Book Review : The Leadership Handbook–26 Critical Lessons Every Leader Needs

26lessonsArguably, John Maxwell is the most prolific writer on the subject of leadership in our world today. With over thirty years of leadership in religious and secular circles, he has helped countless leaders sharpen and hone their leadership skills and styles. I for one have benefited greatly from his books and conferences. Recently I finished this latest book, “The Leadership Handbook: 26 Critical Lessons Every Leader Needs”. I have often found that authors don’t deliver on the promises of the book’s title. “The Leadership Handbook” is not one of those books. Without a doubt this book is a collection of his previous works that been put together concisely in handbook format. As the title suggests, there are twenty-six chapters which each leadership lesson given an entire chapter for explanation and application. Leadership lessons such as The Best Leaders Are Listeners, Keep Learning to keep Leading, Don’t Manage Your Time – Manage Your Life, The Choices You Make, Make You, among others, are included. Maxwell has included two helpful resources at the end of every chapter. First, each lesson has Application Exercises which are questions for internal reflection that challenge the reader on the subject covered. Also included is a Mentoring Moment. This resource helps the reader share the lesson with other he/she may be mentoring at the moment. Both of these resources are valuable.

There are a few drawbacks to this book. If you have read extensively behind Maxwell in the past, there is nothing new here. I was hoping for something I had not been read before. Instead I was reminded of what I already knew. The major drawback to this book is that it’s a re-print of Maxwell’s 2008 book Leadership Gold. If you have read Leadership Gold you should skip this book. This fact is contained in the fine print on the opening pages. I don’t mind revisions, but I would like to know beforehand if an old book was given a new name and published as new. This seems to be misleading on behalf of the publisher. With that being said, I would still recommend this book due to its timeless content which is challenging, encouraging, and applicable to daily life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson 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.”

Book Review : The Maxwell Leadership Bible

maxwellI must admit that I am a fan of John Maxwell. For years now he has been a personal source of encouragement and inspiration when it comes to matters of effective leadership. Many of his works remain best-sellers and have become timeless resources for leaders in all types of leadership positions. When I discovered that Maxwell had leant his leadership expertise to the creation of a leadership Bible, whether or not I would read it was never in question. The Maxwell Leadership Bible; Lessons in Leadership from the Word of God is Maxwell’s latest work which combines the NIV Bible with a host of leadership tips, secrets, principles, and strategies woven throughout. With all the Bibles available today, why is another one needed? Maxwell writes, “The best source of leadership teaching today is the same as it has been for thousands of years. If you want to learn leadership, go to the greatest Book on leadership ever written – the Bible.”

The resources contained with this Bible are immense. The best way to highlight them is to simply list what you will find within the pages of this NIV Bible.

• The Maxwell Leadership Bible offers dozens of “Profiles in Leadership”. These profiles highlight specific leadership traits of people such as Nehemiah, Samuel, Elijah, Priscilla, Elisha, and Paul to name a few.

• The Maxwell Leadership Bible provides a solid introduction to each of the Bible’s books looking specifically at the leaders, leadership lessons and highlights contained in each.

• The Maxwell Leadership Bible weaves his well-known 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership throughout its pages. Laws such as the Law of Influence (all leaders influence whether negatively or positively), the Law of Sacrifice (a leader must give up to go up) and many others. Articles and features appear throughout that highlight prime examples of these “laws.” A very helpful chart is found on pages 1282-1283 where Maxwell unveils “Jesus and the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”. Excellent.

• Indexes highlight of excerpts from other books such as 25 Ways to Win With People, Talent is Never Enough, The 360 Degree Leader, The Difference Maker, and Winning With People to name a few.

The Maxwell Leadership Bible is a winner. Smartly assembled and written with leadership development in mind, the unique approach to this Bible will without a doubt pay dividends to the reader. The only negative points I could offer would be that there is almost no margin for personal notes as the reader interacts with the content. Also, I am not a personal fan of the NIV version. Aside from that, Maxwell has given us a tremendous resource that will aid each reader in becoming a better leader. I highly recommend to all.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Harper Collins Publishers and BookLook Bloggers 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.”

