I have a backlog of books that I’ve read, but haven’t reviewed, so I figured I’d jump into Leadership Gold. John Maxwell is a writing machine. He puts himself on a schedule to pump out a new book every 18 months, so there’s never a lack to read from him.
Leadership Gold is one of his latest on the topic of leadership, as are many of his books. This book reminded me of another that I read from him several years ago called The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
. In this one, though, he brings together his best leadership lessons and maxims from his past books and puts them into one. If he were a musician, you could call this one of his “greatest hits” albums.
As with all of his books, he has tons of stories, illustrations, and subpoints. And that is what gets a little tiresome for me: all his subpoints. There are a billion of them. You get lost in them. Let me give you an example.
Chapter three is called “Defining Moments Define Your Leadership.” Sounds pretty good, and yet general enough for him to be able to talk about anything. Here’s why defining moments are important according to him:
1. Defining moments shows us who we really are
2. Defining moments declare to others who we are
3. Defining moments determine who we will become
So that’s one section within one chapter. He then gets into another section called “Moments That Defined Me.” Under this section he has further points:
1. Some defining moments were ground breakers
2. Some defining moments were heartbreakers
3. Some defining moments were cloud breakers
4. Some defining moments were chart breakers
You would think that that would be enough for one chapter. But you’d be wrong. He then goes into another section called “Defining Your Moments.”
Here are his points:
1. Reflect on defining moments from the past
2. Prepare for defining moments in the future
3. Make the most of defining moments in the present
Are you seeing my point? What’s the point in all these points? I really don’t know. I feel like most of them are just fillers: empty space to fill up a chapter. So this kind of writing is just beginning to tire me out. All you super left-brain thinkers out there must erupt in the hallelujah chorus when you read stuff like this and see all these outlines. For me, it just tires me out. You get to the end of a chapter and have had so much information that you don’t even know what you just read.
So I know it sounds like I’m resoundingly bashing this book. I’m not. There was some good stuff that made it worth the price of admission.
Here are two profound chapters that were worth it for me:
Chapter 16: People Quit People, Not Companies
This paragraph neatly summarizes the chapter:
“As leaders, we’d like to think that when people leave, it has little to do with us. But the reality is that we are often the reason. Some sources estimate that as many as 65 percent of people leave companies do so because of their managers. We may say that people quit their job or their company, but the reality is that they usually quit their leaders. The “company” doesn’t do anything negative to them. People do. Sometimes coworkers cause the problems that prompt people to leave. But often the people who alienate employees are their direct supervisors.”
This is significant stuff, here. He then gives some tips on how to avoid that from happening.
Chapter 23: Those Who Start the Journey with You Seldom Finish with You
“I have finally come to accept that it’s okay for people to leave. People have left my teams for various reasons. I outgrew some. Some outgrew me. A few changed and wanted to go in a new direction. Some refused to change and the train had to leave them behind. This is one of the hard truths of leadership. Times change and people have to learn to move on.”
This is a good book, but I think I’m going to explore some other authors more. If you prefer learning by example and through more narrative teaching, you may want to check out some books by Patrick Lencioni
. He writes “leadership parables.” He simply writes one big story/narrative and by the end of it you end up learning a lot without really trying to learn it.