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Wednesday, December 05, 2012


Leading So People Will Follow by Erika Andersen - Book review

Leading So People Will Follow

By: Erika Andersen

Published: October 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 224 pages
ISBN-10: 111837987X
ISBN-13: 978-1118379875
Publisher: Jossey-Bass

"We want good leaders. In fact, we crave good leaders. We're hungry for good, worthy, followable leaders in every part of our lives", writes blogger, leadership trainer, and founding partner of Proteus International, Erika Andersen, in her engaging and timeless wisdom filled book Leading So People Will Follow. The author describes how people want leaders who they can follow, and provides the important leadership traits shared by great leaders, to develop leaders who people want to follow.

Erika Andersen understands that people are seeking great leaders, and that they want to follow great leaders. She points out that in today's uncertain economic times that there is an ever more pressing need for outstanding leaders than ever before. The author shares the often overlooked concept that anyone can become that extraordinary leader who people want to follow. Erika Andersen shares the six most essential characteristics that great leaders have in common. To illustrate these timeless traits, the author utilizes the power of story, through a retelling of fairytales and folklore from around the world. By offering these classic tales, where leadership abilities are critical to the story,

Erika Andersen (photo left) creates a compelling blueprint for modern leaders to emulate, and for potential followers to embrace toward achieving the leader's vision. The author recognizes that people are searching for great leaders to follow. Utilizing the the folktale leadership model, where the actions and character of outstanding leaders are part of the story, Erika Andersen presents an instinctive list of ideal leadership qualities. The stories describe these learnable traits in vivid and readily understood detail, as the attributes that are sought after by those who follow great leaders.

Erika Andersen describes the six essential leadership attributes as follows:

* Far-sighted: Emphasizes a vision and how to achieve it
* Passionate: Has commitment to a compelling vision, and has principles
* Courageous: Will overcome challenges and act responsibly
* Wise: Provide thoughtful decisions that gain the confidence of people
* Generous: Support and help their followers, and create a good environment
* Trustworthy: Creates a bond of trust with the followers

For me, the power of the book is how how Erika Andersen combines a powerful framework of leadership qualities through the medium of folktales, with the practical techniques and practices to develop and nurture those attributes. The author presents the timeless wisdom from the worlds of folklore and fairytale, where leaders displayed the six crucial qualities that define outstanding leaders. Erika Andersen offers the important insight, based on both the stories and her own experience and observation, that people have a visceral longing for and recognition of those six essential attributes.

The author makes clear as well that the six qualities of great leadership form a holistic and mutually supporting character. The leader must nurture, practice, and develop all of the six attributes to achieve great leadership within themselves, and for their followers. Erika Andersen also recognizes that great leaders understand they are not all powerful, and that they need guides and supporters in achieving their vision. Utilizing the folklore tradition, the author describes the three key supporters as wizards, well-wishers, and wild cards.

I highly recommend the insightful and transformational book Leading So People Will Follow by Erika Andersen, to any current or aspiring leaders, and to anyone who may find themselves thrust into a leadership role at any time. This important and must read book will develop anyone into a great leader, perhaps even of legendary and folklore proportions.


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