Discover Your Authentic Leadership

Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at 0364-3107 (Print) 1544-4376 (Online) Journal homepage: North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership byBill George with Peter SimsSan Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007, 240 pagesDerrick Robinson , Jeffrey Gibbs LMFT , Brad Parks LCSW , Victor Rea ,Kimberly White & Davida WillisTo cite this article: Derrick Robinson , Jeffrey Gibbs LMFT , Brad Parks LCSW , Victor Rea ,Kimberly White & Davida Willis (2010) True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by BillGeorge with Peter Sims, , 34:3, 307-309To link to this article: online: 03 Jun 2010.Submit your article to this journalArticle views: 1138View related articles307Administration in Social Work, 34:307–309, 2010Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLCISSN: 0364-3107 print/1544-4376 onlineDOI: 10.1080/03643107.2010.481205WASW 0364-3107 1544-4376 Administration in Social Work, Vol. 34, No. 3, Apr 2010: pp. 0–0 Book ReviewTRUE NORTH: DISCOVER YOUR AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP. Bill Georgewith Peter Sims, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007, 240 pages.Book Review This book by Bill George, a former CEO and current professor at Harvard,asserts that strong values and personal integrity are fundamental standardsfor effective leadership.The authors and colleagues interviewed 125 “authentic leaders to learnthe secrets of their development as leaders” (p. xxvii). Interviewees wereselected “based on their perceived authenticity and established success inleadership roles.” Nearly all were from the business sector, a few were affiliated with universities, and several were from nonprofits.The chapters consist mainly of stories and quotes from the leaders whowere interviewed, structured around the elements of the internal compass.An appendix includes useful exercises for each chapter that can stimulatereflection and action planning for personal development.The main theme of the book is the importance of having a sense of selfawareness and self-acceptance of who you are as an individual and leader. Thissense of self-awareness/acceptance is achieved when an individual understandshow his/her decision making is impacted both personally and professionally byhis or her life experiences, morals, values, integrity, and ethics. It also includesacknowledging one’s strengths and weaknesses as an individual, and beingaware of how they drive a sense of purpose and impact decision making. Usingthe metaphor of a compass pointing northward to serve as our moral and ethical guide, the author suggests that the more we remain true to who we are asindividuals, the more effective we will be as leaders.Some of the outstanding characteristics of the successful leadersdescribed in the book were a sense of high integrity (a firm adherence to amoral code), a strong work ethic (leaders showed a passion for their workand strong commitment to their organization), a high sense of perseverance,and courage during difficult challenges. With these characteristics, the leadersprofiled acted in ways that were consistent with their values and moral codes.The discussion about values, leadership principles, and ethical boundariesresonated with us because of our strong commitment to being model leadersto employees under our supervision. Oftentimes, leaders mistakenly believethat subordinates must respect a title and not the person serving in the position.Such leaders act in a way that is not consistent with departmental standards308 Book Reviewor policies and procedures, and have a “do as I say, not as I do” position.These managers are not effective and often oversee a workforce of lowmorale and productivity. By having strong values and integrity, a leader islikely to oversee employees who aspire to model those behaviors consistentwith the organization’s values.Most of the principles covered in the book are applicable to public sectororganizations. The importance of values, integrity, ethics, and team buildingare key elements to the success of any organization. These principlesensure the adherence to high standards and program integrity, and promotecollaboration both inside and outside the organization. However, the leadersprofiled in the book worked primarily in the private sector and held positions that afforded them greater latitude to make decisions and implementchanges than is common in government. Working in the public sector doesnot provide as much freedom in the decision-making process, because ofthe many stakeholders, including advocates, community-based groups, andelected officials, that must be considered before arriving at a decision.While the book focuses on private sector leaders, the leadership principles it advocates would also be of value to managers in human servicesorganizations. Public sector leaders who adopt and apply these same principlesin their organizations will be more effective personally and will promoteorganizational success. We recommend it to practicing managers.Derrick RobinsonHuman Services Administrator IIILos Angeles CountyDepartment of Public Social ServicesLos Angeles, CAJeffrey Gibbs, LMFTAssistant Regional AdministratorLos Angeles CountyDepartment of Children and Family ServicesLos Angeles, CABrad Parks, LCSWDivision ChiefSanta Barbara CountyDepartment of Social ServicesSanta Barbara, CAVictor ReaAssistant DirectorSan Bernardino CountyBook Review 309Department of Children’s ServicesSan Bernardino, CAKimberly WhiteHuman Services Administrator IIILos Angeles CountyDepartment of Public Social ServicesLos Angeles, CADavida Willis, MADivision ChiefSanta Barbara CountyDepartment of Social ServicesSanta Barbara, CA


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