UNLEASHED: The Unapologetic Leader's Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You. Frances Frei and Anne Morriss (2020, Kindle Edition)
In Unleashed, authors Frances Frei, a Harvard Business School professor, and Anne Morris, a highly acclaimed leadership coach, argue that leadership, at its core, is about empowering other people. Through use of inspiring stories that are grounded in leadership theory and practice, the authors demonstrate how leaders can effectively
create the conditions for others to excel.
The structure of this book follows the authors’ worldview on what they term “empowerment leadership”. Specifically, the book begins by setting the stage on why leadership “is not about you”, but rather about the empowerment of others through your presence (chapter 1). A simple actionable framework for empowering
others is presented that starts with a foundation of TRUST (chapter 2), from which leaders can create the conditions to empower individuals (via love, chapter 3), teams (via belonging, chapter 4), organizations (via strategy, chapter 5), and even beyond (via culture, chapter 6).
A few takeaways from the book include:
It’s not about you—Real leadership is about how effective you are at empowering others and unleashing their full potential.
Trust is the foundation of leadership—If leadership is all about empowering others, then trust is the emotional framework that makes that exchange possible.
Leadership works best when high standards are set and deep devotion is revealed at the same time—When a leader’s expectations are high and clear, others tend to stretch to reach them, and are far more likely to meet those expectations when a leader truly has their back.
Leaders who champion difference can create an unbeatable advantage—When leaders deliberately focus on creating spaces where people can bring their full, unique selves to the table, diversity creates an unbeatable advantage by dramatically expanding the amount of information a team can access.
Strategy is a direct extension of who you are as a leader. Strategy embeds your own values and beliefs into your organization’s behavior.
A culture of inclusion has four progressive stages: safe, welcome, celebrated, and cherished—To get to the higher stages where everyone feels welcome, it is critical that there is an environment where everyone feels physically and emotionally safe.
While the leadership concepts addressed in this book are not new, the reflective questions and frameworks contribute to a thought-provoking read.
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