Why you should read Why Should Anyone Be Led By You?

BUSINESS CLASSIC: This book attempts to answer the time-worn question of what followers actually want from their leaders.

by Stefan Stern
Last Updated: 27 Jul 2017

Leadership! Leadership everywhere: how to do it, how to get better at it, how to act like the best. But there has long been a gap in the leadership discussion and literature: asking those being led what it feels like.

Spotting this gap was, in part, what led Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones to write first an award-winning Harvard Business Review article, and subsequently this book, with its direct and provocative title.

What do followers want from their leaders? From their research, the authors found that four things were vital: authenticity, community, significance and excitement. People want leaders who come across as real, who create a sense of togetherness, who help create meaningful work, and who make it interesting.

Goffee and Jones drew up this short mission statement for aspiring leaders: 'be yourself, more, with skill'. By this they meant: yes, be yourself, but also draw on your strengths and qualities to best effect. And use skill to judge when you need to get in close with people and when you need to stand back.

This question of managing distance is an under-appreciated art.

So: why should anyone be led by you? Read this book to find out how much work you have to do to come up with a convincing answer to that timeless question.

Stefan Stern is visiting professor at Cass Business School. 

Why Should Anyone Be Led By You? by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones is published by Harvard Business Press, 2006

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