#5 The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make by Hans Finzel 2007

Why another book on leadership?

They grab me.  I like hearing about what other people think and do in order to be successful.   I am ever in search of formulas—even though I know there’s not one—or secret keys to a better you.  That type of stuff.  Not that they work, or that I buy into many of their methods.  It’s just too easy to be a sloth and plunge head first into habits that render me useless.  BUT!  His mercies are new every morning, so here I go again, picking up a book that doesn’t really speak to where I am in life and career today.  And, surely it will have some gems and takeaways that I can pray into my life for now or save for later.  That’s how I do it when I read.  I intentionally pray—usually not out loud: “God, I want that.”

Here is my favorite takeaway from the book: 

“Great leaders … inspire us to go places we would never go on our own and attempt things we never thought we had in us.”

I’ve had some wonderful leaders in my life. I began taking stock and thanking God for them.  Like the one who gave me this book, my professor and friend, John.  I asked him for this book when I was packing up his office about five years ago.  He said, “it’s yours.”  Never was there a man as kind as he, as I sat in his preaching classes.  The only female.   The affirmation I received during that season of my life was invaluable.  His encouragement made me think that God had gifted me in ways I didn’t have the guts to dream for myself. He embodied this “great leader” theme for me personally.

Then there was the guy who appointed me to be a dean in a seminary.  Against all odds—and even opposition—he promoted me to this wonderful position shortly after I graduated with a masters of divinity degree. 

I loved Frank’s leadership style.  He embodies this book. Specifically, he is a servant leader.  Now watching him on TV these past two weeks as he led the Colts in a great comeback to be in the NFL playoffs, I can still see he is that kind of leader.  One of my favorite memories was when I went to him, telling him that a member of his staff was about to loose it due to the heavy load that was put on her.  His immediate response was, “tell me what to do.”  So I did, and he quickly implemented my suggestions.   I love that!  Will never forget it.  Oh, and there is that time he sang the country song, “I Wanna Talk About Me.”  Indeed a moment that is seared into mind.  I digress.  Frank was always encouraging as a leader.  He let me know with certainty that if I messed up, he would quickly have my back.  The trajectory of my life was changed because of his influence, and I will be grateful forever.  That’s what great leaders do.  They lift other people up. They inspire. They delight in shining the light outwardly, not inwardly. 

Now, in case you’re wondering what it is that leaders SHOULD be doing, I’ve put a positive spin on the author’s top ten list: 

1. Be a servant leader.

2. Be a people-first leader.

3. Affirm others.

4. Appreciate mavericks.

5.  Involve others in decision-making.

6.  Delegate—no micromanaging.

7. Communicate often.

8. Evolve and escape corporate culture.

9. Groom your successors.

10. Prepare for the future.

#6 Everybody Always by Bob Goff – 2017

I listened—not read—Everybody Always as I walked my treadmill.  My friend, Julia, recommended it.  I enjoy watching Julia love everybody always.  

Bob Goff is positively delightful to listen to while walking.  He loves well.  I can’t tell you how well he loves.  I think it’s a gift.  Because without gifting from the Holy Spirit, I don’t think it is possible to love like this. 

This is the kind of love I need to be praying for in my own life.  We all could use a dose of what this guy is selling, and it Jesus with skin on.  He errs on the side of love.  He loves the unlovable.  Talk about needing a role model to emulate – I believe this guy is it for this present age.  Here’s one of the things I love about him:  he has office hours at Disneyland once a week!  He just goes there to hang out and if anyone wants to come hang with him, they know where to find him.  Ha!   

This is the kind of book I come away from needing to repent for my own unloving heart and then partner with my Savior to look more like him to those I’d prefer to avoid.  Such a hard balance.  But I do believe the more we are His, the more we are strengthened spiritually to love everybody always.