Two Brilliant Books on Leadership

Here’s a plug for the two best books on leadership I’ve read in absolutely ages.


First we have 5 Gears by Steve Cockram and Jeremie Kubicek. They identify 5 gears we tend to operate in as follows:

  1. first gear – me time, on my own, doing my own thing to rest or recharge
  2. second gear – family or close friends time, when we want to be present to invest in those nearest and dearest to us
  3. third gear – social time in which we catch up and connect with people in all sorts of contexts
  4. fourth gear – task mode in which we have to get stuff done
  5. fifth gear – focus mode in which we think about the bigger picture – working on the business, not just in the business as the E-Myth would put it

The reality is each person will find some gears more natural than others. What we need to do is a) recognise our own strengths and weaknesses here; b) consider how others around us work and serve/help them with this stuff. For example I love 4th gear, and am less good in 3rd. But I know I work with some people who thrive in 3rd gear. I need to get better at driving in 3rd if I’m not to portray a task-driven lack of care or concern for people. Similarly I can see 1st as not that important, but actually we all need to make space to recharge if we’re to stay sane and healthy. Great book (my favourite of these two) – much food for thought.


Second, we have 5 Voices by the same. Similar format, so here goes:

  1. Pioneer voice – leader visionary, big ideas, lots of energy – may tend to steam-roller people
  2. Connecter voice – great with people, especially bringing in others to help get things done
  3. Creative voice – abstract ideas, perfectionist – may get frustrated with less than perfection
  4. Guardian voice – concerned to protect the past, nervous of the future – the kind of person who likes to frown in meetings, rub their chin, and then pout water on everyone’s bonfire – but their intent is good – they really do want what’s best, they’re just more conservative than the pioneer
  5. Nurturer voice – primarily concerned with outcomes of actions on people – how will people be affected by this new hair-brained scheme. Again, sometimes overly nervous of change, but with all the right intentions

They talk about voices, it’s more about personalities. But, as above, worth thinking about which of these you gravitate to (we’re all a mix), and how those you work with function.

Both of these books are really about understanding – self and others – in a bid to be more fruitful and more caring. Highly recommended!


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