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

The Respectful Leader by Gregg Ward — Book Review

Although this is not specifically Christian, my borrowed copy came from Liberty University, so it is being read by Christians.  I’ve been studying a variety of books on leadership since that was a focus of our Fanning the Flame process (see Fanning the Flame #20 –The Leadership Dynamic).

The author, Gregg Ward, makes his point about respectful leading (which he also calls servant leadership) by creating a business “fable.”  Des Hogan, newly hired CEO of COR-Med has a mission — turn this failing subsidiary around in 6 months.  He’s surrounded by disrespect on all sides — employees and his boss.  Only Grace, an older maintenance employee seems to have the coaching skills necessary to help Des create a team that can improve performance.  It all hinges on respect.

Respectful Leadership is defined as:

“… giving others –regardless of their (or your) rank or status–the same kind of genuine regard and consideration that you want them to give you.”

It takes intentionality, emotional intelligence and conscious, consistent effort to lead respectfully, sincerely and effectively.

The benefits of respectful leading?

  • You will be more respected
  • Your team will be more respectful, productive, collaborative, trusting. loyal and willing to go the extra mile when necessary
  • You’ll be more resilient and better able to lead during times of transition and crisis
  • You will experience greater composure, confidence and satisfaction in your work
  • You will make a positive difference with others

Certainly all Christians who are leaders — and we all lead someone–should be respectful, servant leaders both within the congregation and in their workplaces.  This short book gives a list of helpful “dos” and “don’ts” that will help anyone improve their leadership style.

VERDICT:  5 stars