Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Don's book report this month is a little longer than usual, but it is worth every word.  Enjoy and learn!  Begin below!

I recommend books to read for the leadership teams with which I work. We read a little bit each month and discuss our 'Take-A-Ways'.

I've used a couple of John C. Maxwell's Teamwork and Leadership books (he is one of the world's best teachers of leadership)

In fact, last December (2014)  I reviewed 'The 17 Essential Qualities Of A Team Player' in this space.  I recommend books and my clients generally accept my recommendations.

So, in November 2015 Andy Wolfe, President of Arronco Comfort Systems in Burlington, Kentucky announced to his leadership team and me that the next book we would study together would be John C. Maxwell's ' The Five Levels of Leadership'.

This was a proud and humbling moment for me.

I am proud of Andy. He is action not reaction. His company has grown from 10 people to over 55. This is the third time I've been invited back to work on a monthly basis since 2000. I'm proud to be able to work with such a great group of people.

I was humbled. It wasn't my idea and in fact, I never heard of the book.

So, I read it and this is what I think.  Wow! Maxwell has been focusing on Leadership for over 35 years.  This book is at the core of his teaching.

In 286 pages he reveals those five levels and for each he:

·         Explores the critical definition

·         Focuses on the Upside

·         Examines the Downside

·         Talks about the 'Laws of Leadership

·         Points out how you can move to the next level

In each of the discussions about levels are wonderful stories which illustrate the insightful points he wants us to understand.  In the discussion of Level 1- Position he uses this analysis from the Andy Griffith Show.  "Barney Fife was your typical positional leader. His desire to feel important and have authority created many humorous story lines. Armed with one bullet and a badge, he took every opportunity to let people know he was in charge.  In contrast, Sheriff Andy who seemed to spend all of his time being a calming influence on his misguided deputy, had real authority and power. But he rarely used his position to get things done."

In the discussion of Level 2-Permission he uses the following story to illustrate his  point.

Peter, a successful businessman, had the opportunity to have breakfast at Nelson Mandela's home. He asked Dumi, one of his company drivers, to take him there. Peter reflects on that time.  "I felt both extremely  elated and humbled that Mr. Mandela was waiting outside for me. He warmly greeted the driver and me. He then gestured that we enter the house. However, in the traditional ways of corporate behavior and protocol, the driver retreated quietly and remained in the car. Mr. Mandela invited me to the breakfast table. Just before we started eating, my host seemed to miss something. He asked, 'Peter, I thought there were two of you.' I responded, 'No, sir, I came alone' 'What about the other gentleman? He insisted, and I replied, 'No, sir. That one is just a driver. He will wait in the car.' At that point Mr. Mandela stood up and went out to where the driver was. He introduced himself to the driver and asked him to join us for breakfast. Mr. Mandela then walked to the kitchen and said, 'Dumi is joining us for breakfast. Can we have another plate, please."  Peter continued, "When leaders learn to see the personalities that lie behind these seemingly humble titles the people in those jobs do not just feel appreciated, they discover and walk into new horizons of their lives."

I could provide stories from each level. I've identified 66 Take-A-Ways from this book.

But, you get the idea.

Get the book.

Read the book.

It's worth your time.