The Habit of Excellence

Langley Sharp


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Penguin Books Ltd
7 October 2021
ISBN: 9780241507506
336 pages

From the publisher

The official British Army book on what makes its leadership so successful, and how to become a better leader yourself - whatever your field.

'An extraordinary read for any leader. Truly brilliant' General Stanley McChrystal, author of Team of Teams

'Offers proven tools and strategies ... This excellent book challenges popular assumptions about British Army leadership, revealing what makes it the "gold standard"' Matthew Syed, author of Rebel Ideas

'If you want to become a better leader, read this book' Eddie Jones, England rugby union coach

The British Army stands or falls on the quality of its leadership. The stakes couldn't be higher. In The Habit of Excellence, Lieutenant Colonel Langley Sharp MBE - head of the Centre for Army Leadership, part of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst - distils over three centuries of the Army's experience in the art, science and practice of leadership.

Exploring questions that are fundamental to leadership in any area of life - how to build trust and cohesion, achieve a balance between control and delegation, and deliver results in the face of adversity - the book draws on Lt Col Sharp's own experience and the latest research in military history, business, sociology, psychology and behavioural science. We see that leadership is not about the heroic exception, but the habitual practice of doing what is right, difficult and necessary every single day to build a team, look after the people in it and work towards the next objective.

This is the first time one of the world's most revered institutions has given an inside and institutional view on what makes its leadership so effective. Going far beyond the latest leadership fads, The Habit of Excellence is for any leader committed to maximising the effectiveness of their teams and unlocking the potential of their people - and themselves.

'Excellent. It's hard to see how any leader, whatever their field, wouldn't benefit from reading and rereading it' New Statesman

'Offers lessons for all managers' Financial Times

'Valuable in any walk of life' General Sir Mike Jackson, former Chief of the General Staff

'This very readable book uncovers the skills and qualities that have made Sandhurst a byword for effective leadership. I could not recommend this exceptional book more' General The Lord David Richards, former Chief of the Defence Staff

'Comprehensive and clearly written, and provides valuable lessons for soldiers and civilians alike' Karin von Hippel, Director-General, RUSI

'A terrific book - one that is full of insights and lessons that will be of enormous value to leaders in all fields!' General David Petraeus, former Director of the CIA