Tough Truths

Tough Truths is a mini-sized book by Deirdre Maloney which gives you ten quick tips on ways to improve your leadership abilities. It's not meant to be a college tome to wade through. Rather, it is simple, easy, and can be zipped through in under an hour. What does it have to say?

Well, relationships are important. You never know which one might be helpful. Send short memos, tell short stories, and let the others do the talking. Draw them out and help them to feel important. Make sure each communication you provide is excellent and pristine. You never know who will be judging. Someone is always watching - be on your best behavior at all times. Protect your energy - it's precious. Don't hog the glory. Praise your team. Pursue your goals relentlessly.

Much of this might seem common sense, but clearly people forget these rules every day. It's good to be reminded of them and how critical they are.

While I agree with much of what is said here, I'm a little iffy on some of the dire statements she makes as the "tough truths". I realize books need marketing to sell, and maybe "simple lessons of leadership" didn't sound as exciting. If we hear that these are "tough but important" ideas, maybe we take them more seriously. Still ...

Great leaders aren't liked by giant swaths of their companies? It sounds like the author is trying to justify the issues she had while scaling the corporate mountain, but I know *many* great leaders who were adored. Sure there's always going to be one or two people who just don't see eye to eye, but it's a giant leap to go from "some" to "nearly everyone" which is what the book makes it seem. My view is if a leader is annoying giant swaths of their group, something isn't right. It absolutely is possible to lead and to build strong, positive relationships at the same time. It all depends what one's priorities are.

I agree with the ideas of promoting a positive image, but I'm not sure I go along with "supreme confidence". I think being human is important as well. In my experience a person who seems stainless-steel-confident is often not sharing the whole story.

I'm also less-than-thrilled when an author repeatedly exhorts readers to pick up her other books. I'm reading this one here. If I like it enough I can easily use Amazon to find what else the author has written. I don't like to be pushed to do it while still evaluating the one in my hands.

For the price I can pick up other full length books on the topic. I'm not sure this is a great value. I would much rather have seen each section fleshed out more, with examples, details, insights, and suggestions. I'm not sure the short format works to fully tackle the topics and help the reader make progress in their own world.

When I had this sense after my first reading, I put the book aside for a few months to read it fresh. I wanted to see if I came away with a different sense on a subsequent reading. I didn't. It still struck me as a good start but not a complete product.

Rating: 3/5

I was sent a free copy of this book to review.

Buy Tough Truths from Amazon.com

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