What does it take to be a leader? Why do some people succeed, while others, despite intellect, credentials or experience, do not? Are leaders born or made?
These and many more questions are raised–and answered—by Col. James H. Benson’s compendium of advice, comprised of quotes and stories from sources that include the classics, history, philosophy, literature, and, appropriately enough, the words of successful business leaders. All this is enlivened and exemplified by his experience as a highly decorated Marine officer, Viet Nam combat veteran, and president of a venerable Alabama military academy.
The Colonel takes his mission of making leaders seriously, noting that “leadership is not an end state but a process,” that can be embraced and developed. The book’s 46 accessibly-written entries, ranging in length from a single paragraph to four pages, address the issues, skills, challenges, strategies, wisdom and beliefs necessary for understanding the sources and practices of leadership basics, including: courage, integrity, power vs. authority, attitude, self-esteem, vision, values, acceptable failure, drive, tenacity, delegating, picking one’s battles, commitment to learning, efficiency, public speaking, being a winner, et al.
Along with inspiring citations from Thucydides to Dale Carnegie, and Lincoln to Tom Peters, there is so much thoughtful, illuminating and original Benson material here, e.g.: “Good leaders are intense: real good leaders are passionate; but great leaders are predators when it comes to winning on the battlefield, the gridiron, or in the workplace.”
Coaches, teachers, administrators, employers, pastors, and youth activities directors will find this useful and encouraging volume neither pedantic nor preachy, but a real resource.
Also available in hardcover.