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Reviewed by Dr. Jordan Alexander for Readers' Favorite
Be a J.E.D.I. Leader, Not a Boss by Omar L. Harris is not your average business book. As a Star Wars fan, I was intrigued as I recalled the Jedi as noble protectors of peace and justice, unified as guardians in the galaxy. It is apt that Be a J.E.D.I. Leader, Not a Boss deliberately aims high as Harris boldly sets the leadership bar to tackle the biggest and most important issues of our era: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. His book provides the context for his call to action, touching on everything from epigenetics and women’s rights to Black Lives Matter and the #Metoo movements. Harris powerfully connects the J.E.D.I. leader’s role as going beyond the boardroom to influence community and global change while combating workplace discrimination, stigmas, and the hostility unleashed over generations. Adamant about creating alliances to fight against the toxic elements of the status quo, Harris advocates “the end of the boss,” referencing the Dutch word “base,” which means “master.” Welcome to the Resistance!
Be a J.E.D.I. Leader, Not a Boss offers a leadership primer on how to value people and the planet, set goals and values to be a J.E.D.I. leader, and act on the intent of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. “Once ego is eliminated from leadership,” the bestselling author writes, “what is left is humility, will and empathy.” Harris uses practical examples like comparing N.B.A. and N.F.L. responses to social justice, tracing diversity from the 1960s with John F Kennedy, and including personal challenges like Harris being the only African American person working in a company of 30,000 employees when he started his global pharmaceutical career. Harris talks about J.E.D.I. leaders confronting challenges with “curiosity and a lack of fear,” something he did when bravely writing this book. At times confronting, it is the feeling of discomfort that will evoke action and change as individual leaders, business teams, and globally for society. Be a J.E.D.I. Leader, Not a Boss is a must-read book for all leaders wanting to meaningfully change the status quo and create a better future for all people and our planet. A powerful and compelling read.