At some point in our professional careers, we have all met or worked with leaders or managers who bring out the best in everyone, who make work effortless, who inspire and motivate people around them. These are the leaders who unriddle and unleash latent competencies in individuals, teams, and co-workers and allow them to grow, innovate and flourish. These are the leaders who reflect the true difference between engagement and wallowing.
But who are these leaders? What is the secret of people who thrive? And what does it take to consistently perform and achieve?
Tal Ben Shahar and Angus Ridgway’s book The Joy of Leadership: How Positive Psychology Can Maximize Your Impact (and Make You Happier) in a Challenging World, conspicuously answers these questions and apprises that “these are the dream bosses, dream partners and dream colleagues that we all wish to work with — these are the 10X leaders”.
The book is not just about leadership; this book is about the difference between “those who flourish and those who flounder”, and in the authors’ own words, “The purpose of this book is to share what we’ve learned about the behaviors that make the very best leaders who they are and how everyone can put these behaviors into practice.”
The book doles out the mantra for becoming a 10X leader and synthesizes Angus’s knowledge of research-based leadership models with Tal’s knowledge of positive psychology. From acknowledging the nuances and impingements of the disruptive world to addressing the contradictory possibilities in the business world, the book redefines the ways in which leadership is perceived and developed, and elucidates the mode in which, leaders can help organizations achieve shared goals and bring joy to themselves and those around.
The Joy of Leadership highlights five characteristics, recurring areas of focus that are observed in successful, 10X leaders — Strengths, Health, Absorption, Relationships, and Purpose — the SHARP framework. It is through combining and integrating these performance multipliers, that the 10X leaders achieve lasting success and fulfilment, in their personal and professional lives.
The book starts by making a case for why “flourishing in the work environment (becoming more energetic, focused, and happy” is crucial in a disaggregated, uncertain and boundaryless world marred by the fluidity of people, roles, and information. However, the authors mention that it is this uncertainty that also “creates unprecedented, boundaryless opportunities for human development, for growing into the kind of joyful, influential people — the 10X leaders.”
The authors then examine the myths related to leadership, happiness, and success, before introducing what 10X leaders do. The cross-examination and interrogation of the myths lead the authors to conclude that “the best way to lead and to succeed, is to be happy — and not the other way around. The authors then elaborate the SHARP framework in detail affirming the value of each to living productively and happily, and costs to people and organizations when these attributes remain underdeveloped.
One critical point the authors make is that “the development of the talented person into a joyful leader if, in a sense, a transaction, involves two symbiotic agents: the organization and the individual.” And the SHARP framework “requires practice and interaction, in the context of the workplace; it’s implemented over an extended period, and it measures results beyond attendance or satisfaction surveys.”
While the book deals with the complex nuances of leadership, happiness, and success; the concepts are dealt with simplicity, and the philosophy and practical insights are elucidated and concluded in uncomplicated and intelligible manner. Every chapter in the book is replete with practical and actionable points — the real-life analogies in the book prompt the readers to think about their own experiences and correlate to what is mentioned in the book.
The book is not just another management book. The authors, Tal Ben-Shahar and Angus Ridgway, offer a seamless blend of research, practical anecdotes, and real-life pointers for a thought-provoking and engaging reading experience that augments intelligence on the themes. It is an inspiring, instructional and purpose-filled read!