In my never-ending quest to read every available leadership book, I’ve read some awesome ones. The latest addition to my Business Book Club is “The Self-Evolved Leader,” by Dave McKeown. It’s a terrific how-to primer on leadership crammed full of actionable advice.

Ego Shift

My favorite advice from McKeown’s book talks about the fundamental ego shift that leaders must go through to become effective: releasing the mindset that says leaders should, “be the hero, save the day, make the diving catches, and move from crisis to crisis putting out fires.”

Shifting to the perspective that leaders provide tools for, remove barriers from, and develop their people allows their teams (and them!) to deliver the best results.

Dave McKeown’s “The Self-Evolved Leader” is a great how-to primer on leadership with actionable steps and must-have habits. #leadership #businessbookclub Click To Tweet


Vision is the first of McKeown’s three Key Elements of Self-Evolved Leadership. Most thinking on leadership (including my own) includes vision as an essential element – it helps align the team toward common goals and creates a higher purpose for the work they do every day.

What I love about McKeown’s discussion of vision (which is true for the rest of the book, too) is that he not only talks about the “why” of having a vision to unite your team, but he gives you a recipe for how to create it. From which questions to ask, to bringing folks on board, to getting feedback, to how to use your vision statement once you’re done, it’s all here. And in simple, actionable terms.


I admit I did a little, “huh?” when I saw the name of the second Key Element. Pulse? But stick with it – it’s helpful!

Pulse is the focused activation of your vision. This is the “get stuff done” part. McKeown runs this down in a familiar way – annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily, along with recommended approaches for each. Again, I love this practical and actionable approach.


McKeown outlines 5 areas of discipline for leaders:

  1. Reclaim your attention. Reclaiming your attention by creating to-do lists, prioritizing ruthlessly, and focusing on the next action, can have a huge impact on your leadership ability.
  2. Facilitate team flow. The key to team flow is expecting your team to succeed, and being clear about outcomes.
  3. Support high performance. Allowing the team to solve issues – and supporting them as they do it – will help them perform better and innovate more.
  4. Have symbiotic conversations. Dealing with difficult and challenging conversations is crucial to leadership success. McKeown’s approach starts with assuming positive intent and ends with putting the next steps into your employee’s hands.
  5. Build shared accountability. Using shared goal-setting, encouraging a growth mindset, and empowering your team builds shared accountability and high performance.

These disciplines and habits are all essential parts of becoming an effective leader.

If you’re working on becoming a better leader, read “The Self-Evolved Leader” for some of the most helpful and most practical advice around!

What resonates most with you about the concepts in Dave McKeown’s “The Self-Evolved Leader”? Let us know in the comments below!