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Communicate Like a True Leader: 30 Days of Life-Changing Wisdom Paperback – August 13, 2017
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"Wise, practical, and inspiring. Quentin captures the art and soul of leadership communication. Highly recommended for current and aspiring leaders."
--Howard Behar, former president of Starbucks; speaker; author of It's Not About the Coffee: Lessons on Putting People First from a Life at Starbucks and The Magic Cup: A Business Parable About a Leader, a Team, and the Power of Putting People and Values First
"This is a splendid book for everyone who wants to communicate like a real servant leader. The short daily readings are practical, inspiring, and wise."
--Jack Lowe, "Former CEO and Former Board Chair of TDIndustries
"This astonishing little book helped me save a relationship with a $500k client, establish excellent rapport with my boss, and garner a healthy raise despite a tough year for the company. Amazing, practical wisdom."
--Leslie Robertson, Software Engineer, Profound Digital Systems
"What an awesome book! It's like a mentor in print, filled with wisdom and compassion. It's insightful, practical, and easy to absorb."
--Debra Marshall, Manager Federal Affairs, Top Fortune 500 Company
"Quentin Schultze understands that words are a leader's most important tools, and in his clear and engaging prose he not only teaches the art of servant leadership but demonstrates the power of those tools. There have been many leadership books that have taught us less with many more words. This collection of succinct, honest, self-revealing stories teaches us not only about leadership but about life itself."
--James A. Autry, former CEO of Meredith Corporation's magazine group; author of Love & Profit and The Servant Leader
"Whether a newcomer or a seasoned traveler, you will find this book to be one you go back to time and again for insights and encouragement. Robert Greenleaf would have been proud to have this book at his side."
--Dr. Mary Meehan, President Emeritus, Alverno College
"This marvelous little book will put you on the road to becoming a wiser and more winsome leader. Begin your 30-day journey today."
--Dr. Tim Muehlhoff, Professor of Communication, Biola University; author of I Beg to Differ and Winsome Persuasion
"Wow! Compelling, relevant, personal stories about how anyone who wants to lead can communicate with purpose and integrity. This terrific book is now my personal reading for professional growth."
--Christopher VanOosterhout, web entrepreneur and Professor of Business, Muskegon Community College
"Dr. Schultze has the heart and motivation of a servant leader. This book belongs on everyone's iPad or shelf. In 30 days, after reading the book and making a few notes, you will likely discover how this little book is transforming your life."
--Richard R. Pieper, Sr., Non-Executive Chairman, PPC Partners, Inc.
"This splendid book defies categorization; it's equal parts personal narrative, practical guidance, and leadership inspiration. Quentin's lifetime of communication wisdom shines through on every page."
--Gary Van Prooyen, VP Marketing & Communications, ISACA; Former Sr. Director, Global Brand, Motorola
"This book is in a class by itself. It will actually help you become a better, wiser, happier leader."
--Dr. Richard C. Wallace, Professor Emeritus and Dean, Gainey School of Business, Spring Arbor University
About the Author
Dr. Quentin Schultze taught communication and leadership for 40 years before retiring as an emeritus professor at Calvin College. He has written many books and articles and spoken to numerous business, educational, religious, and government groups. Along the way he co-launched businesses and nonprofit organizations. Dr. Schultze has been interviewed by most of the major media. Working quietly behind the scenes, he has mentored hundreds of accomplished leaders who successfully applied the principles in this book. Connect at www.quentinschultze.com.
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The temperament of a leader, according to Schultze, ought to be rooted in gratitude. He notes, the first responsibility of a leader is to accept gratefully the call to serve others (p. 28). He frames this responsibility using Max Dupree’s definition of leadership, and so a fuller definition recognizing the contributions of both writers might be, the first responsibility of a leader is to accept gratefully the call to sere others, the last is to say thank-you; and in-between the two, the leader must define reality, and become a servant and debtor (adapted from p. 27 & 28). This definition sees those being led as the heroes of the story, not the leader.
Gracious communication is a hallmark of effective leaders. Gracious communication is committed to dialogue, listening, and attending to the realities of life. It is motivated by a love for one’s audience, and seeks to inspire rather than control. The effective leader is prophetic; the effective leader "asks the tough, missing, or counter-intuitive questions. The prophet also recalls history and cautions us about reading too much into the future" (p. 124).
Schultze draws artfully on the works of Max Dupree and Simon Greenleaf in developing his ideas on leadership and communication, and its primary challenge, which is a very present reality in the lives of leaders and aspiring leaders. This challenge is two-fold, according to Schultze,"(1) to identify our own assumptions, and (2) to engage persons that hold contrasting views. These two challenges – honest self-knowledge and discomforting social interaction – can reduce self-propaganda" (p. 104). Again, those being led are the heroes of the story, not the leader.
Communicate Like a True Leader is written to be slowly read. Each chapter explores a theme involving the intersection of leadership and communication, and concludes with thoughtful questions as a basis for reflecting on the theme explored. I would advise reading and reflecting on one chapter each week, setting aside twenty minutes each day to reflect, journal and dialogue with others about theme explored (though the author suggests reading and reflecting on the themes over 30 days). Throughout this process, your understanding of leadership, including the challenge of leading well, and your ability to effectively communicate will be strengthened.
The essays in this book remind me of some of my favorite poems and best friends: they begin to teach and delight immediately and then reveal new depths with every new encounter. I think the essays have this effect because the author models what he recommends.
Inspired by leadership expert Robert K. Greenleaf, Schultze recommends that in our communication we seek above all to wisely serve others—not to merely perform well or be “effective,” but serve. When we aim first of all to serve, we naturally become leaders, people whom others consider exemplary and look to for encouragement and guidance. In the end, that’s the only worthy “effect” of our communication.
Accordingly, the essays do not explain techniques but instead model personal disciplines that form the character of a wise communicator and true servant-leader. Each essay exemplifies such a character in two ways. First, Schultze offers himself as an example. He shares a communication experience from his life, observes how he succeeded or failed to communicate wisely (often it’s a mix), and identifies a personal discipline that the situation called for.
But also, second, he sets an example by his conduct as a writer. He commends gratitude and is grateful. He urges “risking face” and “being natural,” and he opens his heart to readers by sharing struggles and failures as well as the intimate joy of getting to know a baby grandson. He challenges us to identify self-deception, and he remembers times when he doubted his ability to transcend the temptation, as a respected professor, to “self-propagandize.”
Schultze models “forming integrity” not only in the essay devoted to integrity but in the whole book. Integrity is a kind of wholeness, unity, and self-consistency, and as you move through the book, you notice that each new essay elegantly weaves themes of previous essays into the new content. Thus essay 9, “Conversing Well,” integrates celebrating the gift of communication, listening, seeking shared understanding, giving up control, and persuading respectfully—all themes of previous essays. Discerning how all thirty of the book’s disciplines are related to each other and apply to your own character is one reason you’ll want to keep rereading it for the rest of your life.
Another reason is that you’ll want to continue challenging yourself with insights that are both ancient and fresh. Examples: Listening to the other person is of course essential, but listening in the richest sense is attending to all of reality, including your own inner reality. “Crafting artfully” is a way of respecting your audience. We think we want to “embrace diversity,” but do we have the “experiential capacity” needed to do it honestly?
In a culture flooded with advice about communication and obsessed with communication technology, Communicate Like a True Leader stands out for its commitment to placing wisdom before technology and placing people above effects. At first you’ll spend three minutes a day with this book, but it may grow to become a friend for life.