Book Review: How To Grow Leaders

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Whenever someone asks me about a great leadership book, I recommend this one…with a slight hesitation.  The author, John Adair, is quite proud of himself.  So, if you can get past how often he tells you he’s awesome…you’ll love it!  It’s full of great information.  I’ve already written three posts (linked at the end) about the book and I could easily write three more.

The rundown:  You have to get to the middle of How to Grow Leaders before the author talks about the actual growing of leaders:

  • Select good seed:  Choose natural leaders.
  • Prepare the soil: Does our team culture promote leadership growth?
  • Enrich the earth by fertilizing and watering: Coaches have to invest in leadership training to yield good leaders.
  • Rotate the crops:  Give your leaders multiple opportunities to lead and see where they thrive.
  • Let the fields lie fallow:  Just like real crops, leaders need time to rest so that they can continue to be fruitful.
  • Observe where plants thrive:  If we’ve got a few strong leaders, each of them will probably have a different area of strength…we can increase their success by just being more aware.
  • Prune the dead wood:  What worked with one leader may not work with another.  Pruning our leaders means getting rid of things that aren’t working.
  • Let the taproots go deep:  Dandelions have deep roots…which is why they keep coming back year after year.  We want our leaders to be consistent and reliable like those dandelions.


Recommended for:  Any coach who’s interested in leadership and leadership training.  There’s enough information here for three or four books.  I highly recommend it…with the caveat I mentioned before.  He’s got lots of lists, which make for easy reading.  He’s also got more in depth material with historical perspectives on leadership.

Not recommended for:  Coaches without a significant amount of time to digest the information.  This book is a meal, not an appetizer, so it requires time.

If you’re interested in reading more of what I’ve got to say about John Adair’s book, read: 7 Qualities Every Leader Must Have, The 3 Levels Of Leadership, and Create Effective Leaders Using This 5 Step Process.

If you love to read books, keep checking back as I talk about three books that are great for coaches, but not made for coaches:  The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, How to Grow Leaders by John Adair, and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.