The Leadership Mandate by Dan Black (Book Review)

Lead MandI have the honor and privilege of reviewing a book from a great father, husband, and leader, and someone I consider a friend, Dan Black. But before I review the book, let me just say a little bit about Dan.

I had the privilege of meeting Dan last year in San Diego. We sat down for dinner, and while I never verbalized it to Dan at the time, as we talked, I told myself he is going to do great things in the field of leadership.

Dan is already doing great things in the area of leadership. If you haven’t already, follow his blog, danblackonleadership. There you can read awesome blog posts, and also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Now for the book review. I am not saying this just because I know Dan, and I admire what he is doing. But once I purchased, and downloaded the ebook, and I started reading, I did not stop until I was done.

“The Leadership Mandate” is one of the most practical books you can read on leadership, period. I was struck by Dan’s sincerity, insight, and passion as a leader, and his desire that leaders – whether you consider yourself one or not -grow in their areas of strength, passion, and purpose to influence others.

Dan does a great job if tying together the 10 essential elements to make sure that as a leader you can increase your influence on others, become a better leader, and move in your area of passion.

For me the area that most stuck with me was element #7: Passion. Dan asked several questions in this element. But the two that really helped me understand what passion trully means were: “What makes you cry and what makes you laugh?” and “What do you dream about?”. As I read those two questions, a different level consciouness woke up within me as to what my passion is.

“The Leadership Mandate” is an awesome book for people who question whether they are a leader or not (But remember we are all leading someone). If you want to start your leadership journey get the “The Leadership Mandate”. The 10 essential elements will help you to understand what you need to do to become a leader – or a better leader – by helping you understand where you are, and get you where you want to be. Purchase the ebook at , I guarantee you won’t regret it.

After you read the book, come back and tell me, what stuck with you the most?

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Great Leaders have a number two

All  leaders that aspire to be great leaders need a number two man, or woman. Batman has Robin, Lone Ranger has Tonto, and Moses had Joshua. There’s a lot to be said for having a right hand man. But no Bible verse says it better than Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.

Here are three benefits of having a number two, or as they say a “right hand man (or woman)”:

1. Complement skills and abilities that you don’t have – True leaders are not foolish enough to think that they know it all and can do it all. Being an effective leader means that you know your limitations and are humble enough to recognize those limitations. I am blessed to know that I not only have one right hand man, but two, that have skills and abilities that I do not posses.

2. Complement your character – I am a straight forward individual. And because of that I recognize that I have “jumped the gun” as they say, on many occasions when a bit more tact was probably in order. Having a number two that has a different character can help you balance your approach with individual team members. If you are straight forward like me, you might need someone that is more subtle in their approach. It doesn’t mean that as  leader you can’t flex, or adapt, which you should, but it does mean that your number two person can compliment your primary character.

3. Free to focus on strategy – As a leader chances are you are engaged, or at least you should be, more in strategy, as opposed to tactics. Having a number that can focus on the day to day operations and tactics, will free you as a leader to focus on the strategy and overall vision of your team. If you don’t spend quality time as a leader focusing on strategy, your team and the business you lead will stagnate.

What are some other benefits of having a “number two”?

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Leaders have a regimen, but are adaptable

Having a routine, or a regimen is very important. It can lead to great levels of focus which can lead to high levels of productivity.

We all have some regimen. It could be good or it could be bad. I have an exercise regimen. I workout 5 days a week -two days are cardio, three days are strength training.

But since life happens, I don’t always go 5 days in a row. It could be two days, a break, then three days. Also, I might not always alternate my cardio and strength training days. I might do two days in a row of cardio or two days in row of strength training.

Because life does happen, I have learned to be adaptable, but still achieve my goal of working out 5 days a week, even if the pattern is not the same week in and week out.

It’s very important for leaders to have regimen but be adaptable for several reasons.

1. It creates good decisions making abilities – when we restrict the way we think we can also inadvertently restrict our decision making. Being adaptable allows you to be open to other ideas that you, or others, might have, but are quick to dismiss when you are set in your ways.

2. Creates opportunities – being adaptable creates other opportunities that might not have been possible or plain to see when we stick with our first thought, idea, or decision. As leaders we are supposed to allow for other opportunities to come our way and be open to those opportunities where it may seem reasonable.

