I have high regards for the people who serve (or served) in armed forces. They are the real heroes who keep their motherland safe from any outside threats. And at the same time, their role in internal security is never less important. What I admire even more is their selfless work done in the times of natural calamities, disasters, and other such demanding situations.
And, it is not only me, I think most of the citizens will agree with these feelings.
Armed forces are not only about wars, weapons, and fights. The best thing the armed forces instill in the solders (at any rank) are various capabilities. You will be a better fighter, you will be a better team member, you will learn a lot of management lessons which are otherwise not possible, you will get to do something unimaginable, and eventually, you will be able to inspire others to do so. And then you realize that you are a leader others look at.
When we were approached by Drake E Taylor, who served in the US armed forces at various levels, about his book The Four Hats of Leadership: Be Who Your People Need You, we grab the opportunity and added the book in our “to be read and reviewed queue”. Fortunately, from our team, I got a chance to read this small book and here are my personal views about it. As said, the book is provided by the author, the review, however, is unbiased and uninfluenced by all means, as always.
|Book Title||:||The Four Hats of Leadership
Be Who Your People Need You To Be/em>
|Author||:||Drake E Taylor|
|Publisher||:||New Insights Press (27 March 2019, 1 April 2019)|
|# of Pages||:||
(4578 KB) 92 (Kindle EBook)
|# of Chapters||:||4|
Let us take a look at the book cover.
Being an entrance to the world explored within, the book cover plays a significant role in making the positive/negative impression of the book. And, we all know that the first impression can influence the book purchase and/or reading decisions in either way.
The title of the book clearly summarizes the content within. The cover page designer reflected the minimalistic approach in his design. He used a little dull shade of Red as the background color and below the title created four equal segments for each management lesson the author wants to convey. Each of them has a different background color to distinguish them. It, however, doesn’t make much difference.
Overall, a simple cover. I think it could have been better.
Usually, when we talk about any book, we distinguish it into two separate segments. One for the plot of the story and the other is for sharing our views on various aspects of the same. This book, however, is different. So, our approach to this book is also different.
The cover page itself mentions all four hats the author talks about in the book. They are:
- Farmer’s Hat
- Military Drill Instructor Hat
- Psychologist Hat
- Self-Care Hat
The first lesson you got to learn from the book is; life is much bigger than we can imagine. It presents opportunities at irregular intervals. We need to seize the opportunity and try to do our best. But, if somehow, despite giving our 100%, if we don’t achieve what we have expected, rather disheartening, we should move forward.
The author says that he had begun his college during Summer 2004 at the University of Cincinnati but dropped out. And later in 2005, he has Joined Air Force. He could have completed his graduation, but then, he might have had gone ahead in any other stream.
As Steve Jobs said in his famous commencement speech, “we can link dots backwards only”. We can assume but cannot predict the future course of events the life is going to present us. But, it is important to learn at every stage and enrich ourselves with knowledge and experience(s).
Another important lesson the author shares is about, how appearances can prove to be deceiving.
…There I learned a lot about people and how you cannot trust a book by its cover. I met numerous people who seemed honest, but their crimes told a different story.
We are blessed with a brain, not for nothing. We have reasoning ability and we should be intelligent enough to analyze the things. Especially, after experiences. If an experience doesn’t teach you anything, it is a failure for sure.
The author conveys that the basics should always be strong and covered at the very first stage of any operation/task. He says:
If your organization doesn’t have a name, create one. … When you name something, you take ownership of it, so you don’t want to fail!
When I was learning about Structured Systems Analysis and Designing; I came across a term named “livewares” (in addition to hardware, software,…). The people working for you should be considered as people working with you and those who are your sub-ordinates should have had friendly relations with you. Remember, if a person is mentally engaged somewhere else, he can never give you his 100%. In military operations, it is necessary for the troops to stay focused on the mission and mission only. Right? The same applies to all the other areas of life. Be it a job or a business or anything else. A good leader is the one who takes care of his team. The author says:
Take care of your people, even if they don’t ask.
Then, he moves ahead and gives some practical examples from a farmer’s perspective.
Monitoring your crop is your insurance policy against failure.
Some lines are so simple yet effective that you carry them with you even after you complete reading the book. And that is the success of the author. Here is one such line:
Discipline is how you win wars and how you survive when others don’t.
One more important stuff that I found in the book is the conversation about “rewards”. No matter how much is our salary, we love bonuses, right? When you want a kid to perform excellently or simply do a task for you, you offer them rewards and gifts, right? If not, you should. The same is true for the work field as well. That is why the companies run “Employee of the year/month”, schools run “Student of the month/year”, sports authorities run “Player of the year/month”,… competitions. Even, the entertainment industry has many such awards and rewards running. Motivation is one of the most dependable building blocks; awards and rewards are the best motivational factors. The author says:
People love rewards – it is built into the human psyche.
The author suggest becoming a tough taskmaster. If you are over-friendly with your team, then it may start taking you a little less seriously and it becomes counterproductive at the end. But, at the same time, you need to have a balanced approach. The author says:
Studies show that yelling is counterproductive and yelling at children is just as harmful as physical abuse.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
If you do yell at someone, be sure to use constructive words, not personal attacks…
Empires cannot be built and wars cannot be won without the help of a group of people who are willing to do the same thing, chase the same target. And, nothing binds people more than love and trust. The author rightly says in the book:
One of the key challenges of leadership is building trust.
The author keeps referring to various studies, surveys and statistic reports and quotes them at regular intervals. It works in favor of the book and the reader will find it more reliable. I like the conversation about Depression and Acceptance; however, I will skip talking about them to avoid spoilers.
Let me quote two important lessons from the book:
It is important that you do not lose focus regarding what is “mission critical” for your job.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
If I don’t take care of myself, who would?
The quotes must have given you a fair idea about the quality of writing you can expect from the book. The language of the book is quite easy. You can keep the book with you as your travel companion as it is light in the weight as well as from the reading perspective. For the management related books, it is obvious to become boring. Eventually, the reader finds it difficult to read. In such cases, despite having some fantastic reading material, the book doesn’t get the love from the reader. Drake has done a good job by keeping the language as simple as possible. The way he infused real-life experiences in narration at regular intervals, will keep the reader glued to it.
I will suggest you not to read this book just once. To get the essence of the same you should keep it re-reading. Ideally, such books need to be dealt with interactively. You should keep implementing the lessons you learn from it, notice and evaluate the outcomes and keep trying other lessons from the same.
In short, such self-help books require practical implementation also, just reading theories will not be that fruitful.
The book has a target set of readers and they will find it worth their time and money. You should purchase it when a promotion is running. The book is available as both Kindle EBook and Paperback, so if you love reading digital stuff, I will recommend going for EBook.
I will give it around 7.5 stars out of 10.
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