Great new book on Leadership

September 28, 2006 9:01 am Published by

There are books that come along that are destined to have a major impact in our culture. I believe Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, Integrity: The courage to meet the demands of reality may be such a book. Like Jim Collins’ Good to Great which has become an icon in the business world because of its simple yet powerful message, Cloud’s principles in Integrity are easy to understand but carry significant weight in their ability to help us understand ourselves, and improve ourselves.

At first blush, another book or message on “integrity” does not seem compelling. However, Cloud defines integrity differently – not solely on the moral basis of keeping one’s word or having your actions match your words. Rather, he defines integrity in terms of integration – integrating six major character qualities together into your whole person.

He proposes that six character qualities are required for effective leadership:

  1. Creating and maintaining trust
  2. Being able to see and face reality
  3. Working in a way that brings results
  4. Embracing negative realities and solving them
  5. Causing growth and increase/li>
  6. Achieving transcendence and meaning in life.

Throughout the book, he cites numerous personal examples from his consulting practice and gives helpful “word pictures”. One picture that I found helpful is that of the “wake” that a person leaves behind them (similar to the wake a boat leaves behind). There are two sides of the wake: the task side (what one accomplishes) and the relational side (how you impact those around you). Some leaders have a positive wake on the task side, but leave behind damaged bodies on the relational side (and vice versa).

The book is not difficult conceptually, but it is not a “quick read” because of the depth and meat which needs to be digested. Rather, it is one of those books that you read slowly, chew on, think about, and then come back to later for some more.

I believe Cloud’s book, Integrity, is one that all who desire to become better leaders – whether in work, at home, or in the community – should put at the top of their reading list.


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September 28, 2006 9:01 am

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