On Leadership: Practical Wisdom from the People Who Know, by Allan Leighton
Ashley Sellar, sales director, Getronics
Allan Leighton, currently the chairman of Royal Mail, provides insights from his and other people’s careers on how best to manage people and businesses (see our November issue, Trailblazers). His advice is refreshingly devoid of management speak and buzzwords.
Having started his career on the shop floor at Mars, Leighton’s career includes being part of the team that turned Asda around and sold it to Wal-Mart. He learned the value of building close links with workers on the coal-face.
The book is full of anecdotes from experience and a broad range of acknowledged industry leaders and entrepreneurs, including Martha Lane Fox and Sir Philip Green. Leighton believes that 80 per cent of the value can be gained from the first 20 minutes of a meeting and used this philosophy when interviewing people for the book, making it punchy and to the point.
The book concludes with Leighton’s most significant statement, something that we forget all too often: ‘Failure doesn’t make you a terrible person and a company’s success doesn’t make you a genius.’
On Leadership is the most straightforward management book I’ve come across – there is something to be gained from it every time. Leighton has drawn on his experience when writing the book and this comes across. You only need to read a few pages at a time to gain something valuable from it.