Review By: Kenan Kurspahic, Mentoring and Advising Center (Advising Programs), Georgia Gwinnett College

Tim Irwin demonstrates the role of an effective leader, and that a great leader establishes themselves through their core, or one’s own beliefs. Thus, if one struggles with their own beliefs, and if one cannot get passed the negatives in their lives, they are ultimately doomed as leaders in their fields. People follow great leaders who demonstrate a strong purpose, a will to make an impact. Great leaders inspire through their words, actions and beliefs, making it that much more personal and meaningful. The book continuously establishes itself as a guide to effective leadership, and it uses the “core” as its main purpose for impact in one’s jobs, careers, and organizations.

The role of barriers is established early on. The author values role models in organizations, but states that one of the biggest barriers to effective leaders is the lack of great role models. We can work with multiple directors and not like what they are doing, and they do not encompass the drive that motivates them and their teams to make an impact on the people they lead. According to Irwin (2014), “We wonder why is it that those who have the most power, often have the least impact” (p. 7). On the other hand, Irwin states that leaders tend to lose their positions ultimately because of their core, rather than their knowledge base. Our core (characters) are what guide our roles in leadership, and even determine if we stay in those roles. Sustaining a strong core will sustain our drive to be effective leaders. 

Irwin, continues with other themes that will not only make us better leaders but also test us along the way. As one grows in his or her career, the amount of power they gain grows within their leadership roles. Self-awareness is a driving force behind leadership, if one is not aware of the good or bad they are contributing to their organizations, they will ultimately either grow as leaders or fail due to their own arrogance. Another core he establishes is that our beliefs will determine how we behave, both through actions and emotions. If we allow our followers to be self-motivated employees, than ultimately they will continue to work in an impactful and meaningful manner, allowing us to lead along with them and continue to fulfill our organizations missions. “As leaders, our job is to secure what our team needs for success” (Irwin, 2014, p. 128).

Impact does a good job of establishing that leaders do not always lead by competence but rather by his or her own beliefs. Our characteristics or core are the driving force for great leadership, and to be effective leaders, we must work on ourselves. Determining purpose and meaning will guide us in our roles, not just as leaders but humans that genuinely want to make a difference in someone’s life. As an advisor, the book contributes to my overall qualities as a mentor to our students, but also allows for a different perspective on how I serve as a mentor. When viewing my own characteristics, the book allows me to evaluate my own beliefs, especially what makes me an effective and impactful mentor to my students. The book also, allows me to reevaluate what I can improve.


Irwin, T. (2014). Impact: Great leadership changes everything. Dallas, TX: BenBella Books.

NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. (2017). NACADA academic advising core competencies model. Retrieved from https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Pillars/CoreCompetencies.aspx.


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