One of my most passionate arguments about developing leaders is that there is very little new information, and just because a book is a few years old doesn’t mean it’s out of date. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of new books out there with a lot of great information, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a lot of Earth-shattering new information. I recently found a book that proves my point. Published in 1992, Leadership when the heat is on by Danny Cox and John Hoover is a great collection of tips and techniques that are applicable to leaders at all levels. The book has been revised and reprinted several times, most recently in 2007.

There seems to be no end to the discussion about the difference between management and leadership. Managers manage things, but they also lead people. It is that leadership ability that will ultimately make them successful. Cox goes on a bit to explain how managers lead, but takes an interesting position on leadership itself. He states that one can only be a leader when the people he leads grant him that honor. It’s kind of a utopian point of view, but the meaning is clear: if a leader wants to be genuinely successful, the people he leads must willingly accept that leadership and willingly follow. Each leader is personally responsible for being in a leadership position, as well as for his or her actions as a leader.

Cox goes on to present 10 characteristics of leadership. There is on his list a topic that all leadership educators should take note of. Every point in it, with one exception, is about how a leader sees himself and how that leader should approach the challenges of leadership. There is no mention of how to motivate people or deal with personnel problems. The only exception is point number 10 which is “Helping others to grow”.

The rest of the book is seven steps to success that are applicable to almost any type of leader at any level. These steps deal with issues such as time management, problem solving, and change management. One of his steps is to keep morale up, certainly applicable in today’s world. Cox clearly outlines a list of warning signs of bad morality, discusses what those signs might mean, and then clearly lays out the solutions to the problems. I especially appreciated two of his solutions that explain that low morale can be the result of people not fully understanding their jobs and a manager’s lack of growth as a leader.

Leadership when the heat is on it is a great tool for leaders who want to become great leaders. Cox and Hoover have provided us with a collection of leadership tips and techniques that remain highly relevant and valuable.

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