The Leader You Want To Be



Book Title:  The Leader You Want to Be:  Five Essential Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self — Every Day
Author:  Amy Jen Su
Publisher:  Harvard Business Review Press
List Price:  US$28.00
Format:  Hardcover, 256 pages
Publication Date:  2019      
ISBN: 9781633695917
Reviewer:   Phil A. Elsner, MS, PMP
Review Date:  February 2020




“The Leader You Want to Be” was written by executive coach Amy Jen Su to illustrate how choosing to employ either of two imaginary contrasting mindsets can cause some people to succeed as leaders while others fail.

The successful “Leader A” mindset promotes relaxed, confident, servant leaders who are generous of spirit; the “Leader B” mindset causes stressful, uncertain, needy, and dictatorial behaviors.

The author contends that all of us frequently switch back and forth between “A” and “B” modes and relates anecdotes from her coaching experiences to show how some “Leader B” types became more effective by using “Leader A” thinking.

Overview of Book’s Structure

Introduction – explains the two Leader mindsets and defines a framework of five principles (Purpose, Process, People, Presence, and Peace) common to effective leadership.

Chapter 1 – defines four stress-inducing pitfalls people fall into that sabotage successful “A” actions while trying to get things done when time is short:

  • Just Do More
  • Just Do It Now
  • Just Do It Myself
  • Just Do It Later

Chapter 2 – The Power of Purpose guides the reader in identifying the tangible and intangible elements of his(/her) contribution and the passion (motivation, energy, and inspiration) elements behind accomplishing actions.  Once defined, the contribution and passion elements are mapped into a two-by-two matrix which facilitates prioritization and scheduling.

Chapter 3 – The Power of Process encourages leaders to understand and work within their personal preferences concerning process and structure with an eye to reconciling priorities with passion and contributive value.

Chapter 4 – The Power of People covers points about who has the skills and abilities to do what throughout the organization from now into the future for succession planning and explores communication among departments for finding honest help, boundaries, and feedback.  This author loves to make bullet lists throughout the book and creates many as checklisting exercises.



To read entire Book Review, click here



About the Reviewer

Phil Elsner

North Texas, USA




Phil Elsner is a business results project manager in the Dallas, Texas area.  He is a passionate advocate for using the talents of Project Management Professionals to get things accomplished in the business world with maximum effectiveness and minimum wasted effort.

Phil proudly holds multiple degrees in biomedical sciences from The University of Texas at Austin and the The University of Texas of The Permian Basin. He credits his high school Spanish teacher for his being English/Spanish bilingual.

He began his professional Information Technology career as an application programmer and rose through the ranks of systems analysis, systems design, and team leadership on his way to managing projects in industries as diverse as telecommunication, financial services, mortgage processing, and healthcare.

Phil grew up in the first FM radio station in West Texas and remains connected to broadcasting as project manager and executive producer of high school football on radio and Internet in the heart of the Permian Basin.

He is a Life Member of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity and a lifelong self-described “serial volunteer” leading networking groups in the Dallas area. Music has always been a part of Phil’s life.  He has earned ten Barbershop Harmony Society gold medals as a bass singer in the Dallas-based Vocal Majority.

Coworkers have said that Phil Elsner is different from many other project managers because he never forgets that the processes completed in projects are done by real people who deserve to be treated as such and because he believes that keeping a relaxed environment and sense of humor on the job make people happier and outcomes better.

He is active in the PMI Dallas chapter and can be contacted at  P.A.Elsner@gmail.com


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