Credible: The Power of Expert Leaders

PublicAffairs: Perseus. Jul. 2023. 272p. ISBN 9781541702509. $30. BUS
In this book, Goodall, a professor of leadership at London’s Bayes Business School, questions the nature of management. Based upon 15 years of research on the managers of the most successful businesses and other organizations, the author has concluded that these workforces are predominantly comprised of “expert leaders,” which is what she calls the people who have deep industry expertise along with the requisite management and leadership skills. The success of the expert leader might strike readers as unsurprising, and the author herself calls it common sense. Yet management orthodoxy in the United States and the UK, dating as far back as the 1980s, promotes a culture on generalized management practices, Goodall writes. She argues that expert leaders, on the other hand, understand the specifics of their industries and roles and can thus apply their skills and leadership practices appropriately and effectively. This book presents many enlightening instances of the successes of companies with expert leaders and the failures of companies with generalist managers who had little or no knowledge of, nor experience with, their company’s core business.
VERDICT A convincing argument that a company’s success requires leaders to have specific industry expertise.
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