Listening to the Leader Within

Book Review of Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, by Wess Roberts

by Kimberly Wilson, Board President

“A leader is a dealer in hope.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte

Book Review of Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, by Wess Roberts:

Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun is filled with valuable tips and perspectives on the traits a leader possesses. The Attila leadership qualities include: loyalty, courage, desire, emotional stamina, physical stamina, empathy, decisiveness, anticipation, timing, competition, self-confidence, accountability, responsibility, credibility, tenacity, dependability and stewardship. Author Wess Roberts notes that there are no shortcuts to these qualities and that they take a lifetime to develop.

Roberts goes on to discuss the importance of wanting to lead and how it takes much more than inspiration; it takes a lot of sweat. He emphasizes that an overeager leader will meet adversity because leaders need preparation, experience and opportunity to back up their eagerness.

The “Essentials of Decisiveness” chapter states that, “knowing by instinct or by fact when the time is right for action will yield a high measure of success. Decisiveness in leadership action carries a heavy burden. Often it means victory or defeat. We cannot hesitate to act, but neither can we prematurely precipitate decisions that will work to our disadvantage.” Roberts reminds leaders to avoid decisions that are self-absorbed in favor of decisions that improve the conditions of others.

Roberts stresses the importance of delegating items that don’t need direct attention, because a leader cannot do everything on her own; otherwise, she is not a leader of anything! The chapter on reward also hits close to home. “Care more for the rewarding of your Huns than for rewarding yourself. Your own rewards will then far exceed even your greatest hopes and dreams.” The last comment of this chapter encourages generosity with small tokens of appreciation.

Overall, this book offered some wonderful insights and reminders. I appreciated the light-hearted approach the author took to address the serious topic of leadership and also enjoyed the “Attilaisms” at the end of the book, offering a great synopsis of character, courage, decision-making, delegation, developing chieftains, diplomacy and politics, goals, leaders and leadership, perceptions and publicity, personal achievement, reward and punishment, tolerance, and training. May the efforts of TSF help to develop the next generation of transformative leaders.

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