Sunday, July 14, 2019

BOOK REVIEW The Mystical Leader: The Seven Myths of Leadership (2017) by Ron Edmondson

The Mystical Leader: The Seven Myths of Leadership (2017) by Ron Edmondson

What a productive day! I enjoy reading this book and appreciate how Ron explains each myth with his own examples honestly and thoughtful. I love that he didn't push too much with Christian message but outlines his ideas practically and do-able.

Here is a fact: the church - and organizations and non-profits - need stronger leaders. But many leaders suffer from seven common misunderstandings of leadership, making them weak and ineffective. Ron writes, "In my long career in business and government leadership, and now after serving in church planting and church revitalization, I've found the problems churches face are generally the same. We need better leadership."

Here are The Seven (7) Myths with simple summary for each chapter:

1) A Position Will Make Me a Leader. Some believe simply has a big or fancy title makes them a leader. Not true. I’ve known many people with huge positions whom no one was truly following. They may give out orders and command certain obedience, but no one is willingly following their lead. They may be a boss, but “I wouldn’t call them a leader,” writes Ron.

2) If I Am Not Hearing Anyone Complain, Everyone Must Be Happy. Have you ever heard of passive aggression? The fact is sometimes the leader is the last to know about a problem. Some people are intimidated by leadership. Other times, they don’t know how to approach the leader, so they complain to others, but not the leader. And, sometimes, as the author said, the way I’m leading dictates who tells me what I really need to know.

3) I Can Lead Everyone the Same Way. So not true. It simply doesn’t work. Actually, people are different and require different leadership styles. The author not saying it’s easy, but if you want to be effective you will learn your people and alter your style to fit their personalities.

4) Leadership and Management Are the Same Things. Great organizations need both, but they are not equal and they require different skills. Simply put — Leadership is more about empowerment and guiding people to a common vision — often into the unknown. Management is more about maintaining efficiency within a predetermined destination but leadership requires change and innovation.

5) Being the Leader Makes Me Popular. “My file of criticisms...,” writes Ron, “[is] larger than my encouragement file.” The truth is leaders can be very lonely people. (It’s why leaders must surround themselves with encouragers and continually seek renewal). The only way to avoid criticism and be “liked” as a leader is to make no decisions, do nothing different, never challenge the status quo — in other words — don’t lead.

6) Leaders Must Have Charisma and Be Extroverts. Some of the best leaders I know and read are very introverted and subdued (read Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking). And, honestly, they are leading some of the biggest churches and organizations. Leadership IS about influence. If someone is trustworthy, dependable, has integrity and is going somewhere of value — others will follow no matter how introvert or extrovert the leaders are.

7) Leaders Accomplish by Controlling Others. Absolutely not! This is not leadership. It is a dictatorship. Effective leaders encourage others to lead. They challenge people to be creative and take ownership and responsibility for accomplishing the vision. They learn to delegate through empowerment.

I enjoyed and benefitted from this book. I would recommend this book to pastors and those who involve in church ministry.


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