Total Leadership, with a New Preface by the Author | Stewart D. Friedman

Summary of: Total Leadership, with a New Preface by the Author: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life
By: Stewart D. Friedman


In the book ‘Total Leadership’, Stewart D. Friedman, a Wharton School faculty member and director of the Leadership Development Center at Ford Motor Company, introduces a fresh perspective on leadership that encompasses work, home, community, and self. He emphasizes the importance of identifying core values and aligning actions so that you can excel in all areas of life. Friedman believes that people can achieve a sense of harmony by avoiding the idea of ‘work-life balance’. Instead, he presents the metaphor of a jazz quartet, where the focus lies on creating a harmonious interplay between the four domains. The book, a take-home version of the Total Leadership program taught at Wharton, offers tools and strategies to enhance the reader’s performance in all aspects of life.

Achieving Harmony in Life

Stewart D. Friedman’s book teaches readers to align their actions with core values in the four domains of work, home, community, and self. By doing so, individuals can achieve harmony in all areas of life and become excellent leaders. The book is a take-home version of the Total Leadership program and workshop taught by the author at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the Leadership Development Center at Ford Motor Company.

Total Leadership: Balancing Life Domains

In “Total Leadership,” author Stewart D. Friedman addresses the common belief that excelling in one area of life requires sacrificing in others. He argues that this lack of integration leads to unfulfillment, resentment, and guilt. To address these conflicts, Friedman introduces Total Leadership, a program that regards work, home, community, and self as four interconnected parts of a whole. The program provides tools to strengthen all four life domains, with improvement in one quadrant boosting performance in the others.

Friedman rejects the idea of work-life balance as requiring equal attention to all domains, instead offering the metaphor of a jazz quartet where each instrument plays in harmony and at different times. The program helps individuals define and focus on their values and align their actions with their goals and ideals. The approach encourages sharing and connection with the people who are most important, generating love and support. As individuals progress through the program, they feel more hopeful, energized, and enthusiastic about the future, developing greater confidence and competence as leaders of meaningful and sustainable change. The Total Leadership program unfolds in three parts, providing a holistic approach to balancing life domains.

Defining Your Values and Goals

In “Total Leadership,” author Friedman emphasizes the importance of defining and clarifying your values, goals, and aspirations. One way to do this is by reflecting on key events in your life and the people who inspire you. Identifying five to ten core values that resonate with you is also crucial. These values serve as the foundation of your identity and Total Leadership. It’s essential to have a compelling image of an achievable future but view it as a guideline, not a map. As you grow and change, so will your priorities. The key to authenticity is knowing what you care about and staying true to those values.

Pursue Four-way Wins

Pursuing four-way wins in all your domains can help create harmony, leading to positive spillover effects. The “Total Leadership” approach involves identifying and engaging key stakeholders in all domains, assessing their expectations, and working towards mutual progress. Technology can help reduce face-to-face time with colleagues and increase family time. Engaging in dialogues with stakeholders can strengthen relationships and build mutual trust for continuing support. Improve your performance by focusing on your four domains and achieving enhancements in all of them.

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