Business & Technology

June 27, 2012

Book Review: You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader by Mark Sanborn

Each quarter, has an employee book club where we discuss an assigned reading as a big group. This quarter we beat the heat while diving head first into what we thought makes a leader with help from author Mark Sanborn.

We’ve all been there. We see something that needs to be done but think that it can wait or someone else will take care of it. Maybe we feel lost on our career path or we aren’t gaining any traction. Perhaps we just had a bad day. But Mark Sanborn wants us to forget about all that and realize that we are in charge of our own outlook and happiness.

In the follow up to the widely successful The Fred Factor, this book covers how positivity and purpose can lead to a happier you. Not a totally earth-shattering idea, but what really compelled his message were the different examples of what describes a leader. He starts with a variety of different definitions and stories from the administrative assistant whose tasks reach far beyond her job description that she happily takes on to the selfless act of Russell Conwell that would lead to the foundation of Temple University.

Within 102 pages, You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader is divided up into six different principles which serve as a menu to divide up the courses. Although the six principles cohesively work together, I really pulled small bits out of bigger ideas that resonated with me. For the Power With People principle, Sanborn shows how word choices can really resonate with a simple chart for Leaders vs. Managers.

For example, while managers communicate, leaders persuade.  Rather than just communicate a message, persuade co-workers or teammates to be part of your idea or effort. Persuading gives each person a sense of responsibility and in turn a feeling of self-worth. Would you rather have a new fancy title but feel like you’re moving in circles, or leave work every day with a feeling of self-worth and accomplishment?

As a member of a generation where we all got medals on field day (another blog post in its own right), it was refreshing to read a book that points out how life isn’t about recognition and awards. I found this quick read to be a great reminder of how resonating a positive attitude can really be for any person at any level. We all don’t have to change the world, but our collective small steps might be more impressive than we think.

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About the Author

Jenny Patterson
Jenny Patterson
Jenny Patterson is a newbie to Nashville and is currently halfway on her quest to spot her idol Dolly Parton. Convinced that her kitchen is made to provide extra closet space, she loves trying new restaurants and adding to her shoe collection displayed in her living room. Tears were shed when Oprah said farewell, but thanks to the magazine world Jenny still feels a connection to her daily best friend. You can find her posting and tweeting as the social media intern for

  • Elizabeth

    Great reminder to make sure your team leaves work every day with a feeling of self-worth and accomplishment! Thanks for the insightful post!

  • Anonymous

    Question: Will this help me hate my job less?

    Sounds like a good one to add to my summer reading list. Thanks for sharing!

  • Col. Van Landinghamm

    Must have been nice to receive those medals, all I received was a participation ribbon that ripped in half and blew away in a breeze. If you see Dolly Parton, tell her I loved her in Steel Magnolias and I listen to her all the time in my 1997 Ford Taurus.

  • Meggancover

    Love these kinds of books…I’m adding this one to my summer reading list. Thanks for the post!


    Thanks for reading!