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Reviewed by Randy B. Lichtman for Readers' Favorite
An extremely interesting adventure in leadership is found in Jan Benedict Steenkamp’s book, Time to Lead: Lessons for Today’s Leaders from Bold Decisions that Changed History. The author has brought together an amazing variety of leaders, indicating them as possessing styles of Adaptive, Persuasive, Directive, Disruptive, Authentic, Servant, or Charismatic Leadership. The book analyzes an excellent variety of important leaders from various parts of history and the world. Some of the more familiar to most are Alexander the Great, Martin Luther King, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George Washington, St. Peter, Florence Nightingale, Nelson Mandela, and Charles De Gaulle among others. He describes their leadership style both using a leadership classification system he has developed (Foxes, Ostriches, Hedgehogs, and Eagles) and a style of leadership (Authentic, Servant, Adaptive, Persuasive, Directive, Disruptive, and Charismatic). Many of the leaders described become Eagles, but may not always start out with that classification due to their maturity and experience.
What makes this an excellent book is its structure for each chapter. It is important to remember that leadership is based on context and history, and the author does an excellent job of presenting a brief history of what is going on in the leader’s country that opens the void for the leader to make a difference. The structure continues with excellently crafted brief biographies that show the early challenges in those leaders’ lives which move them toward their leadership contributions that impact their country (and the world). The biographies are followed by an analysis of lessons in leadership which speaks about the leader’s management style. Finally, Chapter Takeaways sum up the most important point of each chapter.
Following each style of leadership (ie: authentic, servant, etc.) there is a description of each style with a summary of how the leaders in those specific units meet the qualifications of the style being discussed. This concludes with questions to consider determining if you meet those styles. Further, the book also includes a section containing Leadership Assessment Tools. Jan-Benedict Steenkamp has written an excellent book that combines principles of leadership, management, strategy, economics, history, and marketing. Its ability to move into all these areas of business effectively makes it an excellent supplemental text to support a business class, especially one that focuses on leadership. The book is very interesting reading, brings leadership to life through lives of those described, and is highly recommended.