Time to Lead: Lessons for Today’s Leaders from Bold Decisions that Changed History



Book by Jan-Benedict Steenkamp


Foreword by Maj. Gen. Cameron G. Holt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force

1 Leaders and Leadership Types

Part One Adaptive leadership – Modify according to the circumstances
2 Clovis attends a mass
3 Bismarck unshackles a nation
4 Deng seeks truth from facts
Reflections on adaptive leadership

Part Two Persuasive leadership – Change the minds of your followers
5 Themistocles erects a wooden wall
6 Campbell-Bannerman shows magnanimity
7 Roosevelt lends a hose
Reflections on persuasive leadership

Part Three Directive leadership – Define the marching orders
8 Cortés scuttles his ships
9 Thatcher closes a pit
Reflections on directive leadership

Part Four Disruptive leadership – Break with the past
10 St. Peter discards one thousand years of religious doctrine
11 Fisher launches a ship
Reflections on disruptive leadership

Part Five Authentic leadership – Set the example
12 Washington stops, twice
13 Mandela goes to a match
Reflections on authentic leadership

Part Six Servant leadership – Put followers first
14 Nightingale carries a lamp
15 King goes MIA
Reflections on servant leadership

Part Seven Charismatic leadership – Buy into the leader, then follow their vision
16 Alexander the Great says no
17 De Gaulle understands the Pieds-Noirs
Reflections on charismatic leadership

18 Where do you go from here?

Appendices: Leadership assessment tools
A Grit Scale
B Hedgefox Scale
C Steenkamp Assessment Instrument for Leadership Styles (SAILS)

About the author

About this new book on leadership

JB Steenkamp has written a new book, Time to Lead: Lessons for Today’s Leaders from Bold Decisions that Changed History, published by Fast Company Press. In this book he integrates leadership theory, marketing principles, and history to provide a fresh examination of history-making leaders by holding a magnifying glass up to a life-changing dilemma each figure faced. He reveals just how strongly a leader’s personality and decision-making process can determine a history-changing outcome with wide-ranging implications for millions of people. The ways that great men and women found solutions to the problems they confronted has a lot to do with their character traits—whether they were foxes or hedgehogs, as in the ancient parable, or, as Steenkamp further categorizes, eagles or ostriches.

His sixteen carefully curated case studies reveal powerful lessons that today’s leaders can apply in their own professional lives. Readers will recognize Roosevelt, Washington, Mandela, Thatcher, Alexander the Great, and MLK, but other leaders who may be less known, such as Themistocles, Clovis, Peter, Fisher, and Nightingale provide equally valuable insights into how individuals make decisions based upon one of seven leadership styles (adaptive, persuasive, directive, disruptive, authentic, servant, and charismatic) and four personality classifications (hedgehog, fox, eagle, or ostrich).

For seasoned and aspiring leaders, Steenkamp includes assessment tools to help determine their unique leadership style, along with guidance on how to make a particular style work when they inevitably come face-to-face with their own dilemmas. Takeaways, leadership principles, and open-ended, reflective questions will confer encouragement, enrichment, and empowerment on readers when they realize they can utilize the same tactics as these leaders did in their own lives.

Time to Lead is a book is about great men and women, their actions in leadership that have withstood the test of time, what we can learn from them—and the lessons that are relevant for us here and now.