By Phil Klutts
May 9, 2023

Rethinking leadership assumptions

Learn to experiment and grow as a leader with the book 'Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader' by Herminia Ibarra.

Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader

By Herminia Ibarra

In “Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader,” Herminia Ibarra challenges readers to rethink their assumptions about being a leader. Rather than assuming that leadership is a set of innate traits or skills, Ibarra argues that growth as a leader can be developed over time through practice and experimentation.

Ibarra is a seasoned leader and professor who uses both practical experience and research-backed ideas to convey her ideas in this book.

Imposter Syndrome and thoughts of doubt can hamper leaders or be entirely devastating for some aspiring leaders. “Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader” takes these fears head-on to help you grow and succeed in life and business.

Self-reflection and introspection

Ibarra begins by exploring the limitations of traditional models of leadership development, which tend to emphasize the importance of self-reflection and introspection.

While self-reflection can be valuable, Ibarra argues that it can also be limiting, as it encourages leaders to focus on their existing strengths and weaknesses rather than seeking out new opportunities to learn and grow.

Instead, Ibarra advocates for a more proactive approach to leadership development, which involves actively experimenting with new behaviors and learning from experience. She suggests leaders should seek out challenging assignments and take on roles that stretch their skills and capabilities rather than simply sticking to their comfort zones.

Ibarra writes: “Instead of trying to learn who you are and what you’re good at, you need to be experimenting to figure out what you could become and where your true strengths lie.” (p. 10)

Essential habits

Throughout the book, Ibarra offers practical advice on developing the skills and habits essential for effective leadership, including tips on building networks, managing teams, and communicating effectively.

She also draws on the experiences of a diverse range of leaders, from corporate executives to social entrepreneurs, to illustrate the various points she makes throughout the book.

Ibarra writes: “To lead is to act…Leadership is about doing something you’ve never done before, to take a risk and see what happens. Leadership requires action, and inaction is the death of leadership.” (p. 30)

One of the strengths of “Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader” is its emphasis on the importance of experimentation and learning from experience.

Continuous growth process

Ibarra encourages readers to view leadership as a continuous learning and growth process rather than a static set of skills or traits. This is a refreshing and empowering message, one that is likely to resonate with many readers who are looking to improve their leadership skills.

Overall, “Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader” is an engaging and insightful book that challenges readers to rethink their assumptions about leadership.

Ibarra includes self-assessments and chapter reviews to help implement the advice within the book.

It is well-written and easy to read, with plenty of practical advice and real-world examples to illustrate the various points made throughout the book.

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About Phil Klutts

Phil is an Edmond native and has managed to keep his wife here instead of traveling the world, which they both enjoy. They have two boys who love the outdoors, adventures, and learning new things. Phil is a problem-solver at heart and enjoys connecting people to the resources they need.

In addition to being the co-owner of Edmond Business, Phil founded the CK Group LLC after working for large and small businesses in the Energy, Construction, and Fitness industries. He focuses on helping small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their systems and processes. CK Group LLC's mission is to eliminate chaos and create clarity for small business by connecting vision, strategy, and implementation.