Plot: Barber cleverly melds her professional expertise with useful guidance, offering readers concrete steps to improve leadership and flourish in their chosen field. Though Barber’s main focus is towards larger corporations, her concepts and advice will resonate with individuals as well.
Prose: The prose skillfully spotlights Barber’s ideas in ways that are engaging and understandable. Readers will find the style sensible and easy-to-follow.
Originality: Barber’s focus on increasing reader perception, in addition to building up their general business acumen, is a unique approach to this business model and lends the work an original feel.
Character/Execution: Barber breaks down a fairly broad idea into conceivable steps and offers client interviews and scenarios that will help readers implement the techniques in their daily lives. There are moments in the guide that delve into the mindsets behind common barriers to success—these provide Barber’s audience with a deeper insight into the behaviors driving their business issues.
Date Submitted: January 22, 2023
“You have so much potential, but you sit at the back of the room in meetings and don’t say a word,” a mentor once said to her. “Why do you even show up?” With The Visibility Factor, Barber offers a similar (albeit less sharp-elbowed) intervention for readers. She writes as an engaged, encouraging coach, drawing on over a quarter of a century’s experience at a major corporation as she lays out clear steps (create status reports; develop a coterie of advisers; set a vision; challenge the status quo) essential to achieving a positive visibility. She’s generous with real-world anecdotes, drawn from her life and those of people she’s mentored. Crucially, Barber acknowledges and addresses the common reservations and even fears that make invisibility appealing, and she mines her own struggles with impostor syndrome for memorable lessons. “To keep you safe, impostor syndrome keeps you out of action,” she notes.
Barber includes all the action steps, reflection questions, pragmatic lists, leadership scorecards, and catchy acronym-based processes that readers might expect. Still, her book’s most valuable element might be its thorough detailed accounts of the actual workplace experiences of leaders Barber has mentored. Relatable and inspiring, they tend to voice the uncertainties and excuses that readers might harbor themselves; seeing a frustrated leader like “Nicole” go from feeling “stuck and unsure” whether she should stay on a company that wastes her time in constant meetings to someone who now shapes the job and key company priorities is satisfying and persuasive.
Takeaway: A clear-eyed, persuasive, and encouraging guide to standing out for the better as a leader within a company.
Great for fans of: Carol Kinsey Goman’s Stand Out: How to Build Your Leadership Presence, Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A