Of the many books on leadership I’ve read, Mark Strom’s Lead with Wisdom: How Wisdom Transforms Good Leaders into Great Leaders is one of my favorites. That’s why it is a part of the leadership development going on at my church.
Lead with Wisdom is both profound and practical. Like most books on leadership, you can get some great tips/reminders with a quick skim, but this one deserves a careful read. And then a re-read six months later. And then every so often when you get in a slump. Anyway, that is how it has been for me.
Here are just a few of the places marked in my copy.
What is wisdom?
Wisdom is reading and living the patterns of life.
How do you find wisdom?
Personally I find it helpful to think in terms of attentiveness and presence. Wisdom asks me to pay attention to life; to notice and wonder and consider. Life is so big. Sometimes I can’t start ‘out there’; I have to start ‘in here’. It isn’t natural for me to pay attention or to be present to what is happening around and within me. I’m too busy. Too distracted. But sometimes, without warning, a door opens to wonder. I start to pay attention. Stillness becomes possible. I may find myself uncommonly present to others and to the world, its beauty and its travail. That is where my learning starts.
Leadership doesn’t require a fancy title and a corner office.
Position is only a context for leading.
What to do before a meeting:
- Take some time on your own.
- Put your notes away.
- Think about the people.
- See them as people, not colleagues.
- Imagine them flourishing.
- Commit to being present to bless.
When leading people, language matters:
...official labels or definitions rarely carry the key meanings. We find those in the informal language: in the anecdotes, analogies, and metaphors that people use to assure themselves they know what’s going on. These might be true and strong, or false and weak. If a leader is to stimulate change, she must get inside this language and—subtly—strengthen or subvert it as appropriate.
Mission statements require meaningful stories.
Until there is a story, there is no vision. Until there is an argument for that story, there is no strategy.
The three factors of a good reputation:
Competence gets us in the game. Integrity keeps us there. Brilliance gives us the edge.