Intelligent Leadership Book Summary



This might just be the best leadership book of 2013.

It’s one of the deepest leadership and personal development books since Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of  Highly Effective People, and Tony Robbins’ Unlimited Power.

It’s that good.

It’s Intelligent Leadership: What You Need to Know to Unlock Your Full Potential, by John Mattone.

Intelligent Leadership is About Great Leadership

It’s a book about great leadershipIntelligent Leadership equips you with the knowledge, skills, and passion you need to become the leader you were meant to be.  It’s a book for any leader who wants to become more effective, strategic, operationally focused, and balanced.  It’s a book for leaders who are striving to take control of their destiny and become the best they can be.

It’s a breakthrough book, and the time is right.  In today’s business environment, leaders at all levels are up against intense challenges in a hyper-competitive global arena.  Intelligent Leadership provides three unique leadership tools – the Wheel of Leadership Success, the Map of Leadership Maturity, and the Leadership Enneagra.  You can use these leadership tools to help you calibrate your leadership abilities so you can focus on your strengths and address weaknesses.

Unleash Your Greatest Leadership Potential

The overall approach of the book is to improve your key tactical competencies (such as communication, critical and strategic thinking, decision making, and talent and team leadership) and integrate them with innner traits like values, character, and beliefs so you can unlock and unleash your greatest leadership potential.

John Mattone is an author, entrepreneur, and leadership coach.  He was recently named to “guru radar” by the Thinkers 50.  John uses his extensive experience to provide you with best practices, authoritative research, practical assessments, and stories that illustrate both good and bad leadership.

No wonder Marshall Goldsmith wrote the foreword.  It’s a powerful book.

Chapters at a Glance

  • Chapter 1 Your Leadership Success Roadmap
  • Chapter 2 The Wheel of Intelligent Leadership: The Outer Core
  • Chapter 3 The Wheel of Intelligent Leadership: The Inner Core
  • Chapter 4 Map of Leadership Maturity – The Enneagram
  • Chapter 5 Understanding Your Helper Leadership Trait
  • Chapter 6 Understanding Your Entertainer Leadership Trait
  • Chapter 7 Understanding Your Artist Leadership Trait
  • Chapter 8 Understanding Your Thinker Leadership Trait
  • Chapter 9 Understanding Your Disciple Leadership Trait
  • Chapter 10 Understanding Your Activist Leadership Trait
  • Chapter 11 Understanding Your Driver Leadership Trait
  • Chapter 12 Understanding Your Arbitrator Leadership Trait
  • Chapter 13 Understanding Your Perfectionist Leadership Trait
  • Chapter 14 The Final Word

What’s In it For You?

Here is a sampling of some of the challenges that Intelligent Leadership helps you with:

  • How to become infinitely more effective, influential, powerful, and successful.
  • How to set leadership development goals and create specific, targeted strategies for strengthening your unique strengths and gifts
  • How to harness the power of character and values
  • How to strengthen your insights into others and develop powerful strategies for connecting with and empowering others.


Here are some of the key features of Intelligent Leadership:

  • Leadership Assessment Tools – Mattone includes the Strategic-Tactical Leadership Index, which helps you gain candid and specific information about your leadership effectiveness.  It helps provide inside into your interpersonal strengths as well as potential areas for improvement.
  • Leadership Development Plan – Mattone includes the Assessment-Driven Individual Development Plan.
  • Leadership Development Strategies – Mattone includes a rich set of development strategies and resources to help you grow your skills and competencies for effective leadership.
  • Leadership Wheel of Success – The Leadership Wheel of Success shows how your fundamentals of character and self-concept translate into your actions.
  • Map of Leadership Maturity – The Map identified 9 specific types of leaders, and helps you examine your own style, strengths, and weaknesses.

Here is a sampling of some of my favorite nuggets from the book …

What is Great Leadership

What is great leadership?  Mattone helps us see what great leadership looks like through a set of attributes:

  • Strong statements of conviction.
  • Character elements of diligence and focus.
  • The ability to handle uncertainty and ambiguity.
  • An understanding of the value of experience and “references” that are the foundation for creating strong and compelling beliefs about what is possible.
  • A powerful sense of optimism.

