Brené Brown. Stephen Covey. Jim Loehr. Cal Newport. Carol Dweck. Simon Sinek. Michael Hyatt. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Henry Cloud. Whether they have opened your eyes to view vulnerability as courage, motivated you to find your why, or advocated for you to set clear boundaries with others, each of these best-selling authors and speakers has shifted the way leaders think about and approach leadership.
Imagine if there were ONE book where themes of vulnerability, authenticity, mindset, purpose, clarity, communication, and boundaries all came together to paint a complete portrait of an effective and influential twenty-first century leader. Would you be interested?
Enter The Self-Evolved Leader: Elevate Your Focus and Develop Your People in a World That Refuses to Slow Down by Dave McKeown. In this single volume, the principles taught by each of the aforementioned authors has been distilled and synthesized into a coherent and comprehensive model for personal leadership development and team management.
The Self-Evolved Leader is a “How to Lead” manual for managers and directors in charge of teams (size doesn’t matter).
It is a GPS for people on a mission to develop their own leadership abilities whether they are leading a team or aspire to do so. Maybe they are lifelong learners like me and can’t get enough of leadership theory, or maybe they are suddenly thrust into a leadership position and feel unequal to the task ahead of them, or maybe they were never taught healthy leadership principles from their senior staff.
McKeown takes readers through a step-by-step process to discover “their authentic leadership calling, create a vision for a better world, and build the framework and structure needed to chart the course (p. 2).” And the framework and structure are legit.
The Self-Evolved Leader includes an actual 90-day plan to begin implementing what you’ve learned. He literally tells you what to do each day so that by the time you’re done with the 90-days, you will have set in place a roadmap for yourself and your team that you repeat each quarter.
McKeown rejects the industrial era model of teamwork (“a cog in a well-oiled machine”) and instead posits that teams in the twenty-first century function more like cells in organisms.
“The interactions are more amorphous, the nature of work is more prone to change, and the individuals are connected by more than the mere interlinking teeth of a cog or spoke. There’s a stronger degree of interdependence of connection and of symbiosis. Each person is uniquely individual and at the same time part of the whole. Each person is connected by more than the pursuit of a common goal; they are connected by a sense of shared humanity.”(p. 37)
The author’s description of a “self-evolved” leader really resonates with me because it’s exactly who I strive to be. This type of person is someone who accepts responsibility for their own growth. They demonstrate vulnerability and regularly practice empathy which strengthens their connection with the team. This leader is clear on boundaries and daily chooses to stay in their own lane.
According to McKeown, when a person adopts the self-evolved leadership approach, they will focus their activities, decisions, and interactions on helping team members achieve their goals and become the best version of themselves.
He lays out three essential elements which increase the self-evolved leader’s impact on the team: (1) creating a shared vision; (2) establishing a “pulse” and a variety of vantage points from which to assess progress; and (3) key disciplines to adopt in order to have long-lasting impact. He does this by not only suggesting what the elements are, but also by detailing HOW to implement each one. It’s like a road map for how to lead your team over the course of the next year. Literally.
McKeown has identified eleven“key disciplines” (six micro disciplines and five core disciplines) essential for every self-evolved leader. He lays out a 90-day plan to help the reader practice what they are learning and hone their leadership skills.
The author takes a methodological approach to explaining the five core disciplines. He describes the importance of the discipline, shares the benefits of it, and then answers the question “why is it so hard?” He then offers a proven “how to” strategy to spur you towards growth in that area.
The Self-Evolved Leader is packed with helpful tips, strategies, and methodologies for implementation based on the latest research and best practices in leadership accepted across sectors. I highly recommend it for anyone currently leading a team and anyone interested in moving into leadership at their organization.
If you are interested in purchasing this book based on my review, I’d appreciate it if you use my Amazon link: https://amzn.to/2U4Opn9
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