REVIEW: Bill Treasurer — Leadership Two Words at a Time (BOOK)
Bill Treasurer writes in a manner that is intellectually affable in his new book, Leadership Two Words at a Time. But actually absorb what he’s saying, and you’re left with a feeling that in spite of the niceties he cuts through the noise.
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There’s something affably New York about the man’s delivery, helping me eschew initial worries that the book may lean further in the direction of holism, at the expense of good business advice. It’s a delicate dance writing leadership and business advice in the millennial-dominated era. Treasurer trumps this in part by breaking the fourth wall narratively, and talking directly to the reader. This fosters a certain specificity, a kind of personalization, that makes Treasurer able to speak in a manner that is decidedly direct, and insured by said personalization from needless criticism. What he’s advocating for ideologically, and in terms of leadership, is a fair-minded, dynamic, and genuine kind of approach.
Something that doesn’t just score ideological and professional-sounding points, but that is genuinely sound. “To support you in committing to positive leadership changes that you identify as you read the book, at the end of each part, you’ll be asked to sign an oath. Leaders keep promises, and the three oaths you’ll sign will be to yourself, to the people you’ll lead, and to the work you’ll do,” Treasurer writes. “Throughout the book, you’ll also be encouraged to sharpen your leadership point of view by answering leadership-related questions that appear at the end of each chapter under the header Think Now. But thinking is not enough — you can’t think yourself into behavioral change.
Only action will do that. Thus, each chapter also concludes with specific and immediate actions you can take to apply what you’ve learned, under the header Act Now. The aim of the book is to be memorable, practical, and useful. So, as you engage with it, you’ll actively do what leaders do: envision outcomes, make commitments, and take action! (Notice the two words?) Are you ready to go to work?”
He adds, “…Leading yourself is an aspect of your leadership that can become increasingly strained as the responsibilities and burdens of leadership grow in significance. Other people, situations, and obligations can slowly creep up your priority list, while you keep slinking down on it. Self-neglect is a real danger for leadership careerists, sabotaging their well-being, health, and leadership fitness. Thus, learning to lead yourself, with fidelity and consistency, will serve you well and bring sanity to your leadership of others…The starting point of leadership is self-knowledge.
You’ve got to be intimately familiar with your inner workings. You’ve got to know what makes you tick, and what ticks you off. You’ve got to know your values, interests, talents, and triggers. You’ve got to be clear about what you can do well, and what you’d do well to have others do. You’ve got to know what energizes and de-energizes you, and what you’re drawn to and repelled by. You’ve got to know which time of day your creative juices flow, and when you’re prone to making mistakes. You’ve also got to be clear about the challenges you’ve dealt with or overcome and how they shaped you, and honest about whatever unearned advantages and privileges you may have benefitted from, so you have compassion for the disadvantaged. You’ve got to know you. Really well.”