Research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) in 2023 revealed that a staggering 82% of managers have had no formal management and leadership training. Dubbed “accidental managers”, these untrained leaders can unintentionally damage the productivity, motivation and morale of their teams, often by giving way to the feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy that accompany imposter syndrome. The research also revealed that 31% of managers and 28% of workers have left a job because of a poor relationship with their manager.

Sue Musson is passionate about ensuring all leaders have access to a comprehensive and practical toolkit, helping them to be primed and ready to inspire others and to navigate the inevitable challenges that leadership brings. In her new book Firecracker Leadership, Sue draws upon her extensive leadership experience, including thirty years in senior executive and non-executive roles in the private and public sectors.  As a former chair of three of the UK’s most significant healthcare organisations and as a current panel chair appointing UK judges, Sue utilises her cross-sector expertise to reinforce the importance of what she coins “The Firecracker Leadership Framework”.

“The Firecracker Leadership Framework” incorporates all the head, hands and heart skills that characterise successful leadership. It is not uncommon for leaders to lack skill in one of these areas; some leaders who are completely focused on activity and performance goals (head) or their own technical abilities (hands), often see the emotional side of leadership as irrelevant or soft (heart). Conversely, an overly empathetic leader can sometimes be reluctant to inject urgency or direction into their leadership approach. It is only when the 15 head, hands and heart skills are in abundance and in balance that leaders can fully unlock their ability to inspire others to succeed.

Within each chapter, Sue delves into the real-life challenges faced by leaders, offering practical, “how to” advice and compelling case studies that inform, reassure, amuse and challenge readers.


Guiding the reader through her full circle approach, she initially introduces how leaders can inspire and set purpose, two fundamental abilities that attract talent, commitment and effort.  She subsequently introduces key tactics to build and motivate teams, including best practice in recruitment, onboarding, retention, celebration and providing meaningful feedback. Sue’s hands-on expertise in her fields ensures readers are equipped with a useful reference guide to navigating leadership challenges such as addressing poor performance and delivering difficult decisions.

Reflecting on the skills necessary for leaders to manage their own mindset, Sue covers how to cope with personal and professional crises, how to survive the leadership fishbowl, how to become a role model and how to stay resilient. Honing these vital personal growth areas provides leaders with the humility and strength they need to become exceptional.

This thought-provoking material is a must-read for human resource and organisation development professionals seeking to address leadership training needs within their organisations.

Jam-packed with insightful stories from Sue’s impressive leadership career, including hosting visits from the Prince and Princess of Wales, Firecracker Leadership is the perfect read for aspiring and established leaders looking to supercharge their leadership skillset to become the confident, intuitive and effective leader they have the potential to be.