3. Able to tap into other resources – leaders are always looking for ways to use current resources at their disposal. But visionary leaders can tap into other resources that might not necessarily be within our own control. Being adaptable can open up relationships with others and the resources that they have under their control, which you might need as a leader.

Are the other benefits, or reasons, you can think you of, why it’s a good idea to be adaptable?

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5 Keys to building Relationships

I think we are all aware of the importance of developing relationships. In a family unit it fosters a great marriage; develops children who are respectful, loving, and caring. At work it boosts employee morale and helps with productivity.

There are no secrets to creating healthy relationships. Actually, there are no secrets to anything in life that is worth building- you just have to work hard it.

Below are my 5 keys on building healthy, and strong, relationships.

1. Give an attentive ear – Every day my daughters comes home from school they’ll tell me about their day. I do about 95% of listening and ask questions as needed. I’ve noticed throughout the years that they just really need an attentive ear. Anyone that you are seeking to create a relationship with, will need your ear. Therefore, be slow to speak and quick to listen.

2. Don’t be critical – as you listen don’t criticize. People within your sphere of influence need guidance and affirmation. It’s best to give advice on what to do, as opposed to what not to do. Yes, there will be times in extreme situations where you will need to be very direct about not doing something, i.e. don’t do drugs. But we need to understand that people trust us to give them advice and counsel, not to have a critical spirit and mindset.

3. It’s not about you its about the other person – relationships are not about you, but about the other person. When building relationships we have to make sure we avoid making conversations, spending time together about what we want. We need to put the needs of others first.

4. Spend time doing whatever the other person wants – as in 3 above, this is where we need to get outside of ourselves, stop being selfish and focus on the other person. Our natural tendency is to want what we want and others must just come along for the ride. But that’s not how it should be in a healthy relationship. It’s OK to ask your wife, “what would you like to do this weekend?”.

5. Ask what you can do to help – I always start and end my employee conversations with “what can I do for you?” It’s such an important question to ask as a leader because traditionally you are telling people what to do during the course of the day. So as a leader when you invest time with your employees always ask that very important question. Asking that questions will set you apart as a servant-leader.

Any other keys to building relationships?

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Leading Posts week of 5/20/13

Great week of posts from a group of great leaders in their own rights. It felt good getting back in the swing of things of reading and commenting on such awesome blog posts. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Persistent Sacrifice - by TJ Trent

5 Keys To Building A Loyal Blog Following - by Joseph Lalonde

Change Your Life By Creating Mental Triggers - by Joseph Lalonde

The Empathic Leader - by Dan Black (Gues Post by Dan Erickson

Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life - by Dan Black

Renovation - by Larry Hehn

What other posts impacted you last week? Please share.

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Give up and be a Joyful Leader

Leaders should set the example of being joyful. No, being joyful doesn’t mean that everything goes your way. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have conflict with customers, employees, or conflict at home.

As leaders we should set the tone at home and work and we should start by being joyful despite the challenges with face every day.

One of the stumbling blocks to joy is trying to be in control of everything that happens around us. That is nearly impossible and as they saying goes, a recipe for disaster.

Here are three things to give up and be joyful:

1. Give up control – no one knows how to do the job of your employees better than the employees themselves. Don’t micro-manage or try to control, it will only cause you frustrations. Once you give up control of the day to day operations, you’ll have more time for setting vision which is one of your primary jobs as a leader.

2. Give up being right – if you want to know how things get done correctly, ask your employees, and even your children. As a leader you are not meant to be right all the time. More often than not your employees know first hand how work gets done, how customers perceive your products and services, among many other things.

3. Give up trying to make people like you – as a leader, generally speaking, I don’t care about the means, as long as they are ethical, I care more about the outcome. As a leader that’s why I make every effort to involve my employee to do things their way, that makes the most sense, and is most efficient and effective to get work done.

Then after you have given up. Here are some things you can do keep your joy:

1. Have a hobby you enjoy – Having a hobby can be a good way to learn something new. Leaders should learn often and keep the mind sharp. A gloomy mind is a joyless life.

2. Read good books – Leaders are readers might be a cliche, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Sharpen your mind with a good book that is full of wisdom and insight. You’ll be happy to discover from good books that others face many of the same challenges you do and it will encourage you that you are not alone.

3. Listen to encouraging music – I love good music. Nothing gets mind and body excited like some good encouraging music with a positive message.

