Book Precis: Real Leadership

Real Leadership

Real Leadership 9 Simple Practices for Leading and Living with Purpose

By John Addison

This book is punted as “A  great leadership book which surfaces irregularly”. I have to agree.

The following summary outlines the 9 practices for successful leadership and the    underlying facets to optimise those principles. The book, of course, goes into much more detail with stories, analogies and experiences which enhance the understanding and meaning of those practices. A great read and valuable guidance.

  1. First things first (Decide who you are)

Decide who you want to be and live your life accordingly.

  • Decide what you believe and who you wish to become – it is your decision.
  • Look for the best in people and yourself. Work to optimising those elements.
  • Keep moving forward – aim to improve every day.
  • Deal with the key issues today – Don’t procrastinate.

Action Step – Who are the people you most admire; what are the attributes you can try to emulate.

  1. The People Business (Shine your light on others)

There is no limit to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit – RONALD REAGAN

  • Real Leadership is about building other people.
  • Great leaders impress on people how important they
  • People perform better when they feel recognized continually.
  • Take responsibility for mistakes, share the successes.

Action Step – List some simple things you can do to build other people. Do at least one daily.

  1. Culture Shock (Build on your strengths)

Everyone is born with unique talents – build on these strengths not your weaknesses.

  • What are you good at that comes easily – then try hard at that.
  • Being a leader doesn’t mean you know it all and know how to do it all. You need to know how to get it done – working together with the talent and skill of others.

Action Step – Determine your natural strengths. Focus on those which you are extremely good at.

  1. Anchors to Windward (Earn your position)

One does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of their actions and the integrity of their intent – DOUGLAS MACARTHUR

  • Don’t wait for leadership before leading. Create your position, be proactive and contribute accordingly from your current position.
  • Greatest opportunities for leadership arise with difficult times and issues. The bad situations create the best outcomes for leadership.
  • Find people to work with whose skill sets complement yours.
  • Embrace adversity. Strong leaders thrive in challenging times.
  • Real leaders are the hardest workers.
  • Do not take yourself too seriously.

Action Step – List at least 3 things you can do to serve your team better.

  1. Boom Years (Focus on what you can control)

You have power over your mind, not external events. Realise this and you will find strength – MARCUS AURELIUS

  • A real leader must be the most focused person in the team. Focus on the critical things which will enhance your business. What you focus on grows.
  • Our greatest challenges come from within. Understand your shortfalls and avoid letting them get in the way.
  • Take the best of the past and focus on building the future.
  • You can’t change other people. All we can change is what we do. Focus on things we can influence.
  • Don’t focus people on WHAT to do, focus them on WHY they want / need to do it.

Action Step – List the growth factors you can influence / control and those you can’t. Which is the most important;  let it become your rudder.

  1. Mortality (Develop a peaceful core)

A peaceful mind generates power – N.V. PEALE

  • Essential we develop a sense of inner peace / calm that accepts us as we are – flaws and all.
  • It takes vigilance and constant effort to stay positive. Throw out the negative thoughts.
  • Look for solutions not problems.
  • Be quick to forgive and quicker to apologise.
  • Manage your exposure to negativity from all sources particularly the media.

Action Step – What regular ACTION can we take that keeps us calm and connects us with our peaceful core?

  1. Decision (Be a Lighthouse / a Rock)

  • Be a lighthouse, not a weathervane. Be solid immovable, solid as a rock, not someone who blows with the wind.
  • Be the person everyone counts on to stand firm in adversity. Be consistent and solid.
  • It is the leader’s job to make decisions – no other options.
  • Lighthouses are there for the dark times. They need to be the beacon in tough times.
  • Life changes. Essential to be fluid and accept change but maintain your mission and purpose.

Action Step – What are your bedrock principles, what do you stand for? List your non – negotiables.

  1. The End of the World (Don’t Burn Bridges)

The supreme quality of leadership is integrity – DWIGHT EISENHOWER

  • Every leader faces unique circumstance and people. If you want to succeed build relationships and work on them.
  • You can’t do it all on your own. We must rely on the talents and goodwill of others and we must not burn bridges.
  • We must be likeable, need to get along with different people. People must trust and respect their leaders.
  • Earn respect from the opposition, fair honest and crystal clear at all times.
  • Do not make enemies. You never know what happens in the future.

Action Step – Are there any relationships which need mending? What can you do to improve them.

  1. Independence Day (Make your Parents Proud)

  • All of us are here for a reason, we have our own destiny. At all times stick to your path – and ensure what you do will make your loved ones PROUD.
  • Live your story. A hero’s journey and you are the hero.
  • Take the initiative now. Not someday only every day.
  • Don’t let money become your only focus. It is not the best barometer of personal success.
  • Happiness is a decision, the source of success. It comes from the heart not the circumstance.

Action Step – List the people you care about most and ask what would make them proud of you. How would it feel?












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