Dave McKeown’s new book The Self-Evolved Leader is, at its essence, a roadmap to leadership excellence. Presented in four sections, this practical handbook guides leaders along the journey, covering everything from building a foundation of effective leadership to sustaining their newfound skills.
McKeown believes leaders are caught in a cycle of mediocrity—and he says it’s time to break that cycle by stepping up to lead with authenticity and purpose.
In the book’s first section, the author says leaders need to stop trying to be heroes who step in and take care of everything. He encourages them instead to equip and empower their people to manage day-to-day projects. This allows time for self-evolved leaders to focus on long-term strategies for their teams and organizations. Leaders must spend less time taking care of little details and more time developing, inspiring, and encouraging their staff.
In section two, McKeown introduces three key actions that aspiring self-evolved leaders must take:
- They must create a compelling team vision that aligns with the corporate vision. This provides alignment and purpose for the team.
- They must develop an implementation plan that brings the team vision to life. This plan must be clear to everyone and must come with a design—a pulse—to proactively track the team’s progress. This pulse provides focus so that the team can stay on track as it advances toward the goal.
- They must develop a discipline for focusing on their own tasks while empowering team members to perform at their highest levels.
Learning how to master leadership discipline is the focus of section three. McKeown offers specific guidelines that show leaders how to facilitate the workflow of their team while still concentrating on their own goals and tasks. He recognizes that leaders sometimes take on tasks they should delegate to direct reports because it is faster to do the task themselves. But self-evolved leaders understand that time invested in delegating and teaching is worth it. It not only adds to the skill set of the direct report, it also allows the leader to remain focused on leadership strengths they bring to the overall team effort.
Section four offers leaders advice for sustaining their new skills and continuing to make improvements in their leadership practices. Ultimately, McKeown advises leaders to take control of the things they can control—and not fall victim to the things they can’t.
The Self-Evolved Leader is a guidebook for changing the way you lead. It is rooted in decades of experience and filled with wisdom and simple techniques that will help any leader become a self-evolved leader.