Why Should Anyone Be Led by YOU? The Book

wsablby_coverAt the start of the Millennium, our research was driven by this single, simple question. It had an impact. Audiences throughout the world paused for thought. Rooms fell silent as people pondered their right to lead. An article in the Harvard Business Review with the question as its title drew a flood of communication and launched us on a five-year journey.

Since then, we have talked to hundreds of leaders and their followers within the business world and beyond – from CEOs of multinational corporations to teachers and nurses. What we learned is that to be a leader, you need vision, purpose and energy. But, to be a great leader you need to understand your differences – your strengths and weaknesses – and, crucially, how to adapt these qualities to context.

This is a book whose genesis was driven by a question, but it is one whose fruition, we believe, provides real answers to the leadership dilemmas we face. If you are serious about leadership, don’t try to be someone else: Be yourself – more – with skill. Order Online.

The Leadership Work-Out

Organizations want more leadership, more initiative. But leadership isn’t easy. It requires focus and practice.

Why Should Anyone Be Led by YOU? provides managers at all levels with the opportunity to challenge themselves: to step up and to embrace the challenges of leading others to exceptional performance and delivering exceptional business results.

Leaders experience a real work-out — a demanding, intense session with a demanding coach — one that delivers results. They make progress on critical business challenges through a series of feedback, peer coaching, and group discussions. The outcome: An actionable plan that will make a difference to their success – and their organization’s.

Great Leadership Excites People to Exceptional Performance

Successful leaders modify their behavior to respond to the needs of their followers and the circumstances they encounter – while simultaneously remaining true to who they are. They produce results by being crystal clear on their unique differentiators and by addressing the four critical needs of their followers:

  • Community: Followers long for a sense of belonging, to feel part of something bigger. Leaders must help them connect to others (not just to the leaders themselves) as well as to the overarching purpose of the organization.
  • Authenticity: Followers choose to be led by humans not titles or credentials. Leaders must be able to identify and deploy their personal differences, foibles, and strengths to inspire employees to apply their energy and talents.
  • Significance: Followers want to believe their efforts matter. Leaders need to recognize contributions in a meaningful way, with highly personalized feedback.
  • Excitement: Followers need a spark to trigger their exceptional performance. Leaders who articulate their own passion, values, and vision provide the energy and enthusiasm employees hunger for.


In this marvelous book, Professors Goffee and Jones have demystified the magic of great leadership. – Richard Boyatzis, Author of Resonant Leadership


An Engaging Development Approach

Why Should Anyone Be Led by YOU? is grounded in the research and thought leadership of professors Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones. BlessingWhite’s 35-plus years of experience with thousands of clients worldwide ensures that this blended learning experience is engaging, relevant, sustainable, flexible and effective.

We will work with you to create a mix of consulting, content, and tools to reflect your organization’s most pressing business priorities, culture, and workforce.

Key Concepts

The CASE Framework… A practical way for leaders to understand the needs of their followers (community, authenticity, significance, and excitement) and re-evaluate their approach to leadership

Be Yourself – More – With Skill…four authentic leadership practices:

  • Become a Situational Sensor
  • Know and Show Yourself Enough
  • Get Close but Keep Your Distance
  • Communicate with Care

Engaging Methodology

  • An online learning component to make the most of leaders’ face-to-face action learning experience
  • An intensive working session in which short bursts of learning alternate with in-depth business issue analysis and concept application
  • A simple online feedback process that offers a reality check on the needs of leaders’ followers and focuses leaders’ personal development strategies
  • Peer coaching and community building

Culture-Building Capabilities

  • Expert consulting on organization-wide implementations
  • An online community for leaders to share ideas and lessons learned
  • An online resource center so leaders can access tools from the working session, view reinforcement videos, and solicit additional feedback from followers
  • An ongoing stream of fresh, useful content and coaching tips
  • Follow-up webinars providing in-depth exploration of key concepts
  • A copy of the best-selling Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?
  • Learning coaches to work with leaders one-on-one after the action learning experience
  • CASE coach certification for your trainers or line leaders by BlessingWhite’s senior consultants to ensure cost-effective implementation and ongoing performance coaching
  • Inspirational keynotes by BlessingWhite’s top speakers and/or Goffee or Jones


The main body of leadership literature focuses on the characteristics of leaders. This gives it a strong psychological bias. It sees leadership qualities as inherent to the individual. The underlying assumption is that leadership is something we do to other people. But in our view, leadership should be seen as something we do with other people. Leadership must always be viewed as a relationship between the leader and the led. …There are no universal leadership characteristics. What works for one leader will not work for another.
– Rob Goffee & Gareth Jones



Throughout Why Should Anyone Be Led by You? leaders work on their own strategic business challenges. At the end of the working session they will have a detailed strategy for “being themselves — more — with skill” to excite exceptional performance of their teams and colleagues. Since they will have practiced and fine-tuned the application of that strategy to their business challenges, the impact on the job is immediate.

