Saturday, August 13, 2011

Book Review: The World's Most Powerful Leadership Principle

There are two books I recommend for leaders who are starting their journey and want to get moving in the right direction. The first is The Leadership Challenge for its down-to-earth and accessible practices which help develop influence and credibility.

The second book is the topic of today's book review: The World's Most Powerful Leadership Principle: How to Become a Servant Leader by James C. Hunter. This one is a great combination of heart and results. What core are we leading from and what do we hope to accomplish? For Hunter, the answer to both these questions is simply: people. He contends that effective leaders care about people and develop influence-based authority because of their service to others.

There are many quotable lines in this book - good ones that will haunt you and float around in your head, calling you back to authentic, meaningful leadership when you start to get off balance. One of my favorites in the entire book is what Hunter calls the Ultimate Test:

"The true test of the effectiveness of the leader is this: Are your people better off when they leave than when they arrived?"

"Your people" can be teams, employees, or children. Are they growing? Are they more capable? More healthy? There are many ways to look at this question and it is a powerful lens through which to examine our own leadership effectiveness. Hunter's "ultimate test" of leadership provides the basis for the remainder of the book. In conversational and easy-reading style, Hunter examines leadership motivations, how to implement servant-leader principles, and leadership motivations.

This is a powerful, life-changing book and I recommend it for any growing leader or for those veterans looking to recharge their battery or refresh their soul.

Happy Reading!

David M. Dye

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Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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