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Leadership with young people reviewed


Title: Leadership with young people
Author: Peter Barnes
Publisher: Russell House Publishing
Price: £12.95
ISBN: 1903855071

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Leadership is near the top of every organisation’s agenda. Witness the millions of pounds spent by the government on leadership programmes with the National Health Service. It comes as no surprise then that every bookshop in the country carries a wide selection of books on leadership, some expansive volumes and some less so. Some of them reasonably priced others apparently less so, some indeed bordering on the ridiculous. Each volume claims to give you something that the others do not. However it takes something special to stand out from among the crowd.

In terms of size and price this volume is unremarkable. Whilst reasonably priced, it is at the smaller end of the market; just 115 pages. Where it does differ from others on the market is in its focus. As its title suggests it is aimed at those working with young people whether in the voluntary or statutory sector. Unlike many books it does not claim to provide any startling new insights or systems but the application of tried and tested theories to a particular situation.

The book provides an insight to and application of the component parts of leadership. It deals with in turn communication, motivation, teamwork- including barriers to it both in general terms and those specific to young people. Other topics covered include problem solving, learning, reviewing and giving feedback, measuring success and rules roles and responsibilities. Three chapters are slightly different to the rest in that they are specific to working with young people. The chapter on working with different of young people, e.g. young men or challenging young people has a variety of expert authors. There is a well written chapter on looking after yourself and others that is in the main only applicable only to those working with young people. “Leading young people outdoors” may seem very specific. However the section concerning risk has considerable wider application.

Peter Barnes writes in an extremely accessible fashion, he has distilled a variety of theories down into this book, whilst not losing their essential flavour. The cross referencing within the book allows the reader to place each idea within its wider context. He is quite specific that he is aiming to produce a book that appeals to those both leading young people and those aiming to develop leadership in young people. However anyone looking for a primer or leadership ideas could do worse than to access this book.

Reviewed by Patric Devitt
Psynergy Consulting


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