Book Review: Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley

Posted: June 7, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Book reviews, Leadership
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Reading Andy Stanley’s, Next Generation Leader, was like being with a leaders leader. He knew the challenges, temptations, problems, and decisions that need to be made. What was most encouraging was his tone and humble example. He didn’t write as someone who has it all figured out. He wrote this book as someone who has learned lessons along the way and felt compelled to tell others.

Though this book has 5 strong sections for leadership, I found three to be specifically helpful. I have heard about the competency of the leader and the character that should go with it, but I had never heard someone clearly articulate the need for courage, clarity, and coaching.

Stanley knows that leaders are placed in situations that seem uncertain to everyone. The goal is not creating, or persuading others that you know what to do. The role of a leader is to have clarity in the midst of uncertainty so that everyone knows exactly what he or she is to be doing. Uncertainty is familiar ground to the leader. In places where the path is certain, there is no need for leadership. Unchartered ground is the ground in which a leader is identified or disqualified for being capable of leading. Leaders need to be clear in the direction they give to people who follow them

Being willing to stand in the middle of uncertain ground isn’t that difficult. Leading others with clear direction is. How are you sure that they will get through? How do you know that the course you are taking is the best? Well…you don’t know. That is the reason why leaders need courage. They need the courage to be willing to own up to whatever is the result of their leadership. Leaders need to have the courage to say no to initiatives that seem promising, facing a reality that may be difficult for any organization, and they need the courage to dream big. Leadership not only needs a clear direction, it needs a leader with the courage to take them there.

With clarity, courage, competence, and character there seems to be little missing from a pretty good arsenal of tools to pull from in leadership. Leaders who rely on their own evaluation set themselves up for stagnation. Without a leadership coach a leader will only accomplish what they measure as success. Stanley believes that, “[Leaders] have a tendency to measure ourselves against the people around us. They become our point of reference. A good coach will evaluate your performance against your potential”. A leadership coach will push you to exceed the goals that you set for yourself by pushing your performance capacity.

All of the five characteristics mentioned in this book come together in coaching. You need to have character that makes you teachable. It requires humility and courage to have someone speak into your life. The more eyes on your leadership, the clearer your direction, mission, and vision will become. The clearer your direction becomes, the more competent you will be in leading those who follow you. You will become a leader worth following by the humility displayed in your leadership.

Have you ever thought about getting coaching for your leadership? Have you ever received coaching for your leadership? If you did, have you seen benefits to having someone help you?

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