Book Review

A Game Plan for Effective Leadership

by Robert Palestini, Rowman and Littlefield Education, Lanham, Md., 2008, 231 pp. $75 hardcover, $29.95 softcover

A Game Plan for Effective Leadership uses the case study approach to facilitate moving theory into practice. Each chapter studies how a successful basketball coach usesleadership theory. Among the subjects are Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Bobby Knight, Mike Krzyzewski, Dean Smith, Pat Summitt, John Thompson and John Wooden.

A Game Plan for Effective Leadership


Author Robert Palestini examines situational leadership and emphasizes four frames of reference, as developed by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal. These are structural, human resource, political and symbolic. Each frame is analyzed and examples are given to demonstrate how the coaches effectively used the four leadership styles.

Structural leaders focus on implementation. They emphasize rationality, logic, fact and data. Human resource leaders believe in people and communicate that belief. They are passionate about productivity through people. Political leaders mobilize the resources needed to advocate for their course-meeting goals and objectives. The symbolic leader attempts to communicate the right impressions to the right audiences.

At the end of the book, readers may self-administer the Heart Smart Organizational Diagnosis test, yielding diagnoses in 10 areas that allow the reader to determine an organization’s strengths and weaknesses.

The most interesting parts of the book were the examples about the coaches’ implementation of situational leadership and the Heart Smart scoring sheet.

Reviewed by Paul A. Shaw, superintendent, White County, Ga.