The leadership Code: Five Rules to Lead By, D Ulrich, N Smallwood & K Sweetman, published 2008 by Harvard Business Press

This small book combines theory and practice on the five things leaders have to be good at in order to be successful.

  • Shape the future
  • Make things happen
  • Engage Today’s Talent
  • Build the next generation
  • Invest in yourself

Is strong on how to, rather than fancy theories but theoretical basis of the book is sound. It is essential reading if you want to be an all round good leader. When read with Oshry you will get an inspiring perspective on leading and change.

Don’t just read this one and put it back on the shelf. Keep it handy and use it as a ‘how to’ book. Caution, read and apply a little at a time. There are so many ideas in this small book it would be easy to get overwhelmed.

To get started try the on-line tool, (see page 25 for the link then look for the free version) to assess yourself against the five areas, or rules. Select the area where you want to extend your performance and refer to the appropriate chapter in the book, which will be full of information, ideas, advice and tools and techniques. When you have made progress, go back to the book and see what else you can adapt which will increase your effectiveness and reduce your stress. Keep coming back to it for new ideas.

It’s main limitation is that it doesn’t give guidance on the percentage of each rule which needs to be applied at different leadership levels. For example, all leaders need to have a grasp of strategy but an Enterprise Leader needs more strategic thinking than a new, first level Team Leader. For that kind of detail you need to move onto The Leadership Pipeline.

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