Though the title of this book, WHY LEADERSHIP SUCKS by Miles Anthony Smith, may or may not be true for you, it is true for many people who aspire to become leaders only to find out it may not be all that they thought it would be. Certainly at times, for anyone in a leadership position, it does suck. Leaders are given the highest of expectations and are the first to be ridiculed and often even replaced when things don’t turn out as planned. Look no further than professional sports when a team falls short of pre-season expectations, the coach is often the first to go.
Many people enter into leadership positions for all the wrong reasons. They see leadership as power – a way to have authority over and respect from others. The idea of serving others and helping them to reach their full potential never enters their mind. For these people, although at times they may enjoy periods of success, they will never thrive in the leadership role. They will never be happy and those they rule over will resent them for their poor leadership skills.
This book is penned from the perspective of servant leadership. Everyone today is familiar with the term and many even profess to be servant leaders who are far from it. Others, what I call “institutional” leaders, scoff at the idea of servant leadership claiming it to be “an easy way out” or creating “too friendly of a work environment”. Nothing could be further than truth. True servant leadership is extremely difficult and requires a unique mindset and a dedication to one’s personal mission in life to serve.
Smith crafted his book primarily with the small business owner in mind – the person who most often, planned for building their business but never planned for how to lead others. These are the people who find themselves as accidental leaders and quickly discover leadership is difficult work. For these entrepreneurs, this book is an excellent resource that will greatly enhance their leadership efforts and provide a road map of sorts to follow.
But the book doesn’t stop there. Anyone in a leadership position will benefit from the book. It is laden with excellent quotes from a wide variety of historical and present day leaders. Many of the lessons here are going to be difficult for a new leader to follow, such as “don’t tell people how to do things; tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results”. Of course it goes without saying this does not mean you don’t supervise their progress and keep them from making an irreversible mistake. I also like the fact that Smith injects biblical wisdom as well. For example, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” PROVERBS 27:17.
There is also a great deal of information here that you may not even consider as having to do with leadership but in fact are an essential part of leadership success such as hiring the right people, making sure you don’t grow your business too quickly, and being highly adaptive to new technology. You will also find a very useful list of resources for further reading as well as a nice “notes” section at the end of the book.
This was a good read that I highly recommend.
- Servant Leadership (timesheetchronicles.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: THE WEEKLY COACHING CONVERSATION (montyrainey.wordpress.com)
- “To Lead is to Serve” by Shar McBee (kevinwmccarthy.com)
- Book Review: FINDING THE PROSPERITY WITHIN (montyrainey.wordpress.com)
- Why servant leadership is crucial for a successful restaurant catering program (erledardick.com)
- There’s A Critical Difference Between Leadership And Motivation (spiceofyourlife.wordpress.com)
- 5 Perils of Leadership: Why Leadership Sucks (mryoungscholar.com)