Although I haven’t read Harris’ previous book, The Servant Leader’s Manifesto (affiliate link), I would consider Be a J.E.D.I. Leader, Not a Boss a spiritual sequel. His corporate background informs his argument about where corporate interests can grow in a way that serves their employees and their stakeholders, and ultimately, themselves. As they say, write what you know, and Harris knows his audience well without talking down to them or overtly shaming them for being cogs in the machine. It’s one thing to be a cog, but the time is now to dialogue how to move forward. You must put in the work if you want results. The tone felt like a discussion, but not a one-sided one as can often be found in these books. There has been a quiet trend to move away from the “boss” moniker, and Harris points out on page 33 in the Kindle edition that
“‘boss’ comes from the Dutch word ‘base,’ which means ‘master.’”
It has racist connotations that I never thought to question before and evokes the childish retort of “let’s go, Brandon” as of late. I’m officially done using “boss” in any context, whether it’s meant to uplift women or in a corporate setting with the C-suite who could care less about me as an individual.
Overall, I enjoyed the book because it’s deeply rooted in identifying and encouraging people in power to unfurl the furiously capitalist processes that are currently in place and politely demand actionable solutions. The only way we can fix things as they are now is to acknowledge those
“toxic leadership practices created by top-down hierarchies must be replaced in favor of flatter, leaner, more agile, more collaborative, more supportive, and more holistic structures.”
It’s food for thought, and I hope that “boss” types will pick up this book and consider its approach. Harris does point out that while one person can make a change, it will take many people to make that change stick. He uses J.E.D.I. as a jumping-off point to provide the framework of the 6As of action and apply them to the 3Ps. No spoilers here; read the book to find out what they are!