The book reviewed is entitled, “Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading”. This leadership book is utilized by the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) Executive Education department within its Arab Leadership short courses. This book harnesses ideologies associated with inspirational and motivational approaches and attributes for leaders working for an organization. This book highlights the dangers, risks and challenges that are associated with leadership. Leadership’s most shared birthplace of catastrophe has been reported to be the ‘people’ aspect. Furthermore, this book highlights illustrations of realistic situations on the issues and obstacles that include diversions, attachment, seduction and marginalization. Conflict management is critical to any problem solving when it comes to leadership.
The Main Category of Leadership Approaches
The foremost category of leadership approaches that is tailored and the perspectives fall into is for the leaders within the book. The references and guidance were mainly geared to leaders as opposed to followers and situations specifically. Though there were mentions of case-scenarios and interrelations with the leaders and followers, even leaders and situations as well as followers and situations. The leaders’ perspective approaches were evident through the writings of the dangers and obstacles of leadership in addition to adapting to change; the leaders’ acceptance of causalities and organization’s fates; the leaders’ emotional and spiritual well-being; the implications and understandings of conflict resolution management, risk management and problem solving, and self-engagement. These leaders’ perspective approaches can be applied in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as the GCC and across the Arab World.
The Ideas and Guidelines: Reflection
The first strength of the book is that the cases described and illustrated are real-life stories and scenarios that have taken place which can be applied to the UAE at large. Such an ideology positions the theories and frameworks of leadership approaches and its’ perspectives in a more scholarly-practitioner aspect and brings the theory to life and reality. Let’s take, for instance, the first part of the book focused mainly on the practical and application aspect of how to successfully lead organizational change. Furthermore, there were reflections and references made from the historical great leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Julius Caesar and King Lear, in addition to more recent leaders such as George W. Bush, Jr. and Sr., Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton and even Bill Gates.
Book Resonation with Writer’s Own Vision of Leadership
In the writer’s opinion, leadership is when a person enunciates a vision together with having the supporting goals and objectives, a defined strategic plan, adaptive organizational change and cultural attributes. The book speaks parables on the practicality of leading organizations through change successfully and integrating such a change across the various levels of the organization’s culture and comparisons of the theories’ dimensions. Authority is another resonating factor in the writer’s view on leadership; the book is a valuable source of practical examples on how to best deal or not to deal with situations within the workplace.
Collaborative Problem-Solving Principles
The collaborative problem-solving dimension of the book was illustrated through a section which highlights ways to control the temperature within the workplace. The ways that were stipulated to problem-solving within this particular section includes the following: addressing the methodological characteristics of the difficult situation and issues; then developing a mechanism for a problem-solving process by compartmentalizing the issues and dealing with each of these parts on a step by step basis; and the temperature (pressure at work) is controlled in the group to a constant where pressures do not inhibit the collaborative efforts of the team and the problem-solving mechanisms, and thus promoting the employee motivation and inspirational attributes.
Burke, W. W. (2008). Organization change: Theory and practice (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Linsky, M., & Heifetz, R. A. (2002). Leadership on the line: Staying alive through the dangers of leading (1st ed.). Boston: Harvard Business School.
Van Vugt, M., Hogan, R., & Kaiser, R. B. (2008). Leadership, followership, and evolution. American Psychologist, 63(3), 182-196.