A debut business leadership book emphasizes balance.
An overabundance of leadership books may evoke a jaundiced reaction from business executives to anything new, but Heflich's effort is not a throwaway. His theme revolves around the notion that balance, in the broadest sense of the word, makes for effective leadership. The author recognizes the nuances of the word, suggesting: "Balance does not imply compromise or a middle-of-the-road approach.…Do you see the importance of balance and the trade-off of cost with benefit involved in each decision? The trade-off is inescapable, and the balance that you choose is defining!" With that premise in mind, the volume addresses balance in somewhat lengthy chapters that are, at least, nicely subdivided into manageable chunks of information. Each chapter concerns balance as it applies to leadership attributes, such as directing others, communicating, facing management challenges, and making decisions. Heflich, whose background is in manufacturing, offers astute observations that apply generally across all forms of business, and they are both well-founded and experience-based. The author draws on other sources, employs good examples, and writes with a keen sense of perspective. The advice he doles out to the individual leader is particularly on-target. The chapter "Balance in Leading Yourself," while encompassing such traditional components as mission, vision, and values, speaks directly to an executive's personal qualities. For example, Heflich writes eloquently about emotional intelligence, which he says "is about accepting responsibility for our behaviors." His view of wisdom is also meaningful. While "smart" people may consider the facts, writes the author, "wise" ones size up "a situation by considering the facts on hand, but in addition, they consider their values and goals." Other intriguing sections in this particularly engrossing chapter include "Risking Your Job to Save It," "Adequacy and Inadequacy," and "Work-Life Balance." Throughout the well-conceived book, Heflich exudes a quiet competence and calmness, writing from the viewpoint of someone who has critically scrutinized the behaviors of himself and other executives. "The balance you strike," concludes the author, "defines you as a leader and a person."
An articulate, passionate, and illuminating work that makes a sound contribution to leadership literature.