Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fables and the Art of Leadership

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- the message of Fred Rogers is timeless and knows no boundaries. The topics discussed on camera with countless children over multiple decades could just as easily be applied to everyday situations in adult life. A wonderful new book recently hit the market that puts this concept into practice.


Fables and the Art of Leadership: Applying the Wisdom of Mister Rogers to the Workplace
was written by Ian and Donna Mitroff and first published in late 2012 by Palgrave MacMillan. The authors clearly have a similar opinion to mine of Fred's message and they use the combined creativity, simplicity, and practicality that Fred possessed to encourage readers to become better leaders. Through the use of eight storylines from various Neighborhood of Make-Believe segments, they clearly apply the lessons taught to children through puppets and song to adults in professional environments.

For example, one story used is that of King Friday ordering everyone in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe to wear mittens without any explanation for this mandate. While most comply without question, Lady Elaine Fairchilde holds out (of course) and regrets not having mittens when it begins to snow. Fables and the Art of Leadership applies this story to the expectations of a good leader -- one who makes rules only for good reason, makes them clearly, and offers concise purpose for the rule. Of course, the authors apply this lesson in a much more detailed and applicable format.

Who would have thought that the children of yesterday who grew up watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood would find themselves applying this familiar children's program to their corporate-minded adult lives of today?

Fables and the Art of Leadership
is based on seven key principles -- the seven C's -- which the authors feel are essential aspects to consider when building leadership. The seven C's are connect, concern, creativity, communication, consciousness, courage, and community. In addition to being applied to the Make-Believe scenarios, these concepts are discussed in order -- from least to most complex -- as readers look to develop their own leadership roles.

While I would encourage anyone to read this book -- not only fans of the Neighborhood but also those looking to improve themselves as leaders -- there is one deterring factor at this point. If you have searched anywhere outside the Neighborhood Archive for information about this book, you've likely found that it does comes with a very hefty price tag.

Lastly, in addition to the book itself, a website as well as a Facebook and Twitter account have all been established in support of Fables and the Art of Leadership. Be sure to take a moment to check them out.

Many thanks to the Mitroff's for generously sharing their book with me.

For more on Fables and the Art of Leadership, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

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