Book Review: Why Should Anyone be Led by You by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones

Updated February 27, 2021

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Book Review: Why Should Anyone be Led by You by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones essay

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I have read the book “Why Should anyone be led by you? What it takes to be an Authentic Leader: with a new preface by the authors” which is written by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones in 2015. This book provides information about the fundamental concept of leadership. As per the book, leadership depends on situations, not on the context. Additionally, the book reveals why followers are lead by the leader, and how situations affect it. Moreover, the book also gives clarity on the concept of authenticity. According to the book, authentic leaders are consistently skillful and they respond effectively to the changing contexts. Furthermore, this book motivates all the followers that believe in themselves and build their own leadership skills. I will review this book in the upcoming paragraphs.

The writer of the book indicates when any person ignores his/her personal skills only then he/she opines that they need someone who leads them. For example, there is a survey report which is mentioned in the book about the financial crisis of 2008 which is the biggest crisis of capitalism since 1929. According to this survey report, when the CEOs of some companies were asked how the companies can get rid of such a situation in the financial crisis? The answer was the same that their companies require more leaders. So, as per the book, people always want someone who directs them in all kinds of situations. The book highlight that every person has the capacity to deal with the problems then why they are waiting for someone to come to solve their problems. The writer persists all the individuals to be a yourself-more-with skill.

Additionally, the book also discusses Authentic leadership. In the book, Authentic leadership is called a modern orthodoxy. According to the book, authenticity plays a crucial role in the leadership as without having it the leader becomes unable to deal with the many problems related to the real world. As per the book, having a quest for authenticity makes the person successful. According to the book, the desire of authenticity all around us is popular and the writer of the supports this fact by explaining that inexorable rise of reality tv ( a truly Orwellian phrase as participants are manipulated for an anonymous and isolated audience of voyeurs) is one manifestation. Moreover, the writers also explained that because of the extension of personal freedom we have an excess of individualism in this modern era which is characterized the world not by the authentic expression of self but as simply selfish.

Furthermore, the book also provides suggestions to become a more effective leader and more effective as a developer of leaders. The book explained the three factors which are situational, Non-hierarchical, and relational. At first, leadership was situational; as what is required of the leader will always be influenced by the situation. There is an example which is mentioned in the book, Winston Churchill, who was an inspirational wartime leader, but his bulldog style was ill-suited to the reconstruction agenda of postwar Britain. So, in this way, there are many leaders in the history who found their time and place, but whose qualities lost their appeal when things moved on. The book described that situational sensing is necessary to become an effective leader.

The second factor is Non-hierarchical which represents the fact that the qualities that take you to the top of the large -scale and highly political organizations are not obviously the ones associated with the leadership. As per the book, Hierarchy alone is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for the exercise of the leadership. Being has a particular position in the organization may confer some hierarchical authority, but it certainly does not make you a leader. So, as per the book opportunity should be given to more and more people in the organization to exercise the leadership skills that provide a better leader to the organization.

The third factor as per the book is relational. According to this factor as per the book, no person can become a leader without having a follower. Leadership is a relationship that is built by both parties; leaders and followers. Additionally, as per the book, to become a leader it is important that you must be yourself. The book clarifies the thing that followers want to be led by a person, not by a role holder or a position filler or a bureaucrat. So, to inspire people to follow you it is essential to show them that who you are, what you stand for, and what you can and cannot do.

Furthermore, the book illustrates that effective leaders pursue a clear and simple strategy. For example, efficient leaders try things out and get feedback. So, listening to learn is an essential feature in the leadership. In the book, the writer explained each fact with examples that clarify things to the readers. Moreover, in the book, it is clearly described that an authentic leader is prepared to go beyond their comfort zones. Effective leaders seem to be very “grounded” individuals as per the book. They have a very clear sense of who they are and where they come from. They are very comfortable with their origins.

Additionally, in the book, it is explained that “why leadership means risks?” As per the book, great leaders are driven by an unbending sense of purpose and this is what impels them to take personal risks. In the book, the writer mentioned the risk of the leader with an example. The writer uses the example of a boat for a leader which is not to get the leader around the world, in fact, it is the leader to get the boat around the world. The level of Communication and vision should be clear to the leader and to his/her followers.

