Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: Boundaries for Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud

I am quite familiar with the Boundaries books and with leadership books in general. I wasn't really expecting anything new when I read Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships and Being Ridiculously in Charge by Dr. Henry Cloud. This book, though, totally surprised me.

One of my complaints about the other Boundaries books is how repetitive they are, both within the same book and across various titles. This book is far different. For one, there is very little, if any, mention of Christianity or religion. While the advice in it still fits the Christian background, it can definitely be used by anyone, regardless of faith. Second, many of the ideas presented in this book are different from the topics in other Boundaries books. Even the concept of what a boundary is for a leader is slightly different from the definition found in their other books. Lastly, the focus is far more on the practical application, than simply what it means to set boundaries. The author goes through many real life examples where he has seen boundaries work and where boundaries have gone awry. It isn't just about what a leader with boundaries looks like, but how to begin to analyze your teams and start working toward a more effective, goal oriented group.

The best part for me is the textbook like quality to the book. It isn't like many leadership books where someone considers themselves a great leader so they just recount their personal examples and try to draw conclusions from them. This book is backed up with much research, and that research can be applied in many different areas. The descriptions about how different people in different situations think about their work environments rang true to me as something I've either experienced myself or have seen others experience. And as a good textbook does, the practicality of it begs the reader to begin implementing the ideas immediately.

I can't recommend this book highly enough as a leadership textbook for anyone in any sort of leadership or team leading role. It tops any book I've ever read by John Maxwell (who in my opinion writes excellent leadership books as well). This should be the gold standard for practical leadership.

I was provided a free copy of this book by Harper Collins Publishers in return for my honest review.

No comments: