The author can focus on long term strategy, leadership philosophy and Biblical principles when he needs to: he is a theologian, church historian, long-time church elder and the author of a previous work called Architects of Change.
But this book is different. It’s comprised of many short chapters dealing with “getting the job done subjects” such as:
- Bringing order out of chaos – “This great leadership skill of bringing order out of chaos is what separates real leaders from wannabes.” (p. 18) “This is where leadership begins.” (p. 16)
- Four things you gain from the struggles of leadership – “The sense of ‘I can do this,’ also known as self-efficacy, comes only through the struggle. Easy assignments and projects will never fill a reservoir of deep efficacy…” (p. 19)
- The one question leaders should ask themselves every day – “Do people find it easy to work with me?” (p. 21)
- The importance of having a base camp – Everybody needs a sacred place to replenish, recover, prepare, rest and regroup. (pp. 24, 25)
- The priceless value of leadership humor – “Effective humor endears people to a leader, because laughter is good for the soul. It eases pain, refreshes, and adds energy when needed. [It] develops a bond of human contact unattainable by any other means. A little laughter goes a long way.” (p. 53)
- Leadership patience – Patient leaders “…find ways to reduce anxiety so people can make effective decisions using their cerebral cortex, instead of the deep emotional centers of the brain.” (p. 58)
- Leadership balance: Not ignoring people while ignoring the noise – “The value of organizational input is obvious: by listening, we gain crucial insight, but that doesn’t mean we need to listen to all the noise.”
Doctor Bohn also takes on a few “sacred cows” (some of them Christian) in chapters dealing with:
- Leadership and humility: What it is and isn’t – “Leadership humility is the confident exertion of one’s power, without damaging the dignity of others. [It is] the ability to listen to all parties without imposing an image of elevated separation.” (p. 50)
- Valuing your value as a leader – The author says we should value our experience, our counsel, our judgment, our influence, the power of our networks and our ability to get things done. (pp. 45-47)
- The importance of your leadership persona – “Ultimately, leadership effectiveness is the psychological impact of a person engaged in relationships with others.” (p. 36)
- Office politics – “Politics is the default place to blame just about anything one doesn’t like in the workplace.” (p. 100) “Someone who continually complains about politics is not likely to get the jobs and projects they seek. In short, their complaints will limit their effectiveness and their long-term cynicism will damage their teams.”
- Why best practices often aren’t – Best practices are not always best for your organization because your organization is unique. “Sometimes your ‘best practices’ are within your own walls.” (p. 179)
- This is a very useful book that you can put to work right away. Nevertheless, my favorite chapters will always be:
- How to tell if your management team acts like a rock band, an
- Things I learned about management by working with rock musicians
You’ll just have to get the book to find out what’s in those chapters.
The Nuts and Bolts of Leadership is available from Amazon.com.