I got more comments from people as I was reading this book, mostly they were something like, “oh you’re reading The Secret? I’ve heard a lot about that book!”, I’d say “oh have you read it?”, and they’d say “no…”. Although the book is kind of written in an awkward style (a “narrative story” of a woman’s leadership journey), it is full of great leadership building nuggets. To describe the main point in one sentence, this book teaches how important servant leadership is and how it looks in practice. I’d recommend this book to anyone who has a desire to be leader or stimulate growth/change in their organization. Since I know that many of you will probably never read it, I thought I would share some of the real meat of the book. Rather than take up precious front page space here on the old blog, I’ll use the “read more” tool. I totally encourage you to read them though, it will be worth your time.
Here’s the “Secret” of the book: it’s called SERVE, remember this is in the context of becoming a great leader (and yes, it is a cheesy acronym, but hold fast..)
See the Future. Everybody needs to see where they are and where they are going, and how they are getting there.
Engage and Develop Others. Recruit and select the right people. Engage the hearts and the heads of people (don’t just hire hands, win their hearts and minds as well).
Reinvent Continuously. Creativity on three levels. Personal (teachable, humble, hungry for growth), Systems – how are we doing work/ministry?, and Structure (of the organization).
Value Results and Relationships. Building relationships, connecting with people. Listen, invest, care, recognize their efforts.
Embody the Values. Leaders need Credibility. We must not just say it, but show it.
And some of my favorite quotes:
The best teachers are always those who know they haven’t got it all figured out.
You’ve got energy, passion, a teachable spirit, and most important, you’ve grown into a serving leader. (I think these four characteristics are key to a successful staffer).
The work was hard, and we were putting in a lot of overtime. We were tired, but we were energized. (sound like ministry?)
I want to do all I can to make it [the work] as rewarding and enriching as possible for each of you. (this is a goal for me personally as a leader)
Am I a serving leader or a self-serving leader? (quite possibly the most important question a leader can ask)
Questions to ask about your team:
- What is the purpose of your team?
- Where do you want your team to be in five years?
- How many members of your team could tell you what the team is trying to become/achieve?
- What values do you want to drive the behavior of your team?
- How can you communicate your vision of the future of your team?