem?”—and raise deep issues: e.g., “Only when self-reflection incorporates the views and perceptions of others, only when we reach beyond our own beliefs and expectations, can it be said that we have truly hung the mirror” and “The hard reality is that many of us do not really value the thinking of others and do not believe that it can improve our own.” Wisely, the authors devote the majority of the book to self-reflection, guiding readers with relevant examples, sound counsel and end-of-chapter questions. Still, the authors broaden their concept to demonstrate how a reflective leader can help create a reflective organization. They concentrate on the leader’s responsibility to build organizational unity by “defining the culture to which they aspire” and by paying attention “not only to their own effectiveness, but also to the effectiveness of each leader within their scope of authority.” The authors come full circle in the final chapter, “Living the Reflective Life,” in which they describe some of the key characteristics inherent in living a reflective life: “Only through reflection do we become everything we could be.”

Deftly written and researched, perceptive and relevant; an important addition to leadership literature.

 

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