I read books. It’s my hobby, so, I’ll often be approached by friends about a suggestion of books that helped me in a certain area. I learn best from reading and applying – so the task that I’ve taken over the years is to read a book and implement principles from said books.
The other day, I received this question from a buddy and thought it might be helpful for you, the reader – if not – well, this blog post is free and you get what you pay for.
“I am a weak administrator/slash team builder guy trying to improve on that this summer as a prepare for next fall. So was wondering what books have been beneficial for you in this area.”
Well, let me give you a not-so-helpful response when it comes to improving weak areas, then I’ll recommend some books:
“Don’t improve your weaknesses, improve your strengths.”
I think I heard this from Andy Stanley, but the point is to improve where you’re already gifted rather than exhaust yourself in areas where you’re not. In other words, “Be a specialist, not a generalist.” It’s not the best advice around, but it does help center you on your strong suits, rather than your weak ones.
Still not helpful, I know. Because you and I both know the truth – if we’re called as Pastors of small rural churches, we don’t have the “luxury” to just be a “specialist” or just a “preacher.” The point is that we need to be really good at a several different things (Preaching/Shepherding), and OK at a few (Admin/Organization). I don’t know many who are great Preachers, Pastors and Administrators. I know many who are great Pastors, but poor Administrators, or vice versa. That isn’t a crack on anybody, it’s the point that we’re human and weak. And that’s a good thing.
So what books have helped me “organize” my administrative/team building world? (These are in no particular order, and cover a wide area of topics, but when considered, they’ve helped shape me as a leader).
Making Ideas Happen – Scott Belsky
How to get your idea across in 30 seconds or less – Milo O Frank
Leadership that Works – Leith Anderson
Spiritual Leadership – Henry Blackaby
Working the Angles – Eugene Peterson
7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
360 Degree Leader – John Maxwell
The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization – Peter M. Senge
Sticky Teams – Larry Osborne
Each of these were valuable in their own way, and this list really isn’t exhaustive – it’s just some (there are certainly more) that came to mind. Each has it’s own benefit as well.
IN SUMMARY: I’ve told our church – I’m OKAY at managing, but my wheelhouse is preaching/leading. We’re understaffed in this area, so it’s necessary for me to function as the “admin” which exhausts energy. So I schedule that stuff on Monday and Thursday afternoon. Then answer whatever questions I need to from there. In the end, if you create a system that works, it *can* run itself. Senge talks a lot about systems. His view is that EVERYTHING has a system “why we do the things we do” etc.
In sum, the key is to create a system that runs efficiently and effectively. But you won’t be a great leader unless you’ve given God the space to work those things out in you.
Are there more books on the list you’d add?