Leadership Plain and Simple: Book Review Stamp

Leadership Plain and Simple: Book Review

April 2020

Leadership Plain and Simple – Steve Radcliffe

In the UK’s number one leadership book, Steve Radcliffe has distilled the ‘mystery’ of what makes good leaders down to three straightforward tenets: a leader must have a strong vision of the future he or she wants, the ability to engage others in that vision and to deliver that future through them.

These are the three ideas of the title, and each is dealt with in its own chapter. Radcliffe uses anecdotes both from his consultancy work and his personal life to bring the ideas to life and favours the occasional simple diagram and/or exercise over anything more formal.

Although there are plenty of meaty ideas in here, it’s all presented clearly and persuasively, and Radcliffe repeats a number of recurrent themes throughout the book, which help pull everything together. Two of these are the need for ‘Conscious practice’ and a ‘Support team’ – both of which are applied to specific situations at various points.

I particularly liked the assertion that ‘engaging’ isn’t the same thing as ‘communicating’, and the need to be aware of the difference between the ‘impact intended’ and the ‘impact felt’. Radcliffe also looks closely at how a leader needs to be in touch with his or her ‘four energies’ in order to ‘be at your best, more of the time.’ The four energies are:

  • Intellectual – thinking, analysis, logic and rationality
  • Emotional – connection and relationships
  • Spiritual – vitality, passion and sense of possibility
  • Physical – action, making things happen

Written in an accessible style and at just over 100 pages, this is a good, quick read. It’s full of useful, practical ideas, which can be applied by anyone, and not just at work. Radcliffe’s point is that anyone who is ‘up to something’ (has something they want to make happen) is a potential leader.

Leadership isn’t complicated – keep it simple and make it count. Steve Radcliffe’s uniquely powerful, successful and practical framework will show you how to develop faster as a more confident and capable leader.

The core concept is derived from expert coach Steve Radcliffe’s work with real leaders in real leadership situations. It debunks all that stuff about leadership being complicated and only for a chosen few. It invites us all to see ourselves as leaders and shows that we can all be more confident, calm, effective or whatever we choose by following the simple framework:

  • Be guided by the Future you want and stay focused on your vision.
  • Engage others in productive and stimulating working relationships that make things happen.
  • Deliver the results you need to really move your business forward.


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