Reviewed by Emily Thomas
The Leadership Pill is an inspirational and educational book on instructing people how to become effective leaders. The book illustrates a fictional situation were a company called LPI, Leadership Pill Industries, markets a "leadership pill" that when taken, creates leaders. LPI's PR director promised that the pill would "enhance one's ability to lead." The corporate society was intrigued by the idea that creating leadership could be so simple and quickly began supporting the product. There was only one problem; the pills ingredients overlooked several key elements that in reality create effective leaders.
The Effective Leader, a critic of the leadership pill, came forward in the corporate world and accused LPI of distributing a phony pill. This caused a media uproar and soon a challenge between the two competing ideas would begin. "The Pill-Free Challenge" consisted of one company who was given the leadership pill and another company, under the direction of The Effective Leader, was given nothing. They had one year to prove themselves as a company and succeed.
The challenge began and the team taking the pill seemed to be doing great. However, The Effective Leader's team got off to a rough start. The team members were producing bad morale and had no promising goals of success in mind. The Effective Leader started at the bottom and began teaching his team about "The Secret Blend." He said that the leadership pill was missing ingredients; therefore he began teaching his team exactly what those missing ingredients were that would in turn give them success.
The first missing ingredient is integrity. Having morale and ethical principals is a strong base for building not only one person into an effective leader but more importantly turning a corporation into a strong and successful corporation. A company that is based on honest values will earn the trust of there customers and see more long term success. Second, the pill was missing partnership. The Effective Leader taught his team that "partnership harvests the potential of the team." The book insists that leadership is a two-way street and that leaders need to help their team work, learn and grow together in unity. Lastly, the pill was missing affirmation. People need to feel wanted and encouraged. When looking towards a long-term goal people need to feel that there input is accepted and respected.
Six months had passed and the company taking the pill was still beating the Effective Leader's team on a short-term scale. There was still six months to go and The Effective Leader began seriously implementing "The Secret Blend" into his team. His goal was to build more effective leaders to a point that they did not need his guidance at all times.
The Effective Leader instilled integrity by distributing responsibility and teaching each team member to find and act upon there ability to self-lead. The key ingredients of integrity are trust and respect and by trusting and respecting his team, they in turn trusted and respected him. Leading into how he found partnership within the corporation. A two-way street was formed and the team members felt and open and positive morale among one another. Affirmation came naturally for this new and strongly developed team. The team had something to be proud of and gained an understanding of self-affirmation.
In the end, obviously the team taking the leadership pill failed. Leadership is not as simple as taking a pill and dictating people in order to have a maximum amount of productivity. The Effective Leader's team soared to new heights and continued to succeed. The set a long-term goal and achieved it while gaining the respect of there customers, the corporate world, and most importantly one another.
I believe that the authors presented there take on leadership in a very positive manner. Their stance on building effective leaders was encouraging and seemed to have great results. The approach that they represent can be closely related to that of TQM. The 14 points that we discussed in class closely align with that of the author's viewpoint. Three of the points in particular: institute training on the job, institute leadership, and driving out fear all represent the same stance that The Effective Leader took.
TQM is based on creating consistency and setting long-term goals. Blanchard and Muchnick also agree that long-term goals are necessary for a company to succeed. The standpoint that TQM takes also encompasses a concern for the company's customers. Effective leaders have to understand that if your customer is not happy then no one will be happy. The book encourages developing each and every person in your company into a leader who can strongly represent your name in a positive way. Both Deming and The Effective Leader know that you must develop leaders through example and create a two-way street for communication in order to succeed. In doing this you will create effective leaders all throughout your company who don't need continuous guidance in order to have personal career success.
I would strongly recommend this book to other students and anyone interested in becoming a better leader. Yes, this book can be very applicable to leading in the corporate world but it can also have a strong impact on leading any type of group. It teaches people that leadership is a blend of several things. The analogy that leadership is a simple as taking a pill is a great representation that it is actually more complex that most people believe.
This book is a very easy read and breaks down the components that a leader needs in a very organized way. It illustrates what one needs to consider when leading a group of individuals. It teaches people that in order to lead you can not control and in order to succeed you must gain respect and trust among one another. Overall, I found the book very educational. I will take "The Secret Blend" of integrity, partnership, and affirmation and apply it to my personal leadership roles in order to become a more effective leader in my own life.