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My 2020 Book of the Year

If a book is good, I don’t just read it. I have a conversation with it. I write comments, questions, and actionable ideas in the margins. Sometimes I have arguments with the author. I use the inside of the back or front covers to list follow up items, training ideas, or sometimes notes about people I thought of while reading.

Then, at the end of the year, I stop to ask myself, what was the most important book I read this past year. I know, my verdict won’t result in a gold medallion on the cover of future printings, but it is an important step in paying attention to my own growth and development.

In that spirit, give the mike to a deep voiced announcer and give me a drumroll, please…

Book of the Year:


by Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder

Moody Press. 2016

The authors integrate brain science with four uncommon habits that produce “increasing trust, joy, and engagement in the people you lead.”

It offers a compelling case and practical strategies for emotional maturity and it’s impact on leadership.

Let me tease you with a few breakthrough insights.

Accountability doesn’t work! The accountability solution is a massive failure at producing the results it promises. (p.45)
Without healing, the brain often cannot be trained. Without training, the brain often cannot recover. Healing opens the way for the brain [to receive new training] and build good relational habits.” (p.83)
The danger of isolation: the hardest times to lead are precisely those times when each group member feels “on his or her own” and isolated. (p.84) (Think about the implications of that in an isolating pandemic.)
[Emotionally mature] leaders don’t ignore problems, the deal with problems in a relational way. Their goal is to solve problems in a way that makes relationships stronger when they are finished. … Emotionally immature people are often quite good at turning their relationships into problems that need to be solved. (p.127)
Leadership travels at the speed of joy. Leadership that neglects joy rapidly becomes management instead. (p.24)

Leadership development is a life long journey into deeper and deeper emotional maturity. Unfortunately, far too many leaders believe they’ve had 40 years of experience when in reality they’ve only had 5 years of experience repeated 8 times.

My question is, what are the lenses you look through to help you see your leadership effectiveness and developmental needs honestly? This book is a gift that will help you reflect on your growth toward emotional maturity and the impact of your leadership that flows out of that growth.

I’m going to be chewing on this book and the way it informs my life for a long time to come. I long to be that rare leader who is able to return to joy quickly, who is able to engender trust in others, and who builds an organizational culture that unleashes people at their best.

Don’t take my word for it. Read it for yourself. And, when you do, drop me a note and let’s talk about it. That conversation would be exhilarating.


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