I’m a strong proponent of servant leadership. I’ve previously shared four reasons why I aspire to be a servant leader. You can read that article here.
I’ve read many books about leadership over the years, and several about servant leadership in particular. Below are 5 books on servant leadership, plus a bonus chapter, that I recommend you read if you would like to find out more about the topic.
New Patrick Lencioni Book. One of my favorite authors Patrick Lencioni will release Humble, Hungry, Smart: The Three Universal Traits of Great Team Players on April 18, 2016. Here is a description of the book “Building on The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Happy, Humble, Smart is the story of Jeff Shanley, the former head of business development from DecisionTech, who takes over his family’s business in Napa, California. Jeff brings with him the lessons he learns from Kathryn Petersen, DecisionTech’s CEO and the protagonist of The Five Dysfunctions, but he finds himself frustrated with the number of people he hires that don’t seem suited to be team players. Jeff casually seeks the advice of the local college basketball coach, whose teams are known to exceed the expectations that his talent would indicate. That’s how Jeff learns about the three traits that the coach uses to evaluate players, a recipe that has a greater impact on the team’s success than any technical approach. A non-fiction model summary will follow the fable and the book will provide many opportunities for related programs, applications and tools, including the possibility of an accessible self and team assessment.” Can’t tell you how excited I am to hear about this new book!
- Work and Rest. Listen to this excellent sermon on the importance of Sabbath rest from Tim Keller, based on Luke 6:1-11.
- Solving the 12 Dumbest Things Leaders Do. Dan Rockwell writes “The most important thing you do happens after you do something dumb.”
- If You Can’t Answer ‘Why?’ Then Stop Doing It! In this three-minute video, Andy Stanley asks “What would happen in your community if your organization ceased to exist?”
- Stop Bristling at Feedback. Dan Rockwell writes “The most important thing about seeking feedback is the way it’s received.”
- Do Executive Jobs Have More Kingdom Value Than Dirty Jobs? Listen to this panel discussion with Dan Doriani (I enjoyed two classes with him at Covenant Seminary), Harry Reeder and Bethany Jenkins.
- Can I Trust You? Mark Miller, in discussing how to build trust, writes “If you and I want to lead well, we must build trust. Trust doesn’t come with the office or the title; it is something earned over months, years and decades.”
- Trust is Given, Not Earned. Dan Rockwell writes “I gave my friends an unscientific poll. The result was a three-way split. About 30% of my friends give trust to people who haven’t earned it. About 30% are skeptical and untrusting. I’m in that group. The other 30% are in the “it depends” group. I think they’re untrusting but don’t want to admit it. But that’s my skeptical voice.” Personally, my approach is to start with trust and people have it unless they give me reason to withdraw that trust.
- Challenges to the Faith and Work Movement. Watch this edition of the Table Podcast with Darrell L. Bock and Greg Forster.
- What Is A Christian Company? Chris Patton writes “Do you believe we can label a business as a Christian company or not? If so, how is that label determined?”
- The Poetry Behind the Light. Carey Bustard interviews Luci Shaw, a poet and essayist since 1986, she has been a writer-in-residence at Regent College in Vancouver. Author of more than 35 books of poetry and non-fiction prose, her writing has appeared in numerous literary and religious journals.
- 60 Keys on Leading the Next Generation. Brad Lomenick shares 60 Keys, Issues and Areas to be aware of and focused in on as it relates to the Next Generation of Leaders, primarily those currently in their 20’s and 30’s.
- Language, Literature, and Culture Formation. Eric Geiger writes “What can we learn about building a strong culture from the Babylonian leaders? They taught people, even those they captured, their language and the literature.”
- 7 Attributes of a Wise Leader. Ron Edmondson shares some attributes he has observed in leaders who have wisdom. He asks us as we read this to think of people you believe are “wise” leaders.
- Should Christians Be the Best Workers? Stephen Graves writes “The more I think about my true/false question, the more I think answer is…it depends. I am not certain a balanced, mature, flourishing Christian should be the highest performing worker every time…regardless.”
- What’s Best Next – the Organization. Matt Perman announces a new organization he is forming with his friend James Kinnard. He writes that the vision for What’s Best Next will be “to launch an organization focused on helping Christians be more effective leaders, managers, and individual contributors. Through a variety of practical resources, we want to empower men and women in their daily work, from a gospel-centered perspective.”
- How Do You Respond in Difficult Circumstances? Chris Patton writes “In both of these cases, there seems to be a clear path to take if we are serious about seeking to hear, “Well done” from Jesus. I don’t think any of us have a problem seeing the right thing to do. Unfortunately, in both cases these decisions will cause loss of popularity with employees and people in the community. Hearing, “What a guy” from the crowd is very unlikely after making these decisions.”
- 20 Ways Being a Mom Makes Me a Better Leader. Selma Wilson writes “Being a Mother has been the most rewarding, challenging, adventurous, and fulfilling role in my life. Being a Mom has stretched me, grown me, and taught me so much about life and leadership. I wouldn’t be the leader I am today, had I not gone through the boot camp of motherhood.”
