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Leadership as a Lifestyle

by John L. Hawkins
Executive Essence Publishing, 216 pages, $13.60
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With people leading increasingly busy lives it seems essential to delineate between work and home life. We’ve all heard the expression about someone “bringing their work home with them,” and the dangers associated with doing this. Interestingly, Leadership as a Lifestyle takes a novel outlook, and cautions against compartmentalizing the different aspects of our lives. Hawkins believes that being a good leader is not a mode of thinking, but a practice that must be integrated into all aspects of our existence. Anyone in a leadership position who is not content with quick-fix solutions and seeks long-term loyalty and commitment will gain new perspectives this book.

Hawkins’ leadership principles are more based on how we interact with others as opposed to our functions in larger systems like companies or universities. According to him, “The commitments you make in your various spheres of influence are not to projects or institutions, but to people.” Instead of taking a directive approach, the book urges people to ask themselves questions to determine if they can improve their leadership qualities.

Although it seems more manageable to break up our lives into boxes or compartments, Hawkins emphasizes that this practice is misguided. “Life is all about people, and people just do not fit into boxes very well,” he writes. Three common approaches to compartmentalization are:

  • Public and Private
  • Career and Family
  • Secular and Spiritual

Leadership as a Lifestyle examines various managerial systems and dissects the pros and cons of each. The book is at its best when it uses real life examples to stress that compartmentalizing produces more chaos than life management. Hawkins’ insights into how altering your lifestyle can produce seismic shifts in your leadership abilities are practical and encouraging. Any manager interested in empowering themselves, empowering others, and ultimately influencing the organization they work for will benefit from this book.

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