Leading With Humanity by Peter Laburn

A review by Steuart Pennington

How do you write a book about leadership in a postmodern world? How do you write about leadership when volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity are becoming part of every aspect of life, exponentially? How do you write when the practices of the past 200 years are wholly inappropriate in to-day’s world and only fundamental change will enable us to survive the future?

Peter Laburn has done it! Leading with Humanity is not just another leadership book, it is a book which profoundly challenges the paradigms of what was needed and gives deep insights into the paradigms of what is needed.

His book, well researched, and profoundly insightful considers why human being is so fundamentally different to human doing. In that respect Leading with Humanity is very different from the thousands of leadership books that have been written over the years.

And, in a world obsessed with what we do, who we are being as leaders in business, in organisations, in society and in life, is largely overlooked.

Leading with Humanity addresses the essence of leadership that cannot be taught through competencies and skills. Leading with Humanity is about leadership development as a personal and dynamic inside-out journey.

Departing from the fundamental principle that leadership is a state of being, the book explores ideas from philosophers, futurists, and a collection of great leaders in history, to reveal what it really means to be a leader. These are summed up in seven core principles:

  • Leadership is a state of being
  • Leadership is about connection
  • Leadership is about influence, not control
  • Followers, not leaders, change things
  • Leaders give continuously
  • Leadership comes in multiple shapes and forms
  • Leadership is a choice, not a birthright

Building on these guiding principles, this book also offers profound and different insights into rethinking the world of work and how the successful organisations of the future will restructure themselves as far more sustainable, human-centric places to work.

While many of the thoughts in this book highlight practices that are still relevant, and some are ubiquitous, they are refreshingly relevant for a world that is changing at an exponential and increasingly volatile rate.

This book is a great tool if you are wanting to take a step back to consider your purpose and legacy. It is about discovering a deeper sense of self-awareness to bring you closer to your role in a deeply connected world. Ultimately, this level of self-awareness, leads to courage and conviction and the tools to impact the world through actions that will reignite humanity in society and business.

You will be the wiser for having read this book, you will enjoy the many South African examples, and you will reflect on your own balance of being and doing. 

It will be available in bookshops shortly, otherwise get in touch with Peter;

petelaburn@iafrica.com