Book Review : Next Generation Leader

leaderLeadership. Those who have been given charge over others often struggle with the nuts and bolts of it. Questions swirl around this subject in the areas of leadership principles, characteristics of successful leaders, and indicators of dysfunctional leadership. The mere mention of leadership brings to mind certain authors who have written extensively on leadership. Men such as Al Mohler, John Maxwell, and Stephen Covey are powerful and influential voices today in this arena. However, another voice has emerged in the circles of leadership. Andy Stanley, pastor of Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta, GA has written a book entitled, “Next Generation Leader; Five Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future”. Stanley has emerged as a leadership voice to a younger generation. From his leadership podcasts to Catalyst Conferences, he provides leadership principles in a fresh and exciting light. He writes, “My passion is to help equip you to become a leader whose life is marked by qualities that ensure a no-regrets experience for those who choose to follow; a leader who leaves this world in better shape than he found it.”

Stanley divides his book into five sections. In each of these sections, he zeroes in on the important traits and qualifications that he believes makes an effective leader. The five sections are: competence, courage, clarity, coaching, and character. In the first section, competence, Stanley states that leaders must focus their energy toward the areas of leadership they have the greatest capacity to succeed in. He stresses the importance of maximizing you strengths and delegating your weaknesses. In the second section, courage, he shares that a leader is not always the smartest one in the office. Leaders possess courage to initiate action and move ahead. In the third section, clarity, Stanley shares that the leader cannot be vague, instead, he/she must clear, even if uncertain. He writes, “Uncertainty will not be your undoing as a leader. However, your inability to give a clear directive in the midst of uncertainty might very well be the thing that takes you out or causes you to plateau in your career”. In the fourth section, coaching, he emphasizes that regardless of how good or talented you are, everyone needs coaching to take us to the next level. In the fifth section, character, Stanley talks about the importance of “moral accountability” and how the personal life of a leader determines their followship.

Stanley has written a good book. It is not a difficult read, only 158 pages. The strengths of the book are his personal experiences and transparency. He allows the reader to learn from his past mistakes. He also utilizes scripture in a way that is especially insightful. As with all of his books, Stanley’s writing style is engaging, easy-to-follow, and profoundly simplistic. As far as weaknesses go, from a church leader’s stand point, it is a bit narrow and did not expand upon leadership challenged unique to church leadership. Overall, a great work. I recommend it to all who have been given the privilege to lead others.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah 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.”

Book Giveaway : Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

It is time for me to give away another book from my bookshelf.  I am giving away a copy of John Maxwell’s  Everyone Communicates, Few Connect from Thomas Nelson Publishers. Maxwell is arguably the world’s most respected expert in the area of leadership. In Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, Maxwell shows what effective people do differently in the area of communication that make them successful. You can read my review here.

To be entered to win, you must do (2) things.

1. Follow my blog by clicking on the button at the bottom of the page.

2. Answer the following question by leaving your answer in the comment stream.

It’s that simple. Contest will stay open until midnight Thursday, September 20th.  I will choose a winner based on the most unique answers given. The winner will be announced winner here on Friday, September 21st. Good luck, here is your question.

In 20 words or less, what do you feel is the greatest barrier to effective communication?

 

Book Review: Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

 How many times have you connected with the person to whom you were listening? Perhaps it was a teacher who made a difficult subject interesting and fun. Maybe it was a conference speaker who provided the motivation you needed to keep going in a less-than-glamorous job. What was it that moved them from simply talking to connecting? It was their ability to understand the listener and care more for their listener than for themselves. John Maxwell, in his new book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, offers solid guidance and real-life tools to help leaders and other communicators move from simply talking to an audience to making real connections by making every word count. Maxwell defines connecting as “the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them”.

 I am a fan of Maxwell and a past-reader of his work. As usual his simplistic yet insightful style of writing makes this book an easy read. He does a great job of mixing his content with real-life experiences which add to the credibility of his writing. Maxwell offers five connecting principles and five connecting practices. He helps the reader to understand why connecting with the listener is important. He then goes on to give the reader the nuts and bolts of how to better connect. The highlight of the book, in my opinion, is chapter six where Maxwell talks about how crucial it is to find common ground with the listener. On the other hand, the book does have a low point that I struggled with.  In chapter five, Maxwell gives way to his writer, Charlie Wetzel, in order that he might tell how good of a communicator Maxwell is. To me, this section seemed out of place and unnecessary. I wish this portion had been left out.

I was challenged by this book. As a pastor, I speak to many people in many different settings. This book made me aware of the fact that speaking is not enough. As a communicator, I can’t assume that my words and messages are received by my listeners just because I share them. This book has led me to understand that I need to be more intentional in my speaking. Whether you are a communicator in the business sector, the educational field, or the pastoral ministry, I highly recommend this book to you as an aid to making every word count.