Posted by Jeremy on November 16, 2019 at 03:25 PM CST
"I clearly can't write a review on this," I said to my wife, Rae, as I opened up the package that had just arrived from DK, "I doubt anyone would accept me as a feminist icon."
"I'll do it" she bravely declared. But why she - who has had a very successful, continent-spanning career in human resources and holds high achieving belts in three martial arts, brought an amazing child into the world, as well as put up with me for twenty-five years - would want to become a princess is beyond me.
Jeremy makes a good point, I don’t want to be a princess but a general might be fun!
I have read many management and leadership books in my time but this is the first book on the subject that uses the musings of leading Star Wars characters to provide guidance and perspective for emerging leaders to find their rebel voice and fight the system. You can apply these approaches to many scenarios, from workplace disputes to battling galactic tyranny - now that is quite the range!
Interestingly, in contrast to most contemporary leadership tomes, Be More Leia encourages you to be the boss and don’t worry what others think. As a seasoned Human Resources professional, this initially made me quite uncomfortable as I spend every day working very hard to instil leadership skills and abilities in our people; using words like ‘the boss’ is frowned upon and so we encourage everyone to lead rather than manage. However, after re-reading the book a couple of times - at 63 pages it’s a pretty quick - I see where author Christian Blauvelt is going with the themes.
With a light-hearted, almost tongue in cheek approach, Be More Leia uses imagery and sage quotes from the likes of a Princess Leia, Jyn Erso, Rey and Obi-Wan Kenobi to describe the journey from setting your goals for whatever mission you find yourself on, through to building your network and being confident as a leader.
Overall the book teaches the reader a positive approach to self belief and putting yourself out there, which brings to mind a piece of advice from Brené Brown; she tells us to “let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are.”
My favourite quote from Be More Leia doesn't actually come from Princess Leia, but from Yoda: “You must unlearn what you have learned.” This message is relevant for leaders new and old to take on board and remember. I also had a laugh out loud moment when reading page 55. Readers are actually encouraged to clear their approach to when giving feedback with their HR team. I won't spoil the surprise and will let you read for yourself what the feedback is. I would suggest that this approach may be career limiting.
This book would make a great stocking stuffer for the Star Wars fan in your life and I will be adding it to my library of leadership books - I'm sure people who come in to my office will pick it out to read for the title alone.
I’m going to start asking “What would Leia do?” when a tricky workplace situation arises, just to see people’s reactions.