Leadership from Within
Peter Urs Bender
Stoddart Publishing, 1997
Reviewed by Kristen Cowan
Peter Urs Bender has followed up his very successful Secrets of Power Presentations with a new book, Leadership from Within. Leadership from Within attempts to outline skills and techniques for leadership and success based on a holistic approach. Prosperity is defined not only materially, but spiritually and emotionally. this is quite an undertaking, but Bender manages to draw together themes of self-knowledge, self-esteem, gender and cultural conditioning, communication skills and inner vision to draw a portrait of the truly balanced individual, able to achieve material and spiritual happiness.
On the principle we learn by doing, and that only conscientious application of new principles can help us break the habits of a lifetime, Bender follows each section of Leadership from Within with a series of exercises designed to develop skills in real life settings. The structure of the book puts into practice one of its main contentions: Attitude + Behaviour = Results.
One of the keys to leadership from within is vision. Together with passion, the driving force which propels us forward, vision is an attribute shared by those who succeed. Bender outlines steps to developing ones vision:
Being with the end in mind
Get clear on the results you want to see
make it a shared process
Consider what actions will make it real
Open your mind
Take the time to learn
Associate with the right people (Leadership from Within, pp. 95-98)
Along with outlining the qualities necessary to achieve the kind of success which satisfies us fully, Peter Urs Bender also looks into some of the barriers which block us from achieving, or even fully knowing, our goals. By looking at different personality types and including an easy to complete personality evaluation, Leadership from Within encourages the reader to take into action her or his own weaknesses and strengths. By being honest about our fears, we can challenge ourselves to excel, pushing the limits of comfort and stretching our abilities into new areas. According to the author, fear is one of the most powerful stumbling blocks on the path to achievement.
"Fear is a negative vision of the future. It locks on to your anxious feelings and triggers memories of past fears. Fear of death. Fear of failure. Fear of loss. These block positive visions and feelings from your awareness." (Leadership from Within, p. 145)
All in all, Peter Urs Bender has taken a practical, hands-on approach to an ethereal topic -- ho to find fulfillment materially, emotionally and spiritually. The straightforward style and witty examples fans of Secrets of Power Presentations will remember is there, together with a warm and human approach to business success that makes Leadership from Within an enjoyable and enlightening read.