An effective and clear vision delivers an attractive picture of the future and draws people in to support its achievement. Leaders can generate a sense of excitement through their personal values and vision. An effective vision has helped the leader staying in power. It is memorable over time. the writer makes these points clear to the readers with an example. for example, Microsoft’s vision like a computer on every desk in every home. Nextly, according to the book, it does not matter how vivid and emotionally excited the vision, all the leaders know report that actually communicating it takes longer than they expected. So, the level of success depends upon persistence, clear communication about the clear mission.

Additionally, the book also mentioned about the Authentic Followership. As per the book, followers are the other side of the leadership. Without followers, there is no relationship and no leadership. If the leadership is a dynamic relationship, and there is an appropriate balance of closeness and distance keeps changing to fit new circumstances. It is logical that followers, too, live in the same dynamic relationship, but they see things from a different perspective.

If the leader gets the balance right, followers feel comfortable. They are glad to be close to their leader; they feel that their individuality is recognized and they are part of the team. To know that what followers expect from a leader, it is crucial for a leader to put himself/herself in the position of the followers then understand their emotions from their point of view. So, for effective leadership, it is essential that the leader should have the capacity for emotional intelligence.

The book also provides information about the importance of evaluation of the leadership potential of each individual. This will help the persons to evaluate the weakness and strengths of each individual. As per the book, great leaders are never finished. Effective leadership development is fueled by honesty, authentic conservations with others.

Overall, according to the book, leadership is all about authenticity and skill. It is quite helpful to know about the characteristics of effective leadership and how we can evaluate the performance of a leader. The whole structure of the book is clear and logical because of the author of the book gives a fundamental objective that is developed further and a reasonable conclusion with some suggestions. The information of the book is relevant because the content is linked to the general questions in this book.

The purpose of the book makes the reader familiar with the concept of authenticity and the nature of the leadership, and why the followers are lead by a leader. The book explained the facts that how the followers affect the leader’s behavior and what qualities are required to increase the number of followers. As per the book, leadership qualities of the leader depends on the changes, and how the leader view, develop and practice the art of leadership. The purpose of the book is stated as the writer directly and clearly mentioned all the factors related to leadership skills and authenticity. Moreover, the writers use numerous examples and case studies to support their ideas and make things clear to the readers.

The intended audience of the book is all the persons who opine that they need someone to lead. The writers encouraged all people to believe themselves and take the risk to build their leadership skills. The book inspires all people to achieve extraordinary results by recognizing their hidden talent of leadership qualities. “being Yourself, in the context, with skills” to be a successful, authentic leader and show the world what exactly you can do. The content of the book influence by the examples of survey reports, interviews, and other various examples that enhance the level of clarity and make the readers familiar with each point. The book gives a clear picture of the nature of leadership. The book is a secondary source as it used various survey reports, case studies, and interviews which are done by some other persons.

The authors of the book Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones are highly qualified personalities. The first author is Emeritus Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School, where he teaches in the world-renowned Senior Executive Programme. The second author Gareth Jones is a fellow of the Centre for Management Development at London Business School and a visiting professor at Spain’s IE Business School in Madrid.

Goffee and Jones consult to the boards of several global companies. The sponsoring agency of this book is Harvard Business Review Press. The work of the book is cited in various other writings. For example, another book “ Management is the Art of Doing and getting done” which is written by Heike Bruch, and Sumantra Ghoshal in 2004. Secondly, it is also cited in “Cultural Intelligence, “Harvard Business Review” which is written by P. Christopher, Earley and Elaine Mosakowski in October 2004. There are many other examples of articles in which the work of the book is cited.

There are various references used in this book so, we can easily verify the information given in this book. The information provided in the book is fully trustworthy as points are clarified by the authors by giving references to the chapter. There is no statistical data is provided in this book, however, the writers do provide information about some interviews and information is also given regarding the time like when they are conducted.

Each fact is clarified with the examples. The information is objective as the main motive of the authors is to make the readers familiar with the concept of Authenticity and skills of leadership. The objective of the book is to inspire the readers to become their own leaders; do not wait for anyone to lead them. The objective is appropriate as it provides the material about the effective nature of leadership. There is no bias is used in this book as the objective of the book is very clear. As the writer touches each field related to the concept of the book.

