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The BNH Book Review: “When Everyone Leads: How the Toughest Problems Get Seen and Solved”

Published Friday Apr 7, 2023

Author Terri Schlichenmeyer of The Bookworm Sez

The BNH Book Review: “When Everyone Leads: How the Toughest Problems Get Seen and Solved”

“When Everyone Leads: How the Toughest Problems Get Seen and Solved” 
by Ed O’Malley & Julia McBride
2023/Bard Press
$26.99/259 pages

With a nice closed-circle method of teaching, authors Ed O’Malley & Julia Fabris McBride, both of the Kansas Leadership Center, turn the usual definition of leadership upside down. Here, leadership is not a seize-control-and-command, man-your-stations sort of thing; instead, the authors advise a gentler method that uses thoughtfulness, a hint of bravado, cooperation and a more direct, literal look at the root word, “lead.”

This is a good read, and C-Suiters and experienced leaders will find in “When Everyone Leads” a deliberate, pleasant way to find hidden talent and bring up the next generation of leaders. 

The problem is that, even at the top level, most of us don’t lead. We practice “followership” that looks like leadership, but isn’t. Leadership is a way of “seeing and seizing moments to help a group move forward.” The authors say, “If anyone can lead, then everyone can lead.” 

There are five principles that will guide your way. First, you need authority, but authority alone is not enough. If you see a solution, don’t sit on the sidelines. You cannot lead alone and fix the problem: you must gather others and get them involved, too. Remember that leading is not without risk, and that leadership isn’t for the easy things; it’s “about our toughest challenges.”

Look down the road to identify potential rough spots and encourage the rest of your team to contribute. “Don’t wait for permission to make things better.”

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