Book coverI’m a Marcus Buckingham fan, but then I’m generally a fan of anyone that thinks the same stuff I do, so I am about to start giving away copies of the book to all my colleagues. This book should not be recommended reading, it should be compulsory reading for all managers and leaders.
The book (buy it online at and explores the difference between great leaders and managers, he believes that great managers and leaders are born and not made, although he acknowledges that they can learn some of the skills. He cautions leaders not to try and be managers if they are not interested in individuals but to focus on their strengths as leaders of many and cuts to the core of what successful managers and leaders need to know. Such as:
The 4 skills you must learn to “not fail� as a great manager
1. Select good people
2. Define clear expectations
3. Praise and recognise
4. Show care for your people
He defines managers as being people that are interested in the individuals and that they are not about transforming people but about realising the potential and strength of the individuals.

One thing you need to know to be a great manager – How to capitalise on people’s uniqueness
On the other hand, he defines leaders as instigators – they need to make many people excited about vision. They are not focused on the individual, but on the whole. They focus on the universal fears and needs of all people and capitalise on this.
5 Universal pairs of fears and needs he identifies are:
• Fear of death and the need for security
• Fear of the outsider and the need for community
• Fear of the future and the need for clarity
• Fear of chaos and the need for authority
• Fear if insignificance and the need for respect
The one that you really need to know – The fear of the future and the need for clarity.
As a leader you have to find a way to engage in the unknown and turn it into confidence in the future. Be clear, define the future in such vivid terms that people can see where you are headed. Clarity is the antidote to anxiety.
The One thing may challenge some people’s notions of leadership, the need for clarity seems to contradict the need for chaos, the idea that leaders must be born and that being a good leader is not the same as being a good manager (although some people can be great at both) may contradict people’s ideas, but I find the reasoning behind this to be strong. Write it to off the paradox of human nature – we have fears and needs and no amount of theories and management trends can ignore this. This book transcends these trends and theories and is as valid today as it was 20 years ago (his ideas follow Druckers line of thinking) and they will be in 20 years time (and Tom Peters is also a fan).

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