July 8th, 2007


another ...

Here's another of those books that re-surfaced when we dug out the front bathroom ... I recall having this sitting around a while, but I don't recall buying it, which makes me think (along with the retail stickers on it) that it came from my late Mother several years back.

As I've noted previously, I don't really read "business books", and this is on the border of being one of those. As opposed to those "newagey" positive-think books I read a month or so back, this is coming out from the "INJOY Group", which appears to be one of those suppliers of rah-rah business meeting speakers, including it's author, John C. Maxwell. The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow is at least brief and to the point (albeit seemingly a follow-up to another "21" book Maxwell had previously released on "Leadership"), being, not surprisingly, structured in 21 chapters, each with a couple of more-or-less to-theme quotes, a "story" about a leader who manifested that particular quality, a "Fleshing It Out" section with key points of that quality broken out, a "Reflecting On It" section with questions to ask yourself about how you exhibit (or not) that quality, a "Bringing It Home" section with something of a to-do list to work on that quality, and a "Daily Take-Away" section which generally deals with some public figure who did something which illustrates the quality being discussed in that chapter. Maxwell suggests spreading the 21 chapters out over a month or so to be able to "work" through each (yeah, I just read through it).

So, what are these "indispensable qualities" a leader should have? Here's the list: Character, Charisma, Commitment, Communication, Competence, Courage, Discernment, Focus, Generosity, Initiative, Listening, Passion, Positive Attitude, Problem Solving, Relationships, Responsibility, Security, Self-Discipline, Servanthood, Teachability, and Vision. Unfortunately, much like those "positive attitude" books (oh, look, it's there again), if you're deficient in any of these areas, you fail as a leader. Although the book is structured to allow one to work on oneself, the attitude seems far more dismissive for those who don't already "measure up".

So, would I recommend The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader? I guess so ... again, it's "not my kind of thing", but I admire its structure, and found some of the bits and pieces in it quite fascinating (I've especially glommed onto one of the quotes, from anthropologist Margaret Mead: "What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.") ... of course, if the self-help genre is your cup of tea, this will likely be one of your favorite books (it certainly has a bunch of 5-star raves on its Amazon page). Speaking of Amazon, this is still in print (so might well be at your local brick & mortar bookstore) and they have this for about 1/3rd off of cover, which is likely as good as you're likely to do on it, as it's about a wash (with shipping) on what their new/used vendors are currently offering.

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