Leadership Reading List: Great Leaders GROW

I love getting things in the mail.  The other day, I got a copy of Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller’s book Great Leaders Grow: Becoming a Leader for Life, compliments of Michael Nichols (whose blog you really need to be reading).  The book is short and sweet, I read it in a little over an hour (120 pages), and while we all know that we need to be growing as leaders… it gives a simple tool to actually do it.

The book starts off with a simple reminder that our ability to lead is dependent upon our ability to grow.  Without consistently developing our leadership abilities, we stagnate… as do the teams we lead.  Using the simple acronym GROW:

  • Gain Knowledge: Leaders need to be learning.  Whether you are reading, listening to podcasts, watching videos, or which ever delivery system works best, leaders must be constantly and consistently learning about themselves, others, their industry, and their field of leadership.
  • Reach Out to Others: There are few things that help us grow more than having to teach.  The act of preparing for a small group study or a sermon forces us interact with scripture in ways that we wouldn’t normally do so.  In the same way, looking for ways to help others grow in their leadership, whether formally or informally, strengthens our leadership as well.
  • Open Your World: Growing in our leadership abilities requires us to get outside of our comfort zone.  I liken this point to sermon preparation: sometimes, in order to find just the right illustration, you need to get and and do something different.  Hobbies, travel, volunteer work (outside the church context), and spending time with people in different industries are a great way to get started.
  • Walk Toward Wisdom: In order to be effective as leaders we need to crave wisdom.  Seeking wisdom in the form of self-evaluation, honest feedback (looking back), and counsel from others (looking forward) helps us to learn from our current situation and grow stronger as we move into our next.

I can see this book being a great tool to use in a coaching, mentoring, or team development context: serving as a jumping off point for your regular gatherings.  While the information is nothing earth-shattering, it is a great refresher on the importance of developing ourselves as leaders.  With this in mind, I’d like to share what I found to be the most profound statement in the book:

Growing, for great leaders, is like breathing.  It is not optional.  It is not something you do in addition to your real job.  It is at the core of your real job.  Leaders- the good ones- are always learners.  The way they go about it will vary from leader to leader, but it is not an option.

Go and do likewise.

What are YOU doing to grow as a leader?

Want a copy of Great Leaders GROW for yourself?  Share this post on Facebook or Twitter and leave a comment letting us know how YOU are intentionally growing as a leader.  A random comment will be selected at noon, eastern, on Saturday June 2, 2012 and receive a copy of the book, courtesy of Church Simple.


About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.

  • Tom Jamieson

    Leadership is a never ending journey.  I just finished reading The 360-degree Leader by John Maxwell.  Good book.  I hope I win this giveaway so I can keep growing.  Thanks, Matt!

  • Michael Nichols

    Thanks Matt. So glad you enjoyed the book. Great job with the blog!

    • Matt Steen

      Thanks, Michael!

  • Jack

    I certainly need to keep growing as a man and a leader. Hope winning this book will help me recognize all the creative Ways God wants to teach me important lessons. How was the cruise and your return hometown see Pete?

    • Matt Steen

      It was wonderful, and it is good to be back in our rhythm…  how was YOUR time away?

  • Derek Miller

    I have just finished the book “Leading From the Second Chair” and I am seeking to apply much of this wisdom to my role as a number two in a newer church environment. There is much for me to learn here, but I know that influence is my biggest resource.

    • Matt Steen

      What did you think of Leading from the second chair?

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