Sunday, November 19, 2017

Book Review: The Heart of Leadership (2013) by Mark Miller

The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow (2013)
by Mark Miller

This book is very enlightening and entertaining business fable (story with lessons). It’s about a young and ambitious man named Blake Brown who desperately wanted promotion but doesn’t have despite his outstanding individual performance. His boss Samantha keeps on telling him that “leaders are different.” In his confusion and frustration, Blake turns to his former mentor, Debbie Brewster, for advice but instead she sends him on a quest to meet five leaders, each of whom hold “a piece of the puzzle he’s trying to solve.” Are you the type of leader people want to follow? You and I can be – this book will show us what sets great leaders apart from all the rest.

Leaders are different”. That wasn’t a new idea for me, but I’m grateful that Mark Miller keeps reminding and emphasizing that. And to be different, I have to have leadership character. “As important as the skills are,” he writes, “lack of skills is not what derails most leaders; skill are too easy to learn. If you want to predict people’s ultimate success as leaders, evaluate not their skills but their leadership character.” Without leadership character no one cares about our skills. That’s true! Here are 5 core traits that together constitute leadership character as Blake learned these from his interviews with great leaders, they represent the HEART of leadership (I add questions for each point instead of nugget of truths found in the book so that you’ll read it for yourself):

#1 Hunger for Wisdom

You need to think of your quest for wisdom as a hunger that will never be satiated.” Good questions to ask myself: Do I see my personal development as one of my highest priorities? Is my calendar reflects the high priority I place on the pursuit of wisdom? Am I invest time on a regular basis with people who help me grow?

#2 Expect the Best

The future has not yet been written – it is written by leaders.” When difficulties arise, am I remain optimist? Am my ‘expect the best’ outlook impacts all areas of my life? Do I consistently demonstrate an ‘expect the best’ attitude? Am I able to grasp reality and still maintain my optimism?

#3 Accept Responsibility

The best leaders don’t blame others. They own their actions and their outcomes.” Am I accept responsibility for my effort and outcomes? Am I willingly accept responsibility for the work of those I lead? When outcomes are not good, am I look to my role in the situation first? And when outcomes are good, am I quick to give praise to others?

#4 Respond with Courage

Leaders usually don’t wait – they initiate.” “Your missed opportunities are often no big deal in isolation. They are, however, cumulative.” Am I willing to make tough decisions? Can people count on me to do the right thing even when it won’t be popular? Is my first instinct when faced with a challenge or opportunity is to act?

#5 Think Others First

The servant leader constantly works to help others win.” “SERVE = See the Future, Engage and Develop Others, Reinvent Continuously, Value Results and Relationships, and Embody the Values.” Do I consider the needs and desires of others before my own? Am I constantly look for ways to add value to others? During my daily activities, do I often find myself serving others? Am I a serving leader?

When I read this book, I no longer thinking of Blake, the main character, but I see myself on the quest of learning and improving my leadership character. His journey of discovery became mine. In the final note, “the heart of leadership is a matter of the heart.” And so as I finished reading this book, I prayed, ‘Lord, only you can change my heart, change it Lord so that I may lead with the HEART of leadership. Amen.’

Seriously, read and apply the principles in this book!
[only RM17.90 at Xcessbook, AmCorp Mall, Petaling Jaya]


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