Every once in a while, we come across a book that has a simple, powerful message that stands the test of time. I first read, Leadership is an Art shortly after it came out in the late 1980s. Max DePree served as CEO for Herman Miller, Inc., the office furniture company founded by his Dad.
Max DePree felt strongly that our beliefs shape practice and behavior. He wisely noticed the uncanny relationship, and perhaps causal relationship of beliefs affect on corporate culture, character, relationships and business systems, success, and results.
I have probably read and reread this book a few times since 1989. I did so again last week. “You can read this book quickly, but I hope you cannot finish this book quickly,’ Mr. DePree penned. And, I would say that I am grateful to him for such wisdom. Mr. DePree encourages the reader and leader to put into practice the ideas set forth. He gives concrete examples of leadership as an art throughout the book.
Over the years, his wisdom has served as an inspiration to me as I made leadership and business decisions. Mr. DePree is a master of asking the right questions. I have incorporated many of his thoughts on performance reviews of leaders with only slight modification to fit the appropriate situation.
The thoughtful leader cannot help but ponder how his/her own leadership might be improved by reading or rereading Leadership is an Art. Starting a new year is a great time to revisit one’s leadership style – what works and how to be a better person and leader.