There’s something about The Responsive Leader by Erik Korsvik Ostergaard (LID, 2018) that is weirdly comforting. Maybe it is his writing style – he comes across as a wise mentor rather than a dogmatic know-it-all. And that, I guess, is precisely the point of his book. Ostergaard digs into leadership styles old and new and gives you a framework for thinking about how you, as a leader, can make the shift from one to the other. He uses simple models based on the thinking of lots of leadership experts who have gone before him – from Simon Sinek to Dan Pink. And he just processes the information in such a compelling and manageable way that I walked away feeling absolutely confident I could become the leader I want to be.
In the book Ostergaard looks at three primary areas – your mindset, the models available to you, and the best approach for combining the information you glean in order to avoid turning yourself into an evangelist for yet another great idea (and let’s face it, as curious, optimistic and enthusiastic entrepreneurs we are often attracted to the shiny new thing!). He talks through old paradigms and makes specific recommendations about how these need to shift in order to meet the expectations of leaders in today’s world.
For example, traditional leadership might have been goal-focused, requiring lots of time spent planning a strategising and a leader who checked-in with team-members weekly, at most. What’s required of today’s leaders is that they be ‘start’ oriented, communicate multiple times a day with teams and aren’t afraid to simply ‘act’, making adjustments along the way. It’s not about millennials versus GenX (or whatever labels you choose to give people), it is about the changing nature of work, in relation to the changing values in society as a whole.
I can’t stay enough good stuff about this book. If you are anything like me, you’ll find it hard to put it down. And you’ll think twice before you do any number of the things at work that you simply do on autopilot. If you’re committed to continuous improvement as a leader, you want to read this book.