Leading with Nothing to Lose: Training in the Exercise of PowerBy: Simon P. Walker
The journey to undefended leadership doesn't stop at a personal discovery. Its practical outcome should be a new approach to the tasks of leadership. This book ventures into the territory of the pragmatic leader who has to make executive decisions, manage budgets, set targets, hire and fire, resolve conflict, improve performance, organize procedures and plan strategy. The author illustrates from history the strengths and weaknesses of eight different styles of exercising power (which he calls Foundational, Commanding, Affiliative, Serving, Pacesetting, Visionary, Consensual and Self-emptying), and explains why the ability to use not just one or two of these but all of them fluidly-and for the benefit of others, not ourselves-depends not simply on skill or training but (paradoxically) on the freedom to abandon our defences and attend to the needs of those around us. Indeed, as long as we are afraid of what we might lose, we remain unable to access the most radical and powerful of the leadership strategies: self-emptying. The Holy Grail of leadership-the ability to use each of the eight strategies as and when needed-is found only by those who, like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King, take the risk of 'leading with nothing to lose'.