Leaders of the Future

What does it take to survive and thrive as a leader in today’s world?  It takes more leadership skills.  The pace of change is faster than it’s ever been.   Leaders need to change how they lead, and they need to to help win the race of innovation, global presence, and talent.  Mattone writes:

“Future leaders will need to be savvy conceptual and strategic thinkers, to possess deep integrity and intellectual openness, to find innovative ways to create loyalty, to lead increasingly diverse and independent teams over which they may not always have direct authority, and to have the maturity to relinquish their own power in favor of creating and fostering collaborative approaches inside and outside their organizations.”

The Demand for Truly Outstanding Leaders

The demand of leaders who can collaborate, inspire, and motivate is only going to increase.  Mattone writes:

“Given this indisputable business challenge, the implications for current and emerging leaders is clear: The demand for outstanding leaders will soon surpass the current supply, and therefore, if you are a current leader or emerging leader, you will be able to capitalize on the substantial opportunities if you are poised and ready.  In your own ascent up the ladder, you can be certain that all organizations will be asking more of their leaders; expectations, demands, and pressure will only increase, not decrease.  The demand for truly outstanding leaders has never been higher, and organizations are raising the bar — as they must — in order to compete successfully on the global stage.”

9 Specific Types of Leaders

Mattone identifies 9 specific types of leaders:

  1. The Perfectionist (Type 1)
  2. The Helper (Type 2)
  3. The Entertainer (Type 3)
  4. The Artist (Type 4)
  5. The Thinker (Type 5)
  6. The Disciple (Type 6)
  7. The Activist (Type 7)
  8. The Driver (Type 8)
  9. The Arbitrator (Type 9)

Heart Leaders, Head Leaders, and Gut Leaders

Mattone groups the leadership styles into heart leaders, head leaders, and gut leaders:

Heart Leaders Head Leaders Gut Leaders
  • The Helper
  • The Entertainer
  • The Artist
  • The Thinker
  • The Disciple
  • The Activist
  • The Driver
  • The Arbitrator
  • The Perfectionist


The Perfectionist Leadership Trait

Mattone provides an example of how the Perfectionist Leadership Trait can be matured, to improve the strengths, and limit the liabilities:

The Mature Perfectionist Trait
  • Are satisfied with achieving 80-95 percent of your original goals.
  • Are good at evaluating problems and determining priorities.
  • Are conscientious and self-disciplined.
  • Feel good about yourself if you put forth a good effort, even if the outcome isn’t perfect.
The Middle-of-the-Road Perfectionist Trait
  • Are logical, orderly, and idealistic.
  • Can be rigid, impersonal, and emotionally constricted.
  • Fear making mistakes.
  • Try to be excellent at everything.
The Derailing Perfectionist Trait
  • Are dogmatic and inflexible.
  • Believe you are never wrong and always have to be right.
  • Have unattainable ideals and are impossible to please or satisfy.
  • Rationalize your actions to maintain your “logical” position.
  • Enjoy proving others wrong.


The Wheel of Intelligent Leadership

Mattone’s Wheel of Intelligent Leadership is a leadership competency model consists of an inner-core and outer-core, as follows:

Inner Core (Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Elements)

  • Self-Concept and Character (Values, Beliefs, and References)
  • Thoughts
  • Emotions
  • Behavioral Tendencies

Outer-Core (9 Competencies)

  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Decision Making
  3. Strategic Thinking
  4. Emotional Leadership
  5. Communication Skills
  6. Talent Leadership
  7. Team Leadership
  8. Change Leadership
  9. Drive for Results

How is the Wheel of Intelligent Leadership Unique?