The book mostly provides factual information and support those facts with examples. It is completely appropriate as reading something which exists in reality, and examples of reality make it more appropriate. The evidence provided in the book is mostly collected from the collection of Harvard Business Review Press which is famous for its business-related articles and literature. So, pieces of evidence are properly adequate. The information is not current as it is written in 2015 and based on support evidence which is also older than its publication date.

According to me, there is a need to provide current information. No doubt, we can learn by history and can gain experience by the happenings of the past. However, situations changed with time, so, it could make the book even more impressive if it belongs to the current period of time. for example, if the explanation given in the book contains information about the current happenings in the world then it would become more remarkable. Whatever information is given in the book is not current as it is based on the previous experience of survey interview reports.

The book covers the topic completely except giving the current information. No important aspect related to the topic is omitted. The writers of the book explained each factor related to the concept in a deep manner. In my opinion, this book gives a clear picture of the nature of leadership and the authenticity of leaders. This book contributes to the field of leadership. As per the book, “Authenticity” is often acknowledged as a crucial leadership trait, and the concept is provided in a complete manner in this book. As per the book, effective leaders are authentic: they deploy individual strength to engage the followers’ hearts, minds, and souls.

In this lively and practical book, Goffee and Jones draw from extensive research to reveal how to deploy your unique leadership assets while managing the inherent tensions at the heart of successful leadership. This book also gives information when to show emotions when to withhold it, how to get close to followers while maintaining an appropriate role distance. The book also explores how leaders can stay attuned to the needs and expectations of their followers. So, the contribution is significant as it covers the whole concept as per its name, “ Why should anyone be led by you? What it takes to be an authentic leader: with a new preface by the authors.”

The thing which I found most interesting in this book is believing ourselves and taking personal risks. I found it interesting because the way of presenting the fact that believing in ourselves means making ourselves. The persons who always look for someone to leading cannot learn anything. We learn from our mistakes if we cannot do anything by taking responsibility then we do not learn anything in our lives. So, it is necessary to give importance to yourself and to gain the skills for effectiveness in leadership it is essential to take the risk. Moreover, I also find the topic of Authentic leadership motivating which means to evolve and transform in experiences, not to make value-based choices and to express what we feel and think in every situation. So, authentic leadership plays a crucial role in developing the skills of effective leadership as we can change ourselves according to a situation which is important to survive in business as well as in society.

I will use the skill of believing in myself at my workplace like from now. I will accept responsibility if it is given to me without having a fear of failure. I will definitely learn a lot because I believe that a person who never commit a mistake never learns anything. So, I will start believing in myself and work on the skills of leadership. Nextly, to motivate myself I will also apply the concept of authentic leadership in my life to change my behavior as per changes in the situation. For example, if I face failure in any tasks in my life, I will not lose my confidence, I will focus to find the reasons for failure and work on that to improve my efficiency and gain knowledge like what kind of factors affect the success level of the task. Putting ourselves into new projects and experiments enhances our qualities and skills related to leadership and helps us to grow and develop in the future too.

I will use the knowledge gained from the book in my professional life also. For instance, to start any new business I will take a risk and by believing in myself I will apply the skills that I learned from the book like the changing according to the situation and managing the situation by influencing the employees. As mentioned in the book that the strength of the leader belongs to its followers and to maintain and keep the followers it is essential to have a regular and close relationship with the followers and effective communication plays important role in it. Giving clarity to all the followers also helps to maintain a close relationship with the followers. So, in my professional life, I will keep this knowledge in my mind before doing any task.

I will recommend this book to others due to its interesting topic which is mentioned in a very clear way like with examples, and survey reports. Additionally, it is also important to gain success in life and to believe in ourselves.


  1. Goffee, R., & Jones, G. (2015). Why should anyone be led by you? : what it takes to be an authentic leader : with a new preface by the authors. Harvard Business Review Press.
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Book Review: Why Should Anyone be Led by You by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones. (2021, Feb 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/book-review-why-should-anyone-be-led-by-you-by-rob-goffee-and-gareth-jones/


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