Optimism: don’t leave home without it.

Don’t Can’t lead without it. Shouldn’t lead without it.

Right now I have a stack of business books waiting to be read, and it will easily take me another two months minimum to get to them all.

Yet when I walked into a Borders Express today, killing time before an appointment, I just had to buy another one.


I happened upon a clerk just adding it to the store shelves from a newly arrived shipment: Marcus Buckingham’s new The One Thing You Need to Know ” About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success. After all, two posts before this one, I just urged you – again – to read the other two he co-authored if you have not yet done so.

59 pages into it, I come to this:

“So what does define leadership? What do leaders get done that is distinct from what ordinary people of initiative, creativity, resolve and integrity get done?

From all my research, this is the only satisfactory definition I’ve found:

Great leaders rally people to a better future.”

He then goes on to say,

“The need for a talent for optimism is almost self-evident. As a leader, you must believe, deeply, instinctively, that things can get better.”

There is something profoundly satisfying in reading these words. Hope is not enough, for hope alone is wishful and tentative, whereas optimism is rooted in more certainty and belief.

Buckingham offers a definition of leadership that is so compelling. Others have assigned qualities to leaders, however here’s an author brave enough, bold enough, to define leadership by its very essence and core requirement.

You can be sure we’ll talk story about his book more in the days to come. It will be hard for me to get much else done until I finish it!


  1. says

    You are killing me! I’ve got the stack of books I’m working on as well and now this one sure seems like it will find its way to the pile (your’s is in that pile, you know…).
    Great stuff.

  2. says

    LOL! Todd, I started reading Rosa’s post and the first thing I thought was, “Rosa, you’re killing me.”
    “59 pages into it, I come to…” Rosa! Just how early were you for that appointment? And how in good conscience could you begin to delve into a fresh book when that stack at home were crying out to Auntie Rosa to read them first? How do you battle the guilt woman?
    Well, I very well know how – Marcus B!!
    To all of you who haven’t picked up MWA — Rosa has one of the most well postulated discussions on leadership vs. management that I’ve ever read. It is worth the price of admission.

  3. says

    Todd, I trust you will get to MWA in good time — I can be patient!
    Dave, I don’t do battle with guilt, I’ve learned to ignore it totally: guilt is a worthless emotion … and you know me, I WILL get to that stack of books!
    Mahalo kind sir for your compliment on my management versus leadership discussion … Perhaps that will be my next book … Leading with Aloha. What do you think?
    And you were right about Marcus Buckingham — as an author, I now dream of having his shelf appeal one day. However for today, and this wonderful day we have all been given, I am very happy that you both have stopped by to visit with me!
    Mahalo nui loa, ‘ike loa kakou,

  4. says

    I read youur post this morning. I then went to the airport to go on a busines strip and as luck would have it I was delayed 45 min. fortunatley my gate was just across from an airport bookstore! So I overpaid for the book (one thing you need to know) and then spent the next 1 1/2 hours reading it on the plane. I am not finished yet but I can already tell that this is a must read for everyone in management or leadership positions. Marcus Buckinham has done it again.

  5. says

    I hear you Matt, for I paid full price for it too without even thinking twice – then this morning I see it’s already on Amazon.com for $10 less at 32% off (for all of you who haven’t gotten it yet). Patience is not one of my virtues.
    However I also read more of it on the plane ride home last night, and it seemed a very small price to pay for inspiration, and filling the time well while easing my anxiousness to finally get back home.
    The irony is not lost on me here … if only I could sell my own book this quickly!