Robert Thomas was kind enough to send us an advance copy of his new book, Crucible of Leadership: How to Learn from Experience to Become a Great Leader. We are always thankful and enjoy the opportunity to pre-read new works prior to hitting bookstores. I must admit, at first, I thought this was just another book on leadership. Do we really need more? However, I was pleasantly surprised with what I discovered. Instead of the typically “tell you what to do” style of book, Mr. Thomas instructs individuals to take experiences learned in life and build on them and put them to good use. He makes a very strong case for continuous learning as this often occurs while on the job. The overall concept of the book is that errors made can be advantageous especially when organizations are open to the learning process at work.
The book is broken down into two sections:
In the first part of this book, Thomas lays out his case that mistakes do not lessen the effectiveness but enhances the leadership of those willing to use these as lessons. He gives the reader many examples of successful leaders in the art, sport, and business worlds who learned from their mistakes.
Mr. Thomas offers some exercises to creating a personal learning plan. These exercises encourage readers to really look at what it is he or she wants to accomplish or learn. I found these very helpful and plan to go through the exercises multiple times over the next couple of months and evaluate the outcome for myself. I also feel that a review of the concepts periodically shared would help the reader stay on course with the principles in this book.
Thomas’s point is if we aren’t learning, we are losing. I fully agree with this statement. Why not create a plan to help build or expand our resources that we will need in the future now. While the book is worth the read and gives you a boost on a challenging day, I think its reference value is far greater.
Crucible of Leadership: How to Learn From Experience to Become a Great Leader. Harvard Business Review 2008 – ISBN:978-1-159139-137-7