What are other things you can give up, and what else can help you maintain your joy?

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Leading Posts week of 4/15/13

Some great posts I read last week. Not all these posts are from the of 4/15, many are from the week of 4/8 while I was on haitus. Hopefully you enjoyed many if not all these posts.

Building Strong Relationships with Dan Black - by Jared Latigo (Interview Guest is Dan Black)

Four steps to better decision making - by Deb Lee

5 Reasons Your Leadership Is Ineffective - by Joseph Lalonde

Don’t Arrive At The Top By Yourself - by Joseph Lalonde

4 Leadership Lessons from my Marriage - by Dan Black

Kimanzi Constable: Leadership Style Interview - by Charles Sprecht

12 Ways to Improve Your Performance at Work - by Julie Rains

3 Life Hacks To Increase Your Productivity - by TJ Trent (Guest post by James Lalonde)

Accountability vs. Responsibility? - by Dan Black (Guest post Gordon Tredgold)

How the Conservative Party of Canada Lost My Vote - by Larry Hehn

The Importance of a Leader’s Heart – by Michael Hyatt

What were some of your favorite posts from the week of 4/15, please share?

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My Habits of being an Effective Leader

Yes, another list of being a highly effective leader. But bear with me, I think I might have something here, and hopefully you will agree.

What makes this list different from others you ask? My response, “me.”

I am sure as a leader you have your own list, and I can’t wait to read it. But for the meantime below are my top 5 habits.

1. Highly effective leaders are accountable – I live by this word. If you want to be effective, you must stop making excuses, and be accountable, and responsible for your sphere of influence. Will there be roadblocks? Yes. Will there be distractions? Yes. Will there people who are not for you? I think you know the answer to that one.

2. Highly effective leaders get results – Along with accountability, results, is the second word I live by. In the end it doesn’t matter how much you know, it’s what can you do with what you know, and can you innovate and get results. Can you imagine if Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs, or better yet, Jesus Christ our Lord and savior knew what had to be done, but didn’t do it? There would be no results. So focus on results and producing you have a lot people depending on you.

3. Highly effective leaders encourage -Everyday I wake up with the Psalm, this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad it in it. Why? Because it encourages me. As a leader one of your primary jobs is to encourage yourself and encourage others, so that you get the best out of yourself and those you lead.

4. Highly effective leaders mentor -As a leader it is your duty to mentor. If you want to leave a legacy, than teach others what you know. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to leave a legacy because you have shared of your knowledge, expertise and skills.

5. Highly effective leaders delegate -Then after you mentor, and have developed well rounded followers, with the potential to become leaders, you need to delegate. Share responsibility so that your followers can exhibit their skills, know-how, and competence. It will also lighten your work-load so that you can focus on visionary work.

What other habits can you add to my list? 

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Leading Posts week of 3/25

Great posts from last week. Hope you had time to enjoy these last week as well.

Holy Spirit Attraction - by Ken(TheBarba) Hagerman

That Awkward Moment When You Realize You’re a Pharisee - by Larry Hehn

9 Signs You’re A Leader - by Joseph Lalonde

The Value of the Intentional Life - by danonleadership (Guest post, Chris Peek)

Whatever You Do, Don’t Quit - by TJ Trent

The Six Deadly Sins of Leadershipby Jack and Suzy Welch

10 Ways to Know Someone is Leaving Your Church – by Brian Dodd

Any other posts that you would recommend? 

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4 Lies Leaders tell themselves

Leadership is influence. But in order to influence others we have to have relationship with them.

Many leaders fail at leadership, not because of lack of skill, intelligence, or some other ability, but because of lack of building true relationships.

Here are four lies that leaders tell themselves about their relationships with team members, colleagues, and other close to them, and why they fail in their leadership journey.

1. We say we have relationship, but we walk alone in our leadership journey. When we fall we have no one to help us up. We should heed Proverbs 27:17.

2. We say we have done nothing wrong to others, but wonder why some people don’t get along with us, trust us, nor feel comfortable discussing problems with us. 

3. We say we know others, but probably don’t even know the names of the spouses of some of  our team members.

4. We say we care for our employees, but our actions say otherwise. We don’t approve that last minute personal time off request from a team member to attend a child’s school function.

What are other lies that leaders tell themselves?

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