Introduction to Leadership By Virtue
In the past I have had no experience whatsoever with martial arts so how can one digest uncommon subject such as this? What do martial arts have to do with this leadership approach? I was intrigued, essentially completely astonished by the subtly presented fundamental principles of martial arts that are (for centuries) in use all over the world, and how they practically connect us to a leadership process that is adaptable and useful in today’s intercultural environment. “ Leadership by Virtue ” is based on the human behavior that surpasses the “cultural background noise” – the “noise” we hear throughout our lives and which normally influences our values, ethics and morals, mentally and subconsciously.
“As there are no years without days, there is nothing external without something internal” (Zhuangzi) is the motto with which the author embraces all his management and other experiences. He points out that although a leader at the top is a lone rider doing things right and in the right way pays off.
Overview of the Book’s Structure
The author draws on his professional experiences as he has had several opportunities to lead people. He asked himself: Do other leaders have same fears, dilemmas, and difficulties or share the same happiness, pleasure, and delight in doing what they do? How do they feel as leaders, on what basis they make their decisions and or how reliable are their decision-making skills?
How do they sense and perceive their subordinates? To these questions the author refers as internal issues which is in contrast to the most of leadership and management books that normally deal with what to do and how to be more efficient and successful.
Berce’s different views and thinking can certainly be ascribed to his martial arts physical practice and its philosophy on life and fights. The book relates a story of a leadership growing up process of a typical western educated person.
Berce’s very particular “journey” can be also followed on his blog where excerpts and thoughts from the book are discussed
New in this book is not only the approach to researching the leadership but also the relating of the topic:
Relation of the story is taken from old Chinese books. The reader is briefly informed in advance what can be expected in the following chapter. To keep the reader alert on a wider scale at times also the future development of the situation is addressed.
Quotes at the beginning of the chapter represent the content that follows.
Content itself offers an extraordinary insight into blending of eastern and western way of thinking and practices that we needed in today’s global environment leadership process.
The book emphasises the importance of keeping a global perspective.
What I liked!
The author shares his real life experience in a narrative way so it is a good read seated comfortably next to the fireplace. Through lessons learned along interesting story the reader gets a very real but diverse viewpoint to business, organization, economy and life.
Who might benefit from the Book?
The book is aimed to the leaders from West or East / North or South, it is also meant for teachers or parents who may find the point where ‘East and West meet’. It should be read with an open heart and a peaceful mind. Those that are in the midst of an organizational or management crisis and need a beacon in those changing times could be tranquillized by the book. It will strengthen them, train and prepare for the “battles” or help to satisfactory avoid the latter and stay calm at the same time.
Leadership By Virtue can serve well also to the people that already work in multicultural environment to better understand how others act and to bring leadership to fruition.
The author’s approach is more than just a choice of pedagogy to convey knowledge and conduct training. The language of the story is straightforward and does not bow to current trends or language in the areas of leadership and entrepreneurship. It is integral to learning, thinking and reflection as a process of realization and acquisition.
Then, again, the book is not a “how to do it” manual, but a story on how to conquer the art of leadership by blending in the elements of a Non-Western approach. And this is why I feel we all need in the ever growing multicultural global environment.
Leadership By Virtue was reviewed by Janez Bešter, Ph.D.