Leadership in the Picture

Leadership in the Picture. A Collection of Modern Classics, With illustrations by Eric J. Coolen The How, What and Why of this Book Leadership is the deciding factor: the difference between progress and blundering on, resolution and wavering, well thought-out action and haphazardness, collaboration and dissension. It has been the deciding factor for centuries, and leadership is as crucial today as it ever was. Moreover, increased global connectedness and transparency have brought into sharper focus the difference between leaders who truly understand what is expected of them and those who fail to rise to the challenge, and made it immediately visible to everyone.

It has become increasingly clear that leadership is a combination of art and skill, in teams, departments, companies, countries or even global regions. Why another book on leadership? Each new era has its own outlook on leadership, and often its own leadership books and training methods, too. It seems that every generation has to rediscover what leadership is or should be. On the basis of current definitions of leadership, we would have to conclude that today’s leaders are either not up to par or the definitions are incorrect.

Regardless of how our views on leadership have changed over the ages, some recurring themes have survived or become even more prominent. For example, the idea that leadership is about people and cooperation between them, and that there is always an element of personal leadership and self-reflection involved. A particular time or culture may call for tight management according to a plan, goal or vision, while another may require a focus on social connections, yet another may call for maximizing the capacity to learn and so forth.

This means an ongoing evaluation and recalibration of the essence of leadership: What was it again? What else is possible in leadership?’ 50 years of leadership evergreens This is a book for both new leaders and seasoned leaders, as well as for anyone interested in personal leadership. It is an anthology of ‘evergreens’ and leadership lessons accumulated during our 2 x 25 years as coaches, trainers and educators at leadership training institutions and universities all over the world.

This book offers readers a range of our key theories, lessons, insights and experiences. In addition, it invites you to reflect on your own leadership qualities: ‘How do I lead people? What kind of leader would I like to become? Which role suits me in this culture and in these times? Which qualities am I going to develop further, and in conjunction with whom? Do I still know why I’m on this path? What is it that I want to learn? What should I stop doing and leave behind? What am I going to preserve and what am I going to change? What do I stand for? May this book be a valuable companion on your quest to free up the full leadership potential that lies hidden inside you.

Why a comic book?
Today’s learning calls for a different approach from the ones we’ve come to take for granted. Traditionally, leadership is a profession with a fondness for the spoken and the written word. The combination of pictures and narrative, however, is gaining recognition again as an effective teaching and training tool. That is why we decided on a comic book, a story told in words and pictures.

We think that this metaphor of the journey of the leader, together with the stories we are about to tell, will help us convey complex subject matter insightfully. Our vision of tomorrow’s leadership We are concerned about the growing – or resurging – trend towards divisive leadership that pits people against each other, incites them, designates scapegoats, brushes aside justified complaints, lies and deceives in order to denounce anything that isn’t in its own interest. All for the glory of the ‘strong’ man or woman, often an angry child in a grown-up body.

We feel that tomorrow’s leadership should be able to build bridges in this highly polarized world. To us leadership stands for what connects people, for cohesion within and between groups united around a plan, goal or vision. This connecting type of leadership requires self-knowledge and modesty, both of present and of future leaders.

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