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Max De Pree has clearly come up with one of the most inspirational books of our time. Written through the use of musical metophr Leadership Jazz gives readers greater insights into the functions of management as they apply in different settings and environments. De Pree explains how a jazz leader, just like business executive, is responsible for efficient allocation of resources, assignment of duties to realize desired outcomes, which is good music for the listeners. According to the author, a jazz band leader must instill faith and close cooperation among the band members for maximum efficiency of operations so as to produce good music. In this manner, one is able to grasp the universal application of principles of management. That is, management concepts can be applied in any field, even in a jazz band.
One of the concepts that I get from reading De Pree’s book, is that a good leader is one that delegates duties to the subordinates. Delegation shows that a leader has some level of confidence in his subordinates or that they have some knowledge in certain areas that the leader does not have. As the author notes, the world is changing at an alarming rate, and so is technology, innovation, which are vital in achieving a competitive edge in the global marketplace. One of the advantages of delegation is that it can help a company reach high levels of innovation by recognizing talents and giving subordinates support to realize their full potential. Therefore, it is important to learn, and grow by recognizing that a leader does not have a monopoly of ideas. In addition, a great leader is also one who is also willing to follow others. This is because leaders who are willing to look through the eyes of their employees will learn new perspectives concerning many aspects of business operations. Therefore, an effective leader is one who delegates, and values theinput of their followers and is open to their opinions and problems.
Another important aspect that is essential to success in operation of a business is the character of the leader. De Pree seems to read from the same script as the management guru, Peter Drucker. Drucker emphasized character traits of integrity, honesty, team work and recognition of talents in the achievement of set objectives. A disjointed team cannot be in a position to move ahead. There is so much sense in what De Pree says, because, I cannot imagine leading a disjointed team. In addition, I cannot imagine being a leader who cares less for the subordinates. In this regard, I accept the idea of honesty, respect and teamwork as explained by the author as pillars of a successful organization. As De Pree expounds I feel servant-leadership type of management, is crucial and I will definitely apply it in my leadership roles. It is true that one cannot achieve the perfection that the author tries to explain, but it is also good to understand that the mark he sets are ideal to try to achieve the best results possible.
Another concept that De Pree explains, and which I feel is important for any manager or leader, is that a good leader must accept to be corrected. We must realize that an effective leader must have specific goals that must be realized. A person who sets goals will go a great length in fulfilling them. However, there are many challenges in achieving set targets or realizing a company’s vision. As explained above, no one is perfect and it is, therefore, important that a leader accepts criticism and seeks advice even from the lowest of employees. I agree with the author as this shows one is a mature leader. This is because, consulting employees makes them feel appreciated. It also makes them feel that they are important components in realizing a company’s goals. This level of accceptance and realization boosts the morale and motivation of the workers, ensuring more production. However, in dealing with employees, it is important for one to understand that leaders can be betrayed by their fellow workers. A good leader will face betrayal in the execution of his or her duties. Betrayal can be very frustrating, especially where one has been working well with the betrayer. It affects everything that the leader has tried so hard to build. Leaders commit so much of their time and effort in moving an organization ahead, and betrayal can have a detrimental effect on the leader’s personality. In this scenario, it is important to understand that betrayal is part of the game and a good leader will take it positively and continue to steer the company forward.
Another important issue that De Pree tackles is leadership and ethics. It might seem far fetched, but quite often, ethics and leadership do intersect as the author explains. It is possible for relationship within the work environment to raise ethical and moral scrutiny. It is impossible to have personal attachment to a person that one has to work with. In addition, it is also difficult to delegate duties and responsibilities when a girlfriend or boy friend is present. This situation definitely affects work and output as well. A good leader, must therefore, understand good moral judgment and act appropriately at all times. Indeed, it is not possible to have unethical leaders at the helm. As De Pree explains, unethical leaders can easily bring an organization to its knees.
I find this book to be very inspiring and educative. The concepts and approach as explained by the author are very essential in ensuring a good working relationship within any given company. In addition, they are crucial in ensuring success. This book is must for anyone, whether an employee or a chief executive officer.