According to Mattone, the Wheel of Intelligent Leadership is unique in that it shows the predictive power of the inner and outer core.   Mattone writes:

“The Wheel of Intelligent Leadership is unique in that no other current leadership competency models describe and detail these predictive relationships and the power of the inner-/outer-core connection in driving leadership.  The Wheel of Intelligent Leadership has clear implications for how you, as the leader or emerging leader, can best calibrate and recalibrate your inner and outer cores.  Once you understand your inner and outer cores (as well as their complex interactions) and you learn how each core (and complex interaction) truly drives and shapes your behavior and the outcomes you experience as a leader, you will be

better equipped to successfully navigate the challenges and trends.”

Predictive Relationships of the Inner and Outer Core

Mattone illustrates how our self-concept and character influence our actions:

Self-Concept and Character (values, beliefs, and references) influence Thoughts, which influence Emotions, which influence Behavioral Tendencies, which influence Tactical/Strategic Competencies, which influence Self-Concept and Character.

The Map of Leadership Maturity

Matton’s Map of Leadership Maturity helps you build a roadmap for your personal development as a more effective leader.  Mattone writes:

“… the Map of Leadership Maturity, a powerful tool that provides you with the framework and roadmap for exploring and distinguishing between the nine distinct predominant traits defining great leadership.  The Map is a powerful tool for helping you — the leader or future leader, regardless of level.  It helps you gain an understanding of the degree of maturity that you exhibit in the values, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of your own predominant trait, as well as in other eight traits that comprise your unique leadership fingerprint.  You will learn that being a successful leader is less a function of your predominant trait and much more a function of the relative maturity with which you evidence your predominant trait — and each of your other eight traits.  You will learn specific strategies on how you can strengthen your maturity within all your traits.  You will learn specific strategies for building rapport, trust, and credibility with individuals who present a different predominant trait than yours.  In addition to learning key insights about their leadership styles, you will build your knowledge and skills so that you can more successfully lead different style types.”

6-Step Process Leadership Development Process

Mattone includes a six-step process for leadership development:

  • Step 1: Analysis of Your Job (review Map of Success or relevant competency model)
  • Step 2: Review of Perception-Based Assessments (360’s, Self, and Reviews)
  • Step 3: Review of Objective-Based Assessments
  • Step 4: Data Integration — Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Skills, Competencies)
  • Step 5: Data Integration Summary – 3x3x3x3
  • Step 6: Development Planning

Development Strategies for Employee Engagement

Mattone provides specific and prescriptive development strategies to help you build your leadership skills and abilities.  Here is an example where Mattone shares some development strategies where the competency is “Emotional Leadership/Talent Leadership”, and the skill is “Creating the conditions where employees are challenged and engaged.”:

  • Look for opportunities to increase your employees authority and accountability.  As their capabilities increase, give them decision-making responsibility in areas for which your approval was formerly required.
  • Add new tasks to jobs to widen the variety of skills needed.  This will reduce boredom and increase motivation.  Look for opportunities to assign tasks to individuals that are out of their typical comfort zone.
  • Remember that empowerment means sharing both responsibility and authority.  Responsibility without authority isn’t fair to employees, and authority without responsibility is dangerous for you.
  • When you do give team members increased responsibility and authority, be sure to follow up and provide support as needed.  And be tolerant of mistakes as people try new skills.
  • Focus your feedback and recognition on skills development in addition to performance results.  It a team member did just okay on an assignment but learned something new in the process, then that’s worthy of your attention.

Get the Book

Intelligent Leadership: What You Need to Know to Unlock Your Full Potential, by John Mattone is available on Amazon:

Intelligent Leadership: What You Need to Know to Unlock Your Full Potential, by John Mattone

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  1. Thanks for this book review JD. I’m always on the lookout for good reads on leadership. This one has got me thinking on what “The Entertainer” type of leadership is. Does the book give examples of the type(s) of leadership that has shown to be effective in dealing with different scenarios?

    • Great question.

      The book provides examples and scenario-based insight for each of the leadership traits. For each trait, it provides an overview, how to recognize bad and good behaviors for that trait, specific weakness and strengths, tips for building the strengths, tips for interacting with others more effectively based on the trait, and exercises to mature your trait for more effective leadership.

      The exercises also prompt you to think of scenarios and situations where the trait surfaced and how it helped or hurt, and how to take it to the next level.

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