Leadership - Touching Lives
Authors: Cam Caldwell and Verl Anderson
Reviewer: Elizabeth Gingerich, JVBL Editor-in-Chief
Publisher: Nova Science Pub. Inc. (June 20, 2020)
Hardcover: 235 pages
Problem Identified and Message Defined
Beginning with an alarming Gallup poll finding that the majority of employees worldwide are self-described as "actively disengaged" from their respective employing entities--an indicator that change in leadership styles is critical for the proper protection of organizational interests and objectives--authors Cam Caldwell and Verl Anderson set forth in Leadership--Touching Lives to explore the reasons behind this separation between worker and workplace and to provide ways to remediate this troubling situation.
Both positive and negative elements of leadership and of particular persons in position of authority--either currently or in the past--are discussed and real-world examples are provided throughout the book.
At the outset, the authors underline the importance of leadership, describing it as a one of a "personal relationship"--where trust is generated and care for others is genuine. The ultimate goal of effective leadership is to communicate a common purpose to inspire both the leader and the follower in order for all to be the best versions of themselves as possible. Leaders must be authentic and ethical in their actions and beliefs. They must identify their own personal values and align their actions in accordance thereof. They must serve as role models, and hopefully incentivize those who are led into following the same course. It is this translation of goals into reality that ultimately earns followership and desired emulation.
In closing the gap between the message, the messenger, and the recipient, there are common practices explained that the aspiring leader should follow. First, the person in the position of authority must identify organizational goals and if they are contrary to her/his personal ethics, engage in discourse to challenge the process and better structure the message. Next, the aspirant must understand the reason underlying each organizational goal, communicating its context thoroughly and clearly to the follower. But having this alignment will not necessarily produce the synergy necessary to impact outcomes; a sufficient level of motivation and the required resources must be supplied to all participants in order to effect positive outcomes.
Commitment to others' welfare is integral to the process of directing people's acts and influencing their way of thinking. The authors demarcate a pathway of achieving this. Individual chapters follow particular topics as ways to produce effective leaders and to motivate and inspire followers. For example, the leader portrayed as "ethical steward" is explored and examples provided. In discussing principled leadership, the authors use the founder of Chick-fil-A, S. Truett Cathy, as a prototype of ethical stewardship. As per the reviewer's understanding, however, Cathy generated substantial public criticism with his fundamentalist beliefs, primarily due to his religious tenets--especially with respect to his stance on same-sex marriage by upholding the traditional definition. His...