Over the years, I have often heard the phrase, “It’s quicker if I just do it myself.” But is that really true when it comes to leadership? The problem with this approach is that it does not take the long view. It saves time only in the short term. You accomplished in a few seconds or a minute or two what it might have taken you half an hour or more to train someone else to do, but you have trapped yourself. Can we use those extra minutes to invest a bigger opportunity?
“Sweetie,” my husband gently began. “This is an intervention.”
In his most compassionate voice, Craig began describing my life—my job and the amount of travel it required, my responsibilities in raising our teenaged kids, my ministry as a pastor’s wife, my efforts to be a good friend and a good daughter. “This is just not sustainable,” he said. “I’m not upset with you, but something has to change.”
Waves of inadequacy and shame washed over me. I was trying so hard to do it all. People depended on me. How could I stop?
One of the best parts of getting a PhD in Leadership was being required to read widely on the subject. From time to time, I get asked what some of my favorite leadership books are. So, I thought I would take the time to answer that question here and accompany my answer with a fairly through review.
If stranded on a desert island and given only one book from which to teach leadership, I would choose a lesser known book called Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership by Lee Bolman and Terrance Deal.
Leadership is a learned skill. Much of the learning takes place experientially, but books can also provide valuable learning. Since reading Steven B. Sample's The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership, "Work for Those Who Work For You" (Chapter 8) has become a guiding leadership principle for me. More than 20 years after first encountering Sample’s work, I still have 2 green sticky notes marking pages in that chapter. On one, I wrote ”service” and on the other “access.” They are reminders that help me even today.