I have never written a book review before, but I have been asked to write one, so here it goes. Many of you know by reading my blogs that I am an avid reader. I normally spilt my genres between business, fiction, and biography. I try and read about 1-2 books per month.
When it comes to business books, some of my favorite writers are Patrick Lencioni, Simon Sinek, Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, and Jim Collins. Over the holiday break last month, I read Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Motive. This is the 5th book I have read of his. I enjoy his books because many are written as fables, so they are easier to understand than the traditional concepts you see in most business books. The Motive discusses why so many leaders abdicate their most important responsibilities. This book reads as a fiction book, with interesting characters and plot twists. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. I found I could really relate to this book. Although this month marks my 20th year as a CEO, I am still learning, and Lencioni’s book taught me a few good lessons. This book helps leaders understand why they are leading. It helps executives understand their motivation for leading.
Lencioni explores the two leadership motives: reward centered leadership and responsibility centered leadership.
Reward Centered Leadership
According to Lencioni, reward centered leadership is the belief that being a leader is the reward to hard work; therefore, the experience of being a leader should be pleasant and enjoyable. Leaders should be able to choose what they work on and avoid anything mundane, unpleasant, or uncomfortable.
Responsibility Centered Leadership
Responsibility centered leadership is “the belief that being a leader is a responsibility; therefore, the experience of leading should be difficult and challenging (though certainly not without elements of personal gratification).”
He goes on to say no leader is purely reward centered or responsibility centered. He states that one of these two motives for leadership will be predominant, and that the motive will have an impact on the success of the leader.
Many of Patrick’s presentations talk about the importance of servant leadership (responsibility centered). At a talk Patrick gave to the Global Leadership Network in 2019 he stated, “My hope is that someday people won’t talk about servant leadership, because that will be the only type of leadership that exists. Servant leadership is the only kind of leadership there is. Do not expect a reward. This is not true leadership.”
I can’t say how successful I am as a leader, but I do know I lead a great team that has weathered many challenging times, most recently the pandemic and the Great Recession. I know I don’t run ASE for the reward, it is a nonprofit. The gratification of helping employers become better employers and thus have successful, happy employees has been enough for me to stay in the organization for so long. I feel it is a privilege to run this 120-year-old institution.
I encourage you to read the book if you are an aspiring leader, a new leader, or one with many years under your belt. It won’t be a waste of your time.