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Book Review: Leadership Requires Spirit

Leading with Soul: An Uncommon Journey of Spirit
By Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995. Suggested retail price: $18.50.

By Dr. Cynthia A. Ingols

Leading with Soul"Marketing products which incorporate principles of Universal Design is the most important and fulfilling work of my career," declares a marketing executive in a major US manufacturing company. Three years ago, he and his colleagues received a call from the director of the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University. They learned from the director that their products are easy to use for people whose abilities are limited by age, accident, or illness.

Since then, executives and managers in this manufacturing company have been designing products for people of all abilities. This focus on Universal Design has transformed their everyday objectives into ways to enable people of all abilities to maximize their independence. These manufacturing executives and managers are living examples of Bolman and Deal's visionary leaders, who have passion and purpose in their work.

In contrast, in their book Leading with Soul, the authors chronicle the journey of a despondent manager in search of meaning in his work. A friend connects the manager to a wise old business leader who supports the manager's rediscovery of his passion, and in so doing, helps ignite the spirit in the manager's organization.

Leading with Soul is an easy, quick read. In places it is corny. But the simplicity in the delivery of the message belies its importance. I recommend this book to managers of design. Designers and design managers, in my experience, are well aware that passion is required to carry projects forward. Bolman and Deal suggest that leadership begins with conviction, love, significance, and purpose, rather than analytical techniques and bottom-line measures. Any design manager who feels lost in the quagmire of corporate politics should pick up this book and read it. At the least, I suspect you'll feel reassured, and possibly you'll feel inspired, as I was.

Cynthia Ingols consults with corporate design managers and design consultancies to develop organizational structures and processes which nurture innovation.

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This document was last updated July 10, 1996.

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