What most impressed me about this book was that the authors got the order of things right. By that I mean, they let the story unfold in a way that meets most people's expectations about how things work -- so they meet people where they are, and that's one form of getting it right. And they build a model that makes it clear that those expectations are exactly what prevent us from getting our priorities straight. That model gets it EXACTLY right. For people who yearn for a different kind of leadership than the Peter Pan stuff we get every day, but don't want a lot of heavy theory, this is a great introduction to a better way.
Reviewer: WC Emeka Obiozor....Journalist/Author/Special Educator Ken Jennings and John Stahl-Wert's Serving Leader is an amazing and unique testimony of powerful actions and skills every person in a leadership position desires to acquire and utilize in transforming his team; be it business enterprise or non-profit community organization. The book presented valuable leadership traits and standards using heart-warming tales of an estranged son, his dying father and unique landmarks of innovative leaders in different businesses and community-oriented organizations to illustrate the dynamic five principles of a serving leader. The authors painstakingly gave us insights into different environments - offices, schools, homes, industries, and other work areas where authentic leaders chosen by followers are in charge principally to build the team, the business, and the community. Thus, a teachable and learnable instrument is offered that provides practical sense for what leadership and service principles for teams and organizations are based upon. Having come from two distinctive backgrounds, the authors utilized their professional skills in leadership coaching and community building to promote the uplifting of the value of people in organizations and achieving organizational success. Jennings is the founder and managing partner of Venture Works - engages in the areas of leadership development, strategy, and the management of change. Stahl-Wert presides over the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation (PLF), a 25-year old faith-based intermediary organization in Pittsburgh-Pennsylvania, which specializes in bringing together leaders from the business, government, and social sectors to address human problems. Distinctive information from the Serving Leader deals with the dreams and aspirations of most contemporary leaders to make their organizations work better. The authors packaged this book to provide today's servant leadership experiential opportunities "to see communities restored, lives improving, kids learning to read, prostitutes breaking the drug and economic chains that hold them, neighborhoods gaining local jobs." I admired greatly the paradoxes of effective leadership displayed in the book, especially, how the authors blended passages from the Holy Scriptures to drive home important points and facts. There were significant spotlights the book discussed in the process of pursuing the ideals of innovative leadership, such as - creating a working rapport among staff and management, coaching and mentoring activities that focus on staff strengths and address weaknesses, as well as mending fences and making up in a relationship. Highlights on father's role in giving and sharing love, directing, redirecting and influencing the lives of his child; enforcing school rules - belief in student's capacity for strength and determination, and getting them to rise up to expectations; was another unique aspect of this book. As the authors would say, "They have to stay on the wire to succeed...because life is a high-wire act." This is very true. Business executives, school administrators, policy makers, public and private sector, non-profit and community organizations would find this book useful. It's definitely a good guide to addressing the weaknesses and strengths of leadership, exploring what leaders actually do in their organizations or are expected to do to support individual teams and run successful organizations.
The Serving Leader, by Jennings and Stahl-Wert, is a great read for business and not for profit leaders. While it characterizes the stories of amazing serving leaders throughout the country, it also spells out the steps to becoming a servant leader. Professionals who are searching for a deeper meaning to life and work will find this book extremely rewarding. Epitomizing the attributes of serving leaders, it encourages you to continue your work by compiling the stories of others who have battled the same challenges. It is a small book, a quick read but the impact could be huge!
This was a captivating and wonderfully written book. I was amazed at how much I learned about leadership relating to all aspects of my life. I really enjoyed the journey of the Father and Son and how they too were learning how to better serve each other. This brings home the idea that we must be a good leader not only in our work place but also in our own families. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is searching the true meaning in their life, and how to make any aspect of their life more effective. I am excited to share this book with relatives and friends for Christmas!! Happy Reading.
A few weeks ago I watched an interview with Jack Welch, former CEO of GE. He indicated that we need to focus on people and not the numbers, and insisted that business schools should start teaching mangement based on people. Ken Jennings and John Stahl-Wert captured, in my opinion, exactly what Jack Welch was talking about. Leading by serving others. Ken and John presented the keys to serving leadership in a powerful story that was impossible to put down. Even though there are a lot of good leadership principles here, it's not like reading a leadership text book. Kudos Dr. Jennings and Dr. Stahl-Wert! Keep getting the word out.