Cashman's book challenges readers to examine what guides their behaviours; their persona or their character. Those guided by persona, argues Cashman, make their choices in order to preserve image and control, self-interest, the desire to win at all costs, resistance to change, and other negative attributes. Whereas those guided by character make their choices based on their purpose, being open, and display trust, compassion, courage, inclusion, and adaptability. The essence of character, Cashman suggests, comes from deep within ourselves. Cashman's observations of leaders has brought him to the conclusion that there are seven pathways required to build leadership:
Pathway One: Personal Mastery, is leading through authentic self-expression. It is the ability to live with integrity, and to have congruence between who we are and what we do. Authentic self-expression is speaking from our character, and allowing us to create trust, synergy and connection with everyone around us.
Pathway Two: Purpose Mastery, is leading by expressing our gifts to create value. In this pathway, Cashman explores purpose. A leader who knows his purpose will live with character and know his direction.
Pathway Three: Interpersonal Mastery, is leading through synergy and service. Synergy and service are used in this pathway, as relationship building is examined with a view to authenticity. In terms of sevice, Cashman suggests that “Ultimately, a leader is not judged by how well he or she leads, but how well he or she serves.” (Cashman, p. 110)
Pathway Four: Change Mastery, is leading with agility. The leader who leads with character is adaptable and open. Stephen Covey has said that there are only three constants in life: Change, Choice and Character. Cashman challenges a leader to maintain personal values and principles of character when adapting to change.
Pathway Five: Resilience Mastery, is leading with mastery. It is the ability to choose activities that build energy to continue being a quality leader, rather than choosing activities that diminish energy and leave one unbalanced.
Pathway Six: Being Mastery, is leading with presence. This pathway requires continuous development and self-awareness.
Pathway Seven: Action Mastery, is leading through coaching. It is about building awareness, commitment, and practices for coaching self and others. It is a challenge to capitalize on potential, both inside and out.
Cashman challenges readers to “Commit to the lifelong process of authentically growing as a person in order to grow as a leader.” The book is written with suggestions for practice and questions to consider.
Cashman, Kevin. Leadership From the Inside Out: Becoming a Leader for Life. Minneapolis: TCLG, IIc, 1998