Book Review: STAR – Leadership Behaviours for Stellar SME Growth, by Will McKee and John McKee

Susan
By Susan January 10, 2018 20:00

Book Review: STAR – Leadership Behaviours for Stellar SME Growth, by Will McKee and John McKee

On 10 January 2018, I did a Facebook live video book review from the board room of DCU Invent. I wanted to talk about a great book that has informed my thinking for the better part of a year, STAR: Leadership Behaviours for Stellar SME Growth, by Will McKee and John McKee.

Watch the book review below.

 

"STAR: Leadership Behaviours for Stellar SME Growth" Book Review by Will McKee and John McKee, Belfast.

"STAR: Leadership Behaviours for Stellar SME Growth" Book Review by Will McKee and John McKee, Linkubator, Belfast published by Oaktree Press / Roerich Prints

Posted by Susan Hayes "The Positive Economist" on Wednesday, January 10, 2018

 

STAR: Leadership Behaviours for Stellar SME Growth, Will McKee and John McKee, Oak Tree Press, 2008.

I picked up STAR because I needed to think clearly about leadership. In September 2017 I finished my MSc Executive Leadership at University of Ulster, and I spent a lot of time thinking about leadership and what makes a good leader.

If you’re interested in the topic of leadership and if you’ve listened to the conversations around that theme, you will know that it can be very nebulous. It’s not always clear what makes a good business leader – and it’s not always clear even what leadership is…

I wanted clarity and STAR gave me that in spades. The book is written by people who are at the coal face every day, and who deal with people who are at the coal face every day: John McKee is the Chief Executive of Linkubator, a consultancy that helps businesses set direction, develop leaders and improve team performance.

Linkubator is set in Belfast, and a huge advantage of the book is that it’s very local: it’s very rich in anecdotes from businesses in Ireland and Northern Ireland. That’s what gives it a lot of value. You can see yourself in the shoes of the people whose stories are analysed.

So who should read this book? If you are an SME and you want to grow to, say, 10+ staff and a couple of million in turnover, this book is for you. And if you’re not there yet, but that kind of growth is your ambition, you can’t read STAR early enough.

What did I take from the book, one year on? The message of the book that I keep coming back to, because it’s eminently practical and applicable, is the leadership diagnostic: what kind of behaviours do you need to cultivate to be a certain type of leader? The book gives an extremely useful breakdown of leadership styles, when they are needed, and what behaviours they relate to.

A fascinating insight that I discovered as I kept returning to the book is that different times of day, different times of the week, different phases of my company’s growth require me to be a different kind of leader each time. For example, I’ve always been a keen, busy networker. But the way I network has changed and has undergone several iterations as my company grew. I don’t network now in the same way that I did when I first started out. (Read: The 5 Secrets Of Effective Networking That Built My Success)

Another important teaching from the book is that the behaviours that make up leadership are many… around a hundred, to be more precise. How can I ever dream of cultivating them all optimally? I can’t. I have to uncover leadership capabilities in my team, I have to make sure our whole organisation represents the different facets of leadership, that we are complementary and that, together, we exhibit all or most of the leadership behaviours our company needs.

STAR: Leadership Behaviours for Stellar SME Growth has been a tremendous source of learning and I expect to be going back to it time and time again as our company grows.

Watch the video on my Facebook page.

Interested in productivity, business growth, innovation? Watch more book reviews here.

Positive Economist

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Susan
By Susan January 10, 2018 20:00