People-Centered Leadership is a Good Start


Nightly news is a frequent and unfortunate reminder of the shortfalls in leadership that our country is currently experiencing. John Keyser’s book, When Leadership Improves, Everyone Wins, is then not only timely but practical and credible as well. His pinpoint analysis of where problems lie and his thoughtful Rx is that of a seasoned executive and counselor. Keyser’s resume bespeaks a lifelong career of working in the trenches with a wide variety of clients who variously reflect the good, fair, and the not-so-good of corporate H.R.

For those desiring to make their organizations all that they can be, the 160 or so pages is organized and flows in a way that makes for easy and rewarding reading. In contrast to a number of similar works of this nature which are heavy in theory and description, most valuable is John showing how his words of wisdom might be profitably implemented.

In a nutshell, the theme I take away from the book is that while people-centered leadership is not a guaranteed ticket to a corporate “promised land,” it is a good start – and one more likely to be successful over time than cultures and footprints that lack such element. He does not belie the need for numbers and processes or deny the successes of taskmasters, but believes and illustrates, through numerous references, that in the long run, the strength of the wolf, i.e., the leader, is the pack.

From my own professional experience as a lawyer and a board member, I believe his insights would be most helpful across the corporate landscape in particular to:

  • Those who presently lead organizations and/or their divisions who genuinely wish to take their groups to higher levels,
  • Those who are presently in the C suite who either want to or have been “advised” to take a refresher course,
  • Those younger men and women who aspire or who are on track to leadership positions, H.R. executives.

So, too, by way of distant replay, as a former director, I would want my old groups to be able to keep score along lines outlined in his last chapter on how leadership measures with respect to John’s criteria/metrics.

Robert Klein, Butzel Long Tighe Patton, PLLC

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