I get a lot of requests to review new books. I'm sitting on 5 books at this time. I try to read them in the order I receive them. I make exceptions for friends. I'm writing today about a book that I moved to the top of the list and I'm pleased I did. Management Rewired: Why Feedback Doesn't Work and Other Surprising Lessons from the Latest Brain Science, by Charles S. Jacobs, is a book about transformational leadership. There a lot of fine books on leadership1 so why another? Hasn't everything already been written? Not quite.
Jacobs calls on neuroscience (the study of how the brain works) to explore what works and doesn't work with leadership behaviors. His conclusions are both reassuring and surprising. I've read many studies that say for most of us, performance-based incentive plans don't work. It's not just that they are ineffective, incentive compensation — rewards and punishment — often produces the opposite effects. Jacobs explains our brain adjusts our behavior to managers who put themselves in a dominant role. On the surprising side, Jacobs says that traditional performance appraisals including the 360° reviews don't work. So what does work?
Transformational leadership is far superior to transactional leadership. He shares five behaviors of the transformational leadership:
- Shift the paradigm
- Make it participative
- Convey an aspirational vision of the future
- Tell the story
- Create focus and urgency
What else works? Have people set their own goals, review their own performance and when necessary put their own corrective action in place.
Management Rewired isn't just an essay. Jacobs backs up what he says with a full set of endnotes. He takes his own advice to leaders by introducing this neuroscience-based approach by telling stories…both stories about famous leaders and his stories. The book is readable, referenceable and actionable. To get a peek at his thinking download the ChangeThis manifesto A Mind for Selling: Brain Science Is Turning Management on its Head.
- 49,124 leadership books available at Amazon on June 9, 2009 [ ⇑ back ]