THE 21 INDISPENSABLE QUALITIES OF A LEADER/ JOHN C. MAXWELL/ THOMAS NELSON INC/ 1999/ 157 PAGES
As the name implies, the book is about 21 very important qualities leaders should possess or strive to possess. Each quality is explained under 4 different sections. A story explaining the quality as a moral to attain, a brief discussion on the quality isolated from the story, a short section adapting this quality to the reader as a leader in need of the character and lastly a small take away to work on to either develop or improve the quality being discussed.
Each quality is title of each chapter where they are dissected. Fortunately each chapter is short, hence the book can easily be run through faster than 21days but the author advises against such approach but suggests a more methodological and strategically, i might add, more reflective approach to the book. As I found out that even though, some qualities are not new or I already possess some, there’s still a good number that we need to either improve upon or develop as all of them work together to improve the kind of leader I become. Here are some of the not so popular ones I identified;
Generosity: I never figured that giving was essential to leadership but understanding that greed and leadership were huge contrasts helped put this in perspective. Giving also doesn’t always have to be money, it could be time, compliments, mentorship or even referrals.
Relationships: My husband has always quoted John C. Maxwell – “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”, well I never really understood it until I read about relationships as a quality to lookout for in leaders.
I was intrigued by the take-away activity which taught on how to assess your relationships as a leader.
Teachability: A leader never stops learning. This is huge because to be teachable we have to admit that we do not know everything and this can sometimes look bad but we have to crush our pride and I-have-arrived mentality to remain a relevant leader.
As long as you are green, you are growing; As soon as you’re ripe, you start to rot – Ray Kroc
Servanthood:This does not apply only in spiritual parlance but everywhere leadership is found. Being a servant leader is not about position but about the attitude displayed in leading. Usually at the heart of it all, a servant leader is a secure one. One who is not only about the perks and power that comes with being a leader but one who is secure enough to give power to others.
“The law of empowerment says that only secure leaders give power to others.”
Self-discipline: As a leader, the first follower is one’s self. If you cannot lead yourself, you cannot lead others. The key to developing self-discipline is to challenge and eliminate all your excuses, follow your priorities and strive to maintain this new-found discipline.
Tosan’s take: I argued with some of the qualities when I first heard it at a training, but after reading this book and taking an isolated view on some of the qualities; I have learned that leaders have to constantly evolve, check and recheck themselves to make sure they can indeed influence and impact others positively and productively.