Leadership Rigor: Not Just Another Leadership Book


By Shelley Garside, CHRP

Often, leadership books can leave a person with a lot of trendy, feel-good phrases that wear off almost as soon as the book is put back on the shelf.  We retain some of the information since it is interesting and makes us feel better about ourselves, but these books often lack practical application for our lives and the workplace.

So why would you read another book regarding leadership? According to a Global Human Capital Trend Survey published from Bersin by Deloitte in March 2014, “Building leadership capacity is by far the most urgent need for companies today…”

Leadership Rigor by Erica Peitler nicely sets itself apart from many of the books written on this vast and vital subject.

This book is essentially a leadership training program that lends itself to being read in sections. In fact, this book may be even better digested in small chunks due to the richness of the information and ensuing practice models.

Leadership Rigor is divided into three sections: Part 1 Leading Yourself, Part 2 Leading Teams, and Part 3 Leading Organizations.  Designed to clearly demonstrate consequential leadership, each section contains what the author labels:

  • The Fundamentals; What you create, build and shape as a leader,
  • The Signature Models: to demonstrate clear and practical applications for modeling and problem-solving, and
  • The Tensions to Resolve in order to move forward on one’s leadership path.

The author, Erica Peitler, is currently a professional leadership performance coach who works with Fortune 500 companies as well as CEOs. Peitler draws on her many successful leadership experiences to provide relevant and salient examples for practical application in Leadership Rigor.

She explains that she once found herself parachuted in to lead the international division of a multinational corporation that was failing to perform on all levels. Setting out to first engage her workforce to perform as a high-functioning team, followed by rigorous business analytics, she was able to turn the business around in less than a five year period.

Leadership Rigor sets out to provide a “comprehensive set of tools” that the author claims will help accelerate leadership performance and productivity.

Peitler stresses that “absolute brilliance” will no longer get the “big jobs”, and that today’s leaders require emotional intelligence to enable individuals and organizations to reach their highest degrees of productivity. Leaders must become “social scientists” in order to reach leadership success.  She goes on to say that the two main currencies of leadership are communication and relationships and that each must be developed and practised in earnest by leadership practitioners.

Additionally, leaders must learn to remain at the correct “altitude” in order to inspire and empower others within an organization.

Much of what the author puts forward demonstrates clarity of thought, self-insight, practical questions and possible solutions to issues and challenges that inevitably present themselves along to road to successful leadership growth and development. Starting with the “self” and addressing the notion of true power that must come from a place of authenticity, demonstrates an uncommon level of self-awareness and wisdom. This, coupled with the book’s business friendly and user-friendly models, can provide readers at any point along the road of their leadership paths, with solid information and guidance.

If there was anything that was not of value in this book, one has to really search for it, and then it might only be that the use of the words “Rigor it!” can become a little overused.

All in all, Leadership Rigor is clearly and succinctly written, engaging as well as practical. Certainly well worth the read, this book may find a better place on your desk as a valuable reference guide and tool than on the bookshelf.

Shelley Garside, CHRP is the owner of Garside Consulting, offering HR Solutions, Coaching and Mentoring to organizations and individuals who are ready to live and lead from a heart-centred place and move toward authentic living practices. Contact: shelley@garside.ca

Looking for HR-related book recommendations? Check out HRMA Reads. And, be sure to share your recommendations too: #HRMAReads.

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  1. Hi Shelley…..thank you so much for your awesome review of Leadership Rigor! Appreciate it! Erica

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