Book Review- in Search of Leaders- Hilarie Owen

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Why this book?

The selection of this book was a personal choice. The reason why I chose ¡§in search of leaders¡¨ over any other book is that I was extremely intrigued by the subject. During my tenure at work, I was always enamoured by the way some particular mentors from the industry conducted themselves and the organisation lending a cohesive spirit to their teams and consummating their personal and professional goals. Such mettle was something that I wished to incorporate and internalise over a period of time. I supposed that¡¦s just what leaders are made of! That¡¦s the reason why I chose the subject to read on. The reason why I chose this book in particular is that I was intrigued by the way the book targeted its subject. The cover page also revealed to some degree the focus of the book. What is essentially portrays is that introspection will convey that leadership is prevalent within. So the search of leaders begins by looking within oneself.

About the Author-

Hilarie Owen, a political scientist by profession, has an undergraduate degree in political science with philosophy and psychology as a part of her course of study. She concluded her inchoative stint in the corporate world in the capacity of a Vice President for Individual Development with British Junior Chamber (BJC) in 1990. Thereafter she enlisted herself on the rolls of a Management Consultancy and subsequently in 1991, started her own embryonic management consultancy. She undertook a study on RAF Red Arrows.

Owen also authored the highly successful, ¡§Creating Top Flight Teams¡¨

What the book is about?

Chapter Summary

The book unfolds with an inchoative chapter on the stories of two individuals working for RAF, Steve and Andy and their approaches to management. The first of these people believed in the fact that you must never stop learning. He believed in tolerance and delegation. Andy however, was a person who had learned from experiences. He learned better from one such bitter experience, and thus culminated his leadership style. He was intolerant of mistakes. But the common thread between the two was that both of them internalised the concept of leadership from learning, experience and self introspection.

1.The Story of Leadership

Each person has their own individuality, and therefore their own story. What is central is that each individual possesses the gift of leadership. These skills can be honed through learning but each person¡¦s methodology of expressing leadership is unique. Contemporary work culture, however, propagates leadership as a medium for individuals to ¡§take charge¡¨ while escalating work hours, anxiety and stress are prompting us to rethink about balancing the trade-off between work and leisure. The barriers posed in organisations are those created by rigid and predefined organisation structures that constrain freedom and individuality. Culture of an organisation, which implies the routines, habits and procedures that people are compelled to ensue, often breeds resistance to change and curbs creativity. Organisations propose to perpetrate this culture through setting of certain organisational values. However, these values lose significance as they aren¡¦t set in conjunction with the people who abide by them. Human resource departments are gunning to address these issues. The debate lies in whether to prioritise organisations over people.

There lies a fundamental aberration as far as idealism vs pragmatism is concerned. Hence, management is often unequipped to garner the trust of its employees. This factor has perpetrated high stress levels culminating from long hours spent at work. A notable insight in this regard is that stress breeds most amongst the junior managers ie satisfaction reduces as we move from the top towards the bottom of the ladder. This deprivation has led to attrition as well. Although some organisations such as PWC have tried to deal with the situation perspicaciously, yet many...
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