I am certain that all of have experienced some kind of “bad” leadership in our lives. Perhaps it was an elected official who displayed questionable behavior ethically. Perhaps it was an employer who was more concerned with profits and results than the well-being of their employees. Perhaps your “bad” leadership happened in a church setting as a pastor/ministry leader abused their position for self-gain. In his new book “I’ve Got Your Back; a Leadership Parable – biblical Principles for Leading and Following Well”, strategy consultant James Galvin takes on the matter of leadership in a unique and interesting way. Galvin believes that if Jesus were to write a book dealing with leadership today, He would communicate this message in story form.
Galvin’s book is in parable form which takes up the first two-thirds of the book. He chronicles the fictional journey of four college friends learning how to deal with various leadership problems at work and within the church. As these four gather together for Bible study, they realize they need guidance in the area of leadership. They are referred to a mentor who is a retired missionary for help. Through a series of weekly meetings, Jack (the mentor) gives the group assignments to work through while introducing them to good leadership principles. It is in this section that the reader is introduced to an aspect of leadership that is often overlooked and deserving of attention. Galvin describes this aspect as “followership”. He says, “the essence of leadership is helping people follow well.” Galvin says there are our kinds of leadership abusers and four ways to respond to them. The abusers are incompetent, disempowering, manipulative, and toxic. These are the issues that the mentees are dealing with in their own lives. Jack helps them to work through their difficulty by giving the four responses to “bad” leadership. The options are avoid leadership roles, perpetuate the cycle of abuse, hide behind servant leadership, and develop your unique potential. The reader here is introduced to the three types of follower scenarios: Type 1 (following God), Type 2 (following inherited leaders – family and government), and Type 3 (following human beings with or without organizational authority).
The last third of the book is a “Concise Theology of Leadership and Followership”. It is here that Galvin outlines the principles that are woven throughout the parable. Galvin uses extensive amounts of scripture to show the reader how following well in biblical. I enjoyed this book. I appreciate the emphasis on being a good follower as an integral part of leadership. “I’ve Got Your Back” reminds me a great deal of Patrick Lencioni’s “Death by Meeting”. A very practical and challenging work.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Handlebar Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”