Book Review: Be the Unicorn – 12 Data-Driven Habits that Separate the Best Leaders from the Rest

Book: Be the Unicorn – 12 Data-Driven Habits that Separate the Best Leaders from the Rest

By: William Vanderbloemen

Reviewed by: Colleen Jones

The Premise: Be the Unicorn by William Vanderbloemen offers a unique and insightful exploration into “what” sets exceptional leaders apart from the rest.  Vanderbloemen combines his own experience in leadership consulting with rigorous research to uncover what truly distinguishes leaders who seem to have that “special something.” The book is based on twelve key habits, each backed by data and real-world examples, offering readers very practical tactics for exceptional leadership. With a conversational and engaging tone, Vanderbloemen makes complex concepts accessible and actionable for anyone. From fostering trust and accountability to mastering communication and decision-making, this book covers a broad spectrum of essential leadership skills.

The Bottomline: At The Roundtable, we understand how tricky behaviour change can be. Be the Unicorn lays out an easy-to-understand roadmap for those leaders who truly want to make a change in their leadership and become an irreplaceable asset in their organization. Understanding how challenging it is to shift long-ingrained behaviours, I appreciate Be The Unicorn for its unique combination of data-driven insights coupled with practical strategies that leaders at any level in an organization can adopt. Some of the key habits Vanderbloemen shares as differentiators include: authenticity, agility, problem-solving abilities, responsiveness, and being productive. Perhaps most interesting to me is Vanderbloemen’s emphasis on the importance of self-awareness and continuous growth which resonates with what I see as true differentiators for those leaders who stand out from the crowd.

Recommendation: I have to admit I was drawn to this book for two quite different reasons. Firstly, my youngest daughter spent half a decade obsessed with unicorns, so the word itself is like a magnet to me. Secondly, when I was working in Talent I used to joke that I kept magic “unicorns” under my desk, ready to be deployed whenever a complex role emerged. While I don’t quite believe in unicorns, I do recommend this book for any leader who is looking for practical ways to differentiate themselves from others in their organization…with the caveat that reading the book isn’t going to make the difference for you – but putting the advice into action might!


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