The gimmicky title of the book detracts from the useful material contained within it. There is a plethora of books considering and advising upon the topic of leadership and how it might be best applied, and a constant stream of readers new to the market. The strength of this book lies in Raelin presenting applied leadership in a coordinated ‘Russian Doll’ model, with the smallest doll being represented by discourse on the development of the individual’s self leadership, and the largest doll representing network level activity.
The three intermediate levels are interpersonal, team and organisational level. All activity at all levels is embedded in the process and management of change using ‘leaderful’ agents of change, namely coach (individual and interpersonal), facilitator (team), OD consultant (organisation) and ‘weaver’ (network) resulting in diagonal impact across an organisation.
The style of presentation is clear, although some readers may find the American spelling irritating. Theory is applied and thus the reader needs to have a firm grasp of theories of change management and standard leadership theories. Application of theories is supported by a number of useful activities, tables and diagrams. Despite the USA provenance, with very few exceptions, the activities and case studies translate reasonably well to UK expectations and culture.
This is a ‘how to fieldbook’, and it offers to the reader insight into some management and leadership processes. However this is not a book for the novice, but a refresher text which can provide the experienced manager/leader with some practical, integrated techniques.