Ashhurst business consultant Bob Selden launches leadership handbook for managers

Bob Selden has collected examples of leadership, good and bad, he hopes readers of his latest book can relate to and learn from. Photo / Provided

When rivals struggled to sell cars after the global financial crisis, even after cutting them, Hyundai took a different approach.

He asked why people weren’t willing to buy, no matter what the price, and found the answer was that people were afraid of losing their jobs. So he offered a return policy and increased sales.

This case study is one of 27 in Bob Selden’s latest book, What To Do When Leadership is Needed.

The Ashhurst-based business consultant says it’s taken him 14 years to piece together the examples of leadership, good and bad, from here and there, that readers can relate to and learn from.

Questions follow each story, prompting the reader to adopt a learning leadership mindset. “And that mindset just might become the start of a great leadership journey for the reader.”

Another story concerns a scrap metal worker whose employer gives him the opportunity to use his creative talents. The worker transformed useless materials into birdhouses and created a new market for his employer.

There are also stories about Covid-19, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the Tour de France.

Selden says when someone becomes a manager, they get a title; it’s like putting on a hat and people doing things for you as the job holder. The secret to understanding how to become a leader is that when you lose that hat, will your staff continue to do things for you like before? Will they still trust you? Listen to yourself? If so, you are a leader.

Selden doesn’t believe you can teach leadership, so how could he write a book about it? People learn leadership from their experiences, so he decided to collect stories for people to reflect on.

“Despite the plethora of books, courses and programs on how to become a good leader, my experience working with leaders on four continents over the past 30 years is that leadership cannot be taught.”

People learn to develop as a leader through life experiences and, in particular, by reflecting on those experiences.

“My challenge as an author is to provide experiences that readers can relate to and learn from, but without giving them the usual things like ‘If you do this or that, it will make you a good leader. “.”

The book was to be launched by Collective Intelligence founder Ian Harvey. However, Covid in his home prevented him from attending the launch in Palmerston North last month.

Harvey says Selden has a wealth of experience but a young spirit that is up to date. He wanted the stories to be longer, but Selden is more interested in the reader thinking and considering the moral of the story.

“I believe people are capable of great things, they just need help every once in a while, and Selden’s new book will definitely help them,” Harvey said.

Selden’s book What To Do When You Become The Boss has sold 75,000 copies in four languages. He was previously a coach at the International Institute for Management Development, Switzerland, and is now Regional Director of Family Business Central.

Selden feels lucky to live in Manawatū with so many creative and supportive people.

What To Do When Leadership is Needed is her fourth book. It has a fifth in the pipeline and a sixth to come.

• What To Do When Leadership is Needed is available from Bruce McKenzie Booksellers.

Mary H. Martino