Issue No. 274 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting introduces a brand new book with a warning about celebrity leadership. It’s convicting. Plus, this reminder: check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
This Palette Will Preach!
Really? Do we need another book on leadership?
Absolutely! Life-long learners/leaders have insatiable appetites for books that help them grow—like this one, The Leader’s Palette: Seven Primary Colors.
Author Ralph Enlow says “we inflict harm upon ourselves and havoc upon God’s people when we overestimate the degree of our giftedness.” Ouch!
The author, president of the Association for Biblical Higher Education, skillfully builds his case by describing a piano-playing friend. While this play-by-ear artist performs impromptu piano concerts, he doesn’t read music. Though gifted, he has not through “disciplined study and diligent practice, acquired the technical knowledge, mastered the skills, and developed the proficiencies associated with musical greatness.”
Here’s the convicting big idea: “I think a lot of leaders are like my piano player friend. They may be gifted, but they have neglected to master their art. They are proficient in only one or two leadership ‘keys’—or colors, to use the metaphor I have chosen for this book.”
He adds, “They refuse to listen and learn. In short, they rely on their giftedness which, in some cases is quite prodigious, but fail to acquire and hone to their fullest capacity the full spectrum of dispositions and skills available to them as leaders.”
So what happens? “...their leadership does not result in the fullness of beauty and shalom God had in mind when he gifted and called them to lead. In some cases, they wreak organizational havoc and inflict personal injury upon those for whom they have been given charge. In other cases, they and their followers simply writhe in drudgery, dissipation or despair.”
So with this attention-getting metaphor of seven primary colors in the leader’s palette, Enlow delivers 128 pages (none of them needless filler) with a comprehensive discussion of how to paint (lead) with a full palette that includes:
• Incarnational Leadership
• Relational Leadership
• Developmental Leadership
• Directional Leadership
• Ecological Leadership
• Situational Leadership
• Doxological Leadership
I especially appreciated his insights on Ecological Leadership (“cultivating a wholesome organizational climate”) and Doxological Leadership (“moving people toward God and moving people into step with God”)—stunning labels!
This book is perfect for coaching and mentoring, personal renewal, and staff meeting enrichment. Arresting PowerPoint slides jump off almost every page:
• “You can’t make up in training what you lack in selection.”
• “Leaders ignore culture at their peril.”
• “The responsibility of every godly leader is to resist the subtle temptations to convert their credibility into celebrity.”
“Plan sparingly,” Enlow counsels. “Plans also fail because they are too bulky. Good planning is participatory. Especially at the operational level, it should flow up from the grass roots. It requires the input of all major stakeholders and systems.” And then he adds this kicker:
“But good planning is not the accumulation of everyone’s aspirations. Ultimately, a plan represents the elimination of options.”
I am recommending this extraordinary book to all of my clients. It under-promises and over-delivers with leadership wisdom and practical takeaways.
The warning in the last chapter on Doxological Leadership is poster-worthy for every leader’s morning look-in-the-mirror:
“Celebrity will seduce you before you know it. If you have to self-promote in order to get the opportunities you seek, you are selling out. Your capacity to move people toward God will be slowly supplanted by your ambition.”
Read this with a pen (or a paint brush). You’ll leverage the insights often from this powerful and well-researched masterwork on leadership—and this palette will preach!
Enlow reminds us, “Pretty much any of us can recognize the difference between painting by numbers and true art.” Ditto true leadership!
To order this book from Amazon, click on the graphic below for The Leader’s Palette: Seven Primary Colors, by Ralph E. Enlow, Jr.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) In his chapter on the primary color of Developmental Leadership, the author writes, “Developmental leaders latch onto every teachable moment.” On our team, who wins the Starbucks card today because they’re good at “latching”?
2) Enlow quotes a friend, “There is a difference between 20 years of experience and one year of experience 20 times. Experience is not the best teacher after all. Experience reflected upon is the best teacher.” Does our organization take time to reflect and learn from our experiences?
Sleuth for Success - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
Some leaders rarely paint with Hoopla! colors so one of the big ideas in Chapter 10, The Hoopla! Bucket, in my book, Mastering the Management Buckets, is to have more fun—and leverage affirmation and celebration.
The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance features 125 recognition ideas. Here’s Number 34: “Each day, spend ten minutes looking for someone doing something that furthers your company’s goals. When you find it, recognize the person on the spot.”
To order The Carrot Principle or for more resources and books on affirmation and celebration, visit the Hoopla! Bucket webpage.
P.S. If you'll be at CLA Anaheim 2013, April 30 - May 2, join Wes Willmer and me for "Inspiring Board Members to Model Generous Giving," and join David Curry and me for a unique workshop on "Bad Idea: Management By Bestseller," both on Thursday, May 2. Details.