Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader

Posted September 27, 2015 in Leadership, What We're Reading

Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader by Herminia Ibarra

Reviewed by: Glain Roberts-McCabe

The Premise: Herminia Ibarra is a professor of leadership at INSEAD and in Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, she shares the concept of ‘outsight’ over ‘insight’. Ibarra’s provocation is not to “think and then act” but to act and then learn from direct experiences and experimentation. The book explores how you can redefine your job to make more strategic contributions; how to diversify your network to connect with a wider range of stakeholders; and, how to let go of possibly out-dated views of your own leadership style. The book is filled with examples, self-assessments, worksheets and practical strategies, making it an engaging read. At a brisk 190 pages, Ibarra is refreshingly honest and direct in her assessment of leaders and the pitfalls we often fall into as we navigate changes in scope and responsibility.

The Bottom-line: I really enjoyed this book. In no small part because Ibarra’s philosophy is so directly aligned with the leadership development approach we take at The Executive Roundtable…it made me wish I’d authored the book myself! Her three key focus areas: maximizing your job; leveraging your network; and digging deep into your brand, are at the core of our work, so I have no doubt that most of our members will find huge value in the concepts she shares. I personally picked up several new ideas that we can integrate into our programming and resources. We often say that “leadership isn’t learned in a binder” and Ibarra’s concept of “outsight” reinforces the belief that we “learn by doing”. What I found refreshing was that, unlike many academics, Ibarra has taken on leadership roles within INSEAD and admits to her shortcomings. They usually say that those who can’t “do”, teach and it was nice to read a book that is grounded in practical strategies that you can pick up and put in place immediately from someone who had lived many of them herself.

Roundtable Rating: A great, engaging read with real world examples and practical strategies to redefine your leadership style.

 


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