Andy Stanley, Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2006. 176 pp. $16.08.
Andy Stanley is at his best when he is helping leaders know how to lead. This is why Next Generation Leader has so much to offer. In this simple work, Stanley shares five important principles of leadership that he has gathered over his years of, well, leading.
The strength of the book comes in its simple, straight-forward, and encouraging counsel on how to lead. For example, Stanley reminds us that, as leaders, it is wise for us to spend our time doing what we are naturally shaped and gifted to do. We dramatically do ourselves harm as leaders when we focus our energies on doing things that we dislike and are not good at. While such tasks are destined to be part of our work, we should find ways to minimize our time spent on tasks that drain us rather than fulfill us. This also means we must find ways to delegate the tasks that do not fit us to others who enjoy what we do not.
One more example that I will share is Stanley’s reminder that coaching is crucial for the development of any leader. If you are going to grow in your role as a leader, you need to have someone who can see what you do and offer suggestions and encouragement. A coach does not have to be somebody who can do what you are trying to do. A coach merely needs to be an observant, honest, and helpful person who is willing to invest in you.
Stanley occasionally uses biblical passages, generally Old Testament narrative, to illustrate the principles of leadership that he is attempting to share. This, to me, is the weakest point of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I am a pastor, and I love the Bible with all my heart. However, I do not think that the use of biblical illustrations actually strengthens Stanley’s points. He is not using the passages in their original context to teach their original intent. I would prefer to simply have Stanley teach these true principles with modern-day life examples rather than stretching the biblical text to fit a modern leadership paradigm.
I would happily recommend Next Generation Leader to any person who is interested in studying and growing in the field of leadership. Stanley has much to offer in this work, and we can all glean some great insights from what he has put together.
I received a free audio copy of this work as a part of the reviewers program of ChristianAudio.com. The narration of this book was perfect for the topic. It was engaging and never dull.