Book Review: ‘Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today’

Shivangi Singh

Have you ever wondered why some leaders learn while others do not? Why do some professionals march far ahead while others lag behind? Why are some colleagues singled out and recognised for their work while others gape in silence?

Well, all such questions and more, which often cloud the mind of every professional, have been dealt with in the book – ‘Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today: Insights from Corporate India’ (Times Business Series) by Meena Surie Wilson and the Center for Creative Leadership.

The book has been hailed by world-renowned leaders and is being considered as a remarkable contribution to the literature of leadership. “An extraordinary resource, Meena Wilson explores the experiences and lessons of leaders in India. This exciting new book is a must-read for all those managing and leading in India.” – Marshall Goldsmith (Author of the New York Times bestsellers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There).

Offering thoroughly-researched pointers on how Indian managers can become high-performing business leaders, the book draws on extracting lessons from on-the-job experiences and in-depth interviews of more than 100 rising managers in India.

The high point of this work is that it does not teach but enables you to learn. You can easily identify with the situations faced by professionals like Shakander Singh, Salman Ali, Mr Kheriya or Sridhar mentioned in the book. The experiences as well as the eleven leadership lessons illustrated by stories and linked to self-assessment exercises and experiential activities, are vital for developing your leadership ability. And added to this, inspiring stories and wise quotations by winners are highly motivating.

“I will begin with the importance of learning from experience. It is less important, I believe, where you start. It is more important how and what you learn. If the quality of the learning is high, the development gradient is steep; and given time, you can find yourself in a previously unattainable place.” NR Narayana Murthy, Chief Mentor, Chairman, Infosys Technologies

A roadmap has been specifically created to help early and mid-career managers to steer their careers towards the echelons of executive leadership while senior executives would find tips on a systematic and proactive approach to cultivating today the leadership talent that their organizations will need tomorrow. The book not only helps in inculcating leadership qualities, it can also be indispensable during managerial crisis.

In the words of author Meena Surie Wilson, “The goal of this book is to clearly illustrate how leadership can be learned. A secondary goal is to inspire readers to consciously use their experiences as opportunities to become more effective leaders. It contends that the ‘ability and willingness to learn’ is so essential to successful leadership today that estimating one’s qualities as a learner--rather than as a leader--is far more important for keeping oneself in good stead as a leader.”

The insightful work underscores the fact that the key essentials for Indian business leaders are the same as the key essentials for business leaders from every part of the globe – self-awareness, learning agility, and the capacity to communicate with and influence others. And these essentials cannot be forced on any professional, they have to be understood, learnt and developed consciously.

‘Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today’ is more of fun rather than a heavy reading exercise because it tells you about yourself and why you can emerge as a leader. You come across your hidden abilities and failings which need to be addressed at once for success. It is a must-read for young managers and any aspirant who dreams big and knows that his place is on the top of the world.

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