Be the Leader: Make the Difference
by Paula B. Thornton
The author of this “manual for leaders” speaks not from theory and research alone. Paul B. Thornton is a consultant, trainer, and speaker specializing in the areas of management, leadership and team building. He has long assisted organizations in the selection and development of leaders at various levels. He has trained more than 7,000 supervisors and managers to be more effective leaders.
Thornton believes that everyone has untapped leadership abilities. Organizations must strive to identify, strengthen, and utilize this tremendous potential in today’s competitive and demanding business world. The author visualizes leadership as a complex puzzle consisting of various pieces such as creating a mission/vision, establishing beliefs/values, gaining alignment, empowering, bench marking, motivating, training, and mentoring to name a few. The test for leaders is determining a way to fit the pieces together. Therefore, the author has created a 3-C leadership model (challenge, confidence, and coaching) which provides a framework to inform leaders what they should do, how they should do it, and when they should do it. His basic premise is that leaders provide their followers with something they can’t provide themselves. Let’s face it, people need help in seeing what’s possible, confidence to take action, and coaching in how to proceed.
Early in the book, Thornton describes the 3-C leadership model itself, explains what leaders do in performing each of the key roles and discusses the relationship of the three components. He goes on to provide in-depth discussion of various techniques leaders can use to challenge people using a step-by-step formula for each technique. He then explains various approaches, including “how-to” examples, that leaders use to build confidence in their associates. He continues by describing when and how leaders perform the role of coach and teacher using stories and examples to highlight some world-class coaches.
Much added value is offered in the form of many revealing case studies and examples involving well-known people and organizations. You’ll also find a “Be the Leader Survey” instrument to assist you in evaluating your own leadership skills. This survey focuses on the seven major aspects of the 3-C leadership model and may also be used as a 360 feedback instrument by having it completed by bosses, peers, team members, customers, and direct reports. You’ll also enjoy an in-depth bibliography and many valuable resources to further your quest for knowledge.
In short, this text provides a practical, concise, easy-to-understand leadership model and valuable guidance on how to develop your leadership skills. It’s a valuable addition to any business or personal library.
(This book review was originally published in 2002 as one of the Top 10 Books – Edition 11.)