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Review of a on Leadership - Book Report/Review Example

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Book Review of a Book on Leadership: Shirley Peddy’s The Art of Mentoring: Lead, follow and get out of the way. The book entitled The Art of Mentoring: Lead, follow and get out of the way (Peddy, 2001) presents and ambitious and no-nonsense approach to the art of mentoring…
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Book Review of a Book on Leadership
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Download file to see previous pages It is an intentionally graphic description, showing how the job of a mentor is to make a significant difference in the life of just one person at a time. It emphasizes the power of the mentor, and as the subtitle “and get out of the way” implies, there is little or no sympathy for any counter-arguments or disagreements with the author’s rather pushy approach. The origins of the word mentor are explained, namely with reference to the Ancient Greek advisor of Odysseus (p. 24) What is interesting about the approach of the author is that she emphasizes the “soft” skills of understanding and judgement for people who seek career advancement, rather than the more usual emphasis on knowledge and technical skills. In theory a more experienced person has more wisdom, which comes from many years of working in an organization with a lot of different people. This intangible kind of benefit is what a mentor is most able to pass on to the chosen mentee. The book is easy to read and full of examples modelled on real life people whom the author has encountered in her long career. Some of the depictions of people are not very flattering, and it is just as well that both the first person narrator “Rachel” and the various characters in the book are fictitious. An example of this is the character Stuart, who is summed up in a little episode labelled “The Challenge of Cynicism” (pp. 76-79). ...
86) In the following section Rachel states that his woman reminds her of a school head-teacher, whom she also mentions by name, and comments that the woman’s office is elegantly decorated. There are implied judgements about Lily Sheldon’s social class and the way that “the Human Resources group had obviously policed themselves into very attractive surroundings” (p. 87). This kind of remark is more fitting for a romantic novel than a serious study of leadership, and it has the effect of turning the reader against the author at times. It seems that the lessons Shirley Peddy wants to impart are more to do with power games at work than supportive and constructive mentoring. The character Rachel appears in the book to be obsessively concerned with her own self-importance, and an implied ability to manipulate the whole organization according to her own agenda. Phrases like “Part One of my grand Plan was in place” (p. 87) reveal this tendency. Rachel also displays a patronizing attitude to subordinates, as for example when she allows Katy to weep for a time in her presence, in order to drive particular message home in the section entitled somewhat crassly “Katy Gets the Message” (p. 129) The book reflects a very hierarchical view of oganizations, and this means it will be useful for people who work in such a place, but in flatter management structures, with a more open style, much of it seems unnecessarily rigid. Mutual mentoring does not occur in this book, for this very reason. An unusual feature of this book is its choice to present the material in a fictional narrative form, much like a serialized story in a magazine or a novel. This has the advantage that the book is easy to follow, and contains memorable characters. Newcomers ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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