- The Leadership Pursuit That Enhances All Others. Dan Rockwell writes “The pursuit of feedback enhances all other leadership pursuits. And when leaders grow, everyone around them gets better.” As leaders, even though we may not always like what we hear, we need to be asking feedback our teams and our leaders.
- How to Release the Power of Your Goals. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “Unfortunately, very few people are very good at setting their goals and reaching their goals. Oh sure, they experience some success but nothing close to what they could experience if they really knew what they were doing when it comes to setting goals. So what’s the problem and what’s the answer?”
- Good work with good people. If I can do that until I cannot, I will be a happy man. Steven Garber
- If you’re waiting for a title to lead, chances are you’ll never lead. Dan Rockwell
- When people don’t work to take control of things that matter, they work to take control of things that don’t matter. That’s called politics. Simon Sinek
- People aren’t interested in your answer until they feel you understand their problem. Dan Rockwell
- The God who calls is also the God who equips. Kevin DeYoung
- Saying you’re a leader doesn’t make you a leader. Leading makes you a leader. Simon Sinek
- Someone said, “Comfort is the enemy of achievement.” Do something challenging and faith-filled today! Craig Groeschel
- A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. John Wooden
- The fear of conflict is always a sign of problems. Patrick Lencioni
- None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes so don’t beat yourself up. Forgive yourself for making mistakes and learn from them. Ken Blanchard
I read this book when it was first released, and recently re-read the third (or 10th Anniversary Edition). The book is written as a fictional story (think of Patrick Lencioni’s leadership fables) and follows Debbie Brewster, a leader who has been struggling. As a result, she applies for a new mentoring program at her organization. She is selected to participate, and the mentor she is assigned to is Jeff Brown, the president of the company.
In their first meeting Debbie asks Jeff “What is the secret of great leaders?” He responds that the secret is that great leaders SERVE. The book follows Debbie through her monthly mentoring meetings with Jeff as he takes her through the SERVE model. We see her applying what she has learned in those sessions, and as a result growing as a leader.
The SERVE model is:
S – See the Future.
E – Engage and Develop Others
R – Reinvent Continuously
V – Value Results and Relationships
E – Embody the Values
This quick read communicates helpful messages about being a servant leader via an interesting story about a leader who was struggling. It also includes some helpful resources at the end of the book, including a self-assessment and frequently asked questions. This would be a good book to read in a book club or in a mentoring session.
Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?
I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.
It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at Chapter 12 ~ Pathway 3 LAUNCH YOUR OWN SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
- A third avenue of vocational stewardship that congregational leaders can consider facilitating is getting behind the entrepreneurial dreams of high-capacity congregants. Right now, your church may contain some talented marketplace leaders whom God is stirring in an exciting-and perhaps slightly scary-new way. They are actively thinking of leaving their “day job” (or at least carving out significant time in their schedule) to birth a new social enterprise. They dream of implementing a new kingdom endeavor to bless a targeted group or to provide a creative solution to a thorny social problem.
- In short, right now, God may be planting some big dreams in the hearts of your congregation’s members-dreams that could rejoice your city and that many congregants could rally behind.
- At a remarkable evangelical church in Nairobi, these sorts of social enterprises are being encouraged deliberately, as a centerpiece of the church’s mission. Mavuno (“Harvest”) Church’s purpose is bold: “to turn ordinary people into fearless influencers of society.” It does so through a carefully conceived, robust and unique discipleship program called the Mavuno Marathon.
- Mavuno Church’s model provides several lessons for congregations that wish to encourage social entrepreneurs. First, Mizizi provides the foundational kingdom theology that effectively undergirds a missional commitment. Second, the course includes a section inviting participants to identify and explore the unique passions and gifts God has given them. Third, Mavuno Marathon exposes congregants to the needs of the poor in their city and to contemporary issues of injustice. Fourth, as church leaders challenge congregants to take risks and do great things for God’s kingdom, they also recognize that church members with natural gifts for doing so are the ones who could suffer from pride. So, in addition to affirming these people’s talents and supporting their efforts to serve society, Mavuno challenges them to learn and to practice servant leadership. Fifth, the church helps high-capacity leaders to remember the foundational value of community and accountability, and expects them to be part of a Life Group. Sixth, it grounds these social entrepreneurs in the practice of prayer-for themselves, their initiatives, their city and their nation. As Linda says of the Ombi course, when you’ve completed it, “you fully understand that there can be no genuine social transformation except that which happens through prayer.” Finally, Mavuno’s model holds people loosely. It empowers the laity and sets these talented people free to minister outside the four walls of the church.
- Today Muriithi wants to see Mavuno Church completely transform its members’ lives. “Our business is about raising an army that will bring reformation in our generation.” The Mavuno Marathon cultivates the personal and social righteousness that believers need in order to live as the tsaddiqim who rejoice the city.