April 4, 2008

Book Review - Wizard and the Warrior

The Wizard and the Warrior: Leading with Passion and Power
Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal
HD 57.7 .B645 2006

Bolman and Deal believe that most managers go about their job by focusing on the structure of their organizations and the people in them. While this strategy works to some degree, the authors assert that it leaves managers open to being surprised, often negatively, when unexpected things happen. Instead, Bolman and Deal put forward four characteristics that they believe are found in leaders, not simply managers. The first of these, described as the "warrior" role, is the strength and willingness of the individual to fight for what they believe is right, but also to pick battles carefully so that these efforts are not wasted. Second, they describe the "wizard" role, through which an individual develops expertise in their subject field which allows them to envision the future and position themselves and their team in a way to take best advantage of it. Third, they touch on the "analyst" role, which they believe is the ability to collect, analyze, and interpret information, using it to develop a plan for the way ahead. Fourth, they discuss the "caregiver" role, which emphasizes the importance of motivating and listening to people and as well as developing good interpersonal relationships. Bolman and Deal are somewhat unique in the management literature because they do not prescribe behaviors of effective leaders. Instead, they make their mark by putting forward this quartet of traits that they believe all leaders possess, then state that great leadership is the art and skill of employing each trait or combination of traits at the appropriate time. This is an eye-opening book that encourages everyone to develop the leader within them.