Leadership Lessons in Disguise.
Can an action-packed political thriller convey leadership lessons? After reading IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING by L. D. Beyer and having a discussion with the author, my answer is YES. The book just came out and it is a great read for fiction aficionados and for the non-fiction readers as well. Below are the 7 leadership lessons straight from the author.
1. Focus. A leader has the focus on critical tasks. A leader needs to be able to focus himself and his team on the critical tasks required for success, especially during periods of adversity. In my book, this is highlighted by the actions of the protagonist, Matthew Richter, in his mission to survive, to protect the President at all costs, and to see that those who have tried to harm him are identified and brought to justice.
2. Honesty. A leader is always honest with himself and others. A leader needs to deal with others openly and honestly, without a hidden agenda. This is about building trust with others and in modeling the behavior that should become the norm for the organization. Those who do will find a much more loyal following of high performance individuals on their team. This trait is modeled by several characters, including the President, the protagonist, Matthew Richter, and by the FBI Agent they ultimately seek help from.
3. Loyalty. Before a leader can expect loyalty from others, he must be loyal first to his team and to the people he works with. This is again about trust but reinforces that trust goes both ways. A leader need to both trust his people but they in turn need to trust him. Actions speak louder than words and a leader needs to model this behavior. This trait is demonstrated by the President and by Matthew Richter who rises to the challenge and becomes a true leader by the end of the book.
4. Belief. A leader believes in himself and knows that if he perseveres he will succeed. Despite setback after setback, a leader needs to pick himself up, reorient himself towards the goal and try again. Matthew Richter demonstrates this throughout the story as he adopts and adapts to the many challenges he faces in his mission.
5. Power is not leadership. Positions of power are fleeting. My job title today may not be my job title tomorrow. And power often is assumed to come with the title. True power comes from the ability to build credibility and to influence others’ decisions. Said another way, by building credibility, people will look up to you and seek you out for your opinion. True power comes from being able to set a vision of what the future could look like and then guiding the organization towards that goal. The President and Richter both demonstrate this throughout the novel. Despite the lack of perceived power that comes from his position as a secret service agent, when compared to the movers and shakers in Washington, Matthew Richter is ultimately able to persuade others that there is only one solution and he’s the only one who can make it happen.
6. Courage. Leadership is about courage to always do the right thing. In the struggle between good and evil, being able to not compromise your own integrity, especially during times of adversity, is the sign of a true leader. Too many supposed leaders fail by compromising and then rationalizing their actions as justified. Matthew Richter demonstrates courage throughout the book and there is a clear contrast between his actions and those of the bad guys.
7. Personal Growth. Leadership is about personal growth. No one is perfect and all of us, including those we see as the very best leaders in our fields, need to continue to learn from our mistakes and grow. Those who suffer from a lack of humility and their arrogance and hubris will ultimately fail. In my book, no one demonstrates this better than the President.
Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets. Share them with others.
Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead
"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious."
"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust."