The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John C. Maxwell–Book Review

The Fanning the Flame process our congregation embarked on over a year ago taught me that good leaders are lifelong learners.  Leadership is one of the things we need to cultivate among our members, and so I checked this book out of the local library in the hopes I would find some suggestions about how to do that.

I actually expected it to be rather dull, and it has been on the bottom of my reading stack for a while now.  Surprisingly, once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down!  Far from a boring, business treatise, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader takes a hard look at leaders from many arenas — church, sports, politics and more.

Each chapter focuses on one quality.  There are quotes, real life examples, a succinct listing of the characteristics of a person with that quality, reflection questions, suggestions to grow that quality in yourself and finally a daily “take-away” with another example that reinforces the theme of the chapter.  Each chapter if short — about 5 pages.

I read it quickly, but the author actually intends it to be read slowly, so that the information can be digested and put into practice. The qualities are:

  1.  Character
  2.  Charisma
  3.  Commitment
  4.  Communication
  5.  Competence
  6.  Courage
  7.  Discernment
  8. Focus
  9.  Generosity
  10.  Initiative
  11.  Listening
  12.  Passion
  13.  Positive Attitude
  14.  Problem Solving
  15.  Relationships
  16.  Responsibility
  17. Security
  18.  Self-Discipline
  19.  Servanthood
  20.  Teachability
  21.  Vision

VERDICT:  5 Stars!  I went out and bought my own copy and suggested that my husband use it as a training tool with our council and elders.

For more on leadership see these posts:

Fanning the Flame #20 –The Leadership Dynamic

Servant Leadership

Luther on Leadership edited by David D. Cook—Book Review

The Spiritual Gift of Leadership

Fanning the Flame #10 Continued … Creating a Culture for Change

This is a continuation of my post from yesterday, which discussed Pastor Harry Reeder’s talk about how leaders create a culture for change.  Listening to it was part of our teaming process.

Lay leaders are also important in any transitional process.  Here are some of the ways they contribute to successful change:

  • Take a pulse of the congregation;  let the Pastor know where the people are in the process
  • Pray with and for individuals in the congregation
  • Remember the Pastor can’t shepherd everybody so lay leaders can be there for fellow members who are hurting
  • Find ways to communicate change

Good change agents know that VISION PROMOTES CHANGE.  We must all have a vision of what we want our congregation to look like, and we must communicate that to others.  Harry Reeder says successful change agents should:

  • Bring change respectfully, not judgmentally
  • Start with affirmation
  • Be patient
  • Find a way to be a good loser (not every change will be accepted)
  • Use logic and passion to persuade with gentleness and without emotional manipulation
  • Don’t surprise people
  • Admit your own mistakes

I found this CD both inspiring and helpful.  One big takeaway — good leaders build morale and achieve consensus.  That’s what we’re working toward here at St. Paul’s.  Readers, pray for us to be successful.