4 out of 4 stars
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In Leaders: And What They Need, CW5 Issac D. Smith, Jr., examines the role of the 21st-century leader and how it has changed. Among the highest-ranked Army chief warrant officers, Smith draws from his military training and career expertise, stating: "...people only follow someone they can trust." Therefore, he emphasizes the value of building trust, "extreme discipline," teamwork, confidence, and endurance. Smith stresses that leading by example is an ongoing process, and he offers insight into leadership qualities that apply to both the military and corporate sectors.
The 39-page handbook is concise, organized, and professionally edited. Although I read the informative guide in one sitting, it contains enough content to use as a reference resource. In an acrostic-like format, Smith cleverly starts each chapter with a verb beginning with a letter from the word "leaders," including lead, engage, assign, develop, encourage, respect, and support. Despite the book's brevity, Smith poses many questions to engage readers and encourage creative thinking. He effectively supports his thoughts with research, polls, and surveys. Smith also refers to theories like psychologist Bruce Tuckman's 5 stages of development: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Additionally, Smith discusses how the disciplines learned during military training can be applied to businesses, and he provides helpful suggestions for motivating employees.
In the same vein, I particularly like Smith's practical examples for applying leadership skills, such as playing to co-workers' strengths and effectively designating tasks. In one chapter, he contrasts the difference between micromanagement and appropriate follow-up. In another example, Smith provides tips for encouraging employees. Regarding the pandemic, he addresses how it has affected working remotely, operational strategies, and the necessity for secure wireless connections. I also appreciate Smith's focus on teamwork, respect, and support.
Although some readers may not be fans of the book's short length, Smith manages to convey insight and encouragement in the quick read. I honestly can't name anything I dislike or suggest any improvements. I also noted that it is quite reasonably priced; those preferring not to pay $10 for a book under 40 pages may be more willing to part with $3.
It is my pleasure to rate Leaders: And What They Need 4 out of 4 stars. Smith's concise guide is easy to assimilate, and I recommend it to anyone desiring to build strong leadership skills or cultivate them in others. It will also appeal to readers with military careers or backgrounds. The book contains no profanity.
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