Dean Williams is a writer and scholar with significant international experience (he served for five years as Chief Advisor to the president of Madagascar). This experience is evident in the broadly applicable examples he pulls from world history to illustrate his points in Real Leadership: Helping People and Organizations Face Their Toughest Challenges. We have included two chapters as “Must Reads” because the book is an accessible and engaging source of ideas for leaders during difficult times.
“Diagnostic Work: Determining the Principal Challenge” discusses why leaders should take a bird’s eye view of the terrain before leading their team into a challenge. Using a variety of actual leaders as research, Williams builds a framework for diagnosing the challenge, assessing the environmental factors and determining what actions to take. Interestingly, Williams notes that one of the steps in diagnosis is actually putting aside the intuition inherit in most leaders and listening to others. Gathering this information reveals aspects of reality team members are avoiding and shows how the group can collectively tackle the challenge.