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The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams That Win Consistently Hardcover – Unabridged, August 3, 2010
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About the Author
Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren Dungy are active members of a number of family, faith, and community-based organizations, including All Pro Dad, iMom, Fellowship of Chrstian Athletes, Mentors for Life, Family First, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and the Boys and Girls Club of America. Tony is a former NFL player and retired head coach of the 2006 Superbowl Champions, the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.
Nathan Whitaker is the coauthor of seven New York Times bestsellers, including Quiet Strength, which he co-wrote with Tony Dungy. He lives in Florida. For additional information, please visit www.nathanwhitaker.com
Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren Dungy are active members of a number of family, faith, and community-based organizations, including All Pro Dad, iMom, Fellowship of Chrstian Athletes, Mentors for Life, Family First, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and the Boys and Girls Club of America. Tony is a former NFL player and retired head coach of the 2006 Superbowl Champions, the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Table of contents
Chapter 1. The Mandate of a Mentor Leader
Chapter 2. The Mind-Set of a Mentor Leader
Chapter 3. The Maturity of a Mentor Leader
Chapter 4. The Marks of a Mentor Leader
Chapter 5. The Moments of a Mentor Leader
Chapter 6. The Model of a Mentor Leader
Chapter 7. The Means of a Mentor Leader
Chapter 8. The Methods of a Mentor Leader
Chapter 9. The Measure of a Mentor Leader
If you're a fan of leadership books, you'll recognize ideas and quotes by leadership experts such as Ken Blanchard, Steven Covey, John Maxwell and others. If not, that's ok too, as he weaves these in naturally along with stories and real-life illustrations. Dungy also does a great job at pointing out where ideas like mentoring and servant leadership are taught and modeled in the Bible, especially in the life of Jesus.
Some of the topics or concepts that I thought were particularly interesting: focusing on strengths, the preeminence of character and integrity in the live of a leader, building a team whose strengths complement yours and each others, the importance of just hanging out and being present in the lives of those you hope to influence, the need to create a culture to effect change, and the idea of treating those you lead as volunteers. Now, there's nothing ground-breaking in any of this, but Dungy does a great job of modeling all of this, and of explaining it in a down-to-earth way.
Towards the end he finishes by acknowledging that a lot has been covered, and the idea of being a mentor leader might be a daunting one, a lot to remember. So he encourages us with this advice: "Don't worry about remembering it. Think instead about beginning to live what we've talked about - each and every day, in every setting of your life. And let me encourage you to start right where you are, with the people right around you, doing something as simple as engaging with them and talking. Sometimes the smallest things we do have the biggest impact. Just start."
Being a mentor leader is being about the journey, adding value in the lives of other people in every moment. The Mentor Leader should be of great interest for fans of leadership and football alike.
Dungy makes a clear distinction between a position of leadership and a person of leadership. Even without a formal leadership title, people can still make a difference as they influence those around them. Additionally, Dungy doesn't believe leadership is something a person is born with, but rather it's a trait to be developed. A person does this by committing to those around them.
Unlike many books on leadership, particularly business books, this biographical account comes across sincerely, warmly, and compellingly. Dungy's focus on people is exemplified in his writing style - it's encouraging rather than demeaning.
As one might expect, many of the anecdotes and the immediate context in which leadership traits are conveyed is couched in football. Dungy is, after all, a football coach. So, be prepared to hear about situations, and circumstances, and even conflict that has surrounded his many years of coaching.
In short, if you're not afraid of the pig skin and if you could use some encouragement - this just might be the book you're looking for.
* Mentoring "can be taught and learned; but in order to be absorbed, it must be practiced"
* Mentoring "focuses on developing the strengths of individuals"
* Mentoring "works best" when there is "genuine concern" shown
* Mentoring is about "shaping, nurturing, empowering, and growing"
* Mentoring is "about relationships, integrity, and perpetual learning"
* Mentoring is "about changing lives" (p. xvii-xviii)
Although all 9 chapters of Dungy's book relates to the "mentor leader," there were 3 chapters that seemed to prepare the heart of the mentor: Chapter 3, "A Look Within," Chapter 4, "Characteristics That Matter," and Chapter 6, "Living the Message" (p. 45, 67, 123). In chapter 3 Dungy explains, "In order to become an effective mentor, in whatever setting, it is important to take a look inside yourself" (p. 45). He suggests that potential mentors take a "personal inventory" to assess what makes them "think, react, and respond the way they do" and what makes them "do the things they do" (p. 46). An honest self assessment will reveal personal strengths and weaknesses, unresolved issues from the past and meaningful priorities (p. 64-65).
"Character" is described as "the person [others] view as the most trustworthy, who cares the most and who is willing to always do the right thing," and according to Dungy, it is the "glue that bonds solid and meaningful relationships" (p. 71). In chapter 4, Dungy presents the characteristics he believes are "marks" of a good mentor. These "marks" include competence, integrity, authenticity, courageous, faithfulness, accountable, available/approachable, loyalty, and protectiveness (p. 72-91). Throughout this chapter (and the whole book), Dungy uses Biblical references to support his points. For example, Dungy states, "a genuine sense of self-worth is best obtained through a relationship with God" (p. 74). In another part of the chapter, Dungy discusses the parable found in the book of John, chapter 10, to illustrate the "mark" of protectiveness--"When a wolf comes and threatens the flock, the hired hand runs away. . . . the shepherd on the other hand, rises to the defense of his sheep" (p. 94).
Dungy starts chapter 6 with a Scripture verse from the book of Matthew: "Jesus said, `It's not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth. . . . The words you speak come from the heart--that's what defiles you'" (Matt. 15:11, 18). He uses this Bible passage to show that mentoring starts in the heart of the mentor--basically, what is inside determines what will come out (p. 123). Dungy claims that people will notice various things about other individuals: their faith, their words and actions, and their legacy (p. 124-135). When discussing faith, Dungy says, "Faith is the foundation and strength of the mentor . . . . the guiding principle behind everything we do . . . . Faith will go a long way toward giving others a reason to follow you" (p. 134-135). Dungy believes that the "many things that guide the daily steps of mentors" (relationships, impact, involvement, character, faith, and actions) shape one's legacy; "legacy" results in "changed lives" (p. 136, 138). In other words, a mentor is successful if he or she contributes to the positive changes in other people's lives. Dungy's use of the Bible shows that God's Word is important to him. It also shows that even if a mentor has all the necessary traits necessary, it is God who ultimately changes people-- "with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26).
Review by M. Teresa Trascritti