  • By taking part in this unique development process, leaders will be able to continuously:
  • Assess the needs of their followers and modify their leadership approach appropriately
  • Deploy their personal values, strengths, and even weaknesses to maximize their effectiveness as a leader
  • Size up situations and adapt their leadership behavior without losing their unique differentiators to drive results
  • Build a thriving community of aligned, engaged team members
  • Communicate more effectively by considering not only their audience’s needs but also the communication vehicles through which they, personally, are most effective
  • Tap into a peer leadership community and expand their influence beyond their teams

10 Reasons to Choose Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?

  • You feel like you have too many managers and not enough leaders
  • Your managers need to drive change, not react to it
  • You need to accelerate development of high-potential leaders
  • Your diverse cadre of leaders needs a flexible leadership approach, not a lock-step formula
  • You want to create a high-performance culture and common leadership language
  • You want to equip smart, competent leaders to inspire workforce commitment and action
  • You want to establish a solid leadership pipeline
  • Training in leadership skills has not delivered the results you need
  • You can’t wait for leaders to make the bridge between their learning experience and their work
  • Your complex business and multigenerational workforce demand more than cookie-cutter leaders

What Leaders Have to Say About Their Experience

  • “Fantastic experience, compelling content.”
  • “I will return to the office and begin leveraging what I have learned immediately because we used a live project in the learning process.”
  • “The model is easy to understand, implement and exercise. The CASE framework put much needed structure around the concept of leadership.”


The Authors

Rob Goffee (L) & Gareth Jones (R) l Photo by Kim Grace

Rob Goffee (L) & Gareth Jones (R) l Photo by Kim Grace

Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones are Europe’s leading experts on organisational culture, leadership and change.

They are past winners of the prestigious McKinsey Award for the best article in the Harvard Business Review, entitled, “Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?” The huge interest the article generated led to a five-year journey exploring authentic leadership. Their book is the culmination of that research.

Why Should Anyone Be Led By You? is published by Harvard Business School Press (2006) ISBN number (1-57851-971-3).

Rob Goffee is professor of organisational behaviour at London Business School, where he teaches on the world renowned Senior Executive Programme. His research has covered entrepreneurship, business formation and growth, and managerial careers.

He has published seven books including Entrepreneurship in Europe; Women in Charge; Reluctant Managers; Corporate Realities and The Character of a Corporation (1998) written with Gareth Jones.

An internationally respected teacher and facilitator, Rob was the Faculty Director for Executive Education at London Business School. He has taught executives from some of the world’s leading companies, including Unilever, Nestlé, and Sonae. He also consults to the boards of a number of FTSE 100 companies.

Gareth Jones is a Fellow of the Centre for Management Development at London Business School and a visiting professor at INSEAD, Fontainebleau and IE Business School (Instituto de Empresa) in Madrid.

In a career that has spanned both the academic and business worlds, Gareth was director of human resources and internal communications at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC); and at Polygram, then the world’s largest recorded music company, he was senior vice president for global human resources.

Gareth is one of Europe’s leading speakers and consultants in businesses where creativity is critical to success. This includes science based businesses like pharmaceuticals, professional services firms and media companies.
character_of_a_corporationRob and Gareth are the founding partners of Creative Management Associates (CMA), a consultancy focused on organisations where creativity is a source of competitive strength.

If you are interested in booking Rob and Gareth as speakers, using their consulting experience or have a general enquiry, please contact us.

For corporate / bulk sales of Why Should Anyone Be Led By YOU?, please contact:
Jon Shipley
+44 (0)1628 502542 | +44 (0)7702 194602

To arrange an interview with Rob and Gareth, please contact:
Sue Blake:
+44 (0)20 8979 5220 | +44 (0)79 6653 8108