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Leadership Expert Says That Good Relationships Are A Key To Leadership
on September 2, 2007
Leadership expert John Maxwell is extremely good at expressing complex truths in series of simple sentences that individually seem obvious. As the pages go by, one realizes one is being exposed to a well-thought out comprehensive world view as to how people should lead other people in a manner than benefits society as a whole.
Relationships are important to success, the author writes, because relationships are the glue that holds team members together.
What a leader needs to know about others, the author writes, is that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Leaders can encourage others, the author says, by believing in people before they have proved themselves. This is the key to motivating people to reach their potential.
Leaders can connect with people, the author says, by always remembering that the heart comes before the head.
Leaders can become better listeners, the author says, by treating every person as if he or she were the most important person in the world.
Leaders can build trust with others, the author says, by having their words and actions match.
The most important relationships, the author says, are at home. Succeed at home, and all other relationships become easier.
A leader can serve and lead people at the same time by loving the people he or she leads more than his or her position, the author says.
As the author always does in the many books he writes, he backs up his views with famous historical quotes and anecdotes.. He quotes longtime Reagan aide Michael Deaver on how Reagan managed the press--he liked people and succeeded in getting the press corps to like him--and his staff--he found ways to make clear to everyone how important they were to him.
The author quotes President Harry Truman that "When we understand the other fellow's viewpoint--understand what he is trying to do--nine times out of ten he is trying to do right." He quotes President Woodrow Wilson as saying "The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people" and President Lyndon Johnson as keeping a sign in his office saying "You ain't learnin' nothin' when you're doin' all the talkin."
The author quotes World War I hero Marshal Ferdinand Foch: "There are no hopeless situations; there are only men and women who have grown helpless about them."
The author quotes Pennsylvania Revolutionary War era great Benjamin Franklin as saying that "Those things that hurt, instruct." He quotes Pennsylvania founder William Penn as saying "Never despise or oppose what thou does not understand."
The author quotes philosopher-poet-longshoreman Eric Hoffer: "It is not love of self but hatred of self which is at root of the troubles that afflict our world." He quotes Jeff MacNelly's comic strip character Shoe, a crusty newspaper editor, as saying "When it comes to believing in myself, I'm an agnostic." He quotes the evangelist Bill Glass as saying "Over 90% of prison inmates were told by their parents while growing up, 'Thy're going to put you in jail.'"
The author says that solid relationships are built by respect, shared experiences, trust, reciprocity, and mutual enjoyment.
The author says that important things to know about people is that everybody wants to be somebody, nobody cares how much you know until he knows how much you care, that everybody needs somebody to come alongside and help, and everybody can be somebody when somebody understands and believes him or her.
The author says that most people don't have faith in themselves, most people don't have someone who has faith in them, most people can tell when someone else has faith in them, and most people will do anything to live up to faith in them.
To become a believer in people, the author advises that people emphasize their strengths, list their past successes, instill confidence when they fail, visualize thier future successes, and expect a new level of living.
Leaders should recognize that the heart comes first, they should connect in public and in private, they should connect with people one at a time, they should expect the best of them, and they should recognize that the tougher the challenge the greater the connection. Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher is cited for the many ways in which he makes meaningful connections with his employees; Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton is also cited for going out of his way to have a long talk with a company truckdriver to both pay him respect and gain information from him.
The author's advice for developing listening skills is: look at the speaker, don't interrupt,focus on understanding, determine the need of the moment, check your emotions, suspend your judgment, sum up at major intervals, ask questions for clarity,and always make listening your priority.
Personal integrity is key to building trust with others, the author says. Integrity is not determined by circumstances, not based on credentials, and not to be confused with reputation. One can become a person of integrity by committing oneself to honesty, reliability and confidentiality; deciding ahead of time that you don't have a price; and each day doing what you should do before what you want to do.
To build a strong family, the author says, both partners have to work to stay together, express appreciation for each other, structure their lives to spend time together, deal with crises in a positive way, communicate continually, and share the same values.
To serve and lead people at the same time, one should have a servant's heart, put others ahead of one's own agenda, possess the confidence to serve, initiate service to others, not be position conscious, and serve out of love. To improve one's servanthood, one should perform small acts of kindness for others; learn to walk slowly through the crowd, making it your agenda to get to know each person's needs, wants, and desires; and to move into action and start serving.
Anyone in a leadership position, or aspiring to a leadership position, will benefit from reading this book. All the wisdom of the world can not be summarized in lists and aphorisms, but the author's methods go a long way to bringing common sense to the uncommon responsibilities many people face on a daily basis. This is an excellent book for those who wish to use their power to do much, much more than advance themselves.