When I first started reading The Life Giving Leader, I honestly wondered if we needed another book on leadership. Certainly not everything has been said that could be said about leadership, but I know there are lots of resources available for leaders. As I read Tyler’s Reagin’s book, I saw the value in what he had to share.
As the President of Catalyst, I know Reagin is in a position of leadership and also rubs shoulders with many of today’s top leaders. He draws from those experiences and shares them in the book.
In the first part of the book Reagin focuses on the person of the leader, primarily helping every leader to lead from who they are. He shares how he didn’t feel he could be a leader because of his personality type. He even shares how on two different occasions people told him that his success could be hindered by his personality. He goes on to encourage leaders to live and lead from who they are, what he calls “your truest self.”
I think we all have a picture in our mind of what a leader looks like. While we identify that ideal image, we also are able to point to the places where we don’t match up to the ideal. Reagin’s encouragement is to be who God made you to be, to lead out of that identity and give life to others. Those are good words we all need to hear.
In the second part of the book, he writes about the behaviors of a life-giving leader, including being willing to sweat, sacrifice, surrender and serve. While he had some good insights and suggestions in those chapters, one particular portion really stuck out to me.
Near the end of a chapter, he was writing about the importance of being on a team and how the leader builds good teams. He writes about developing trust and a culture where people believe the best instead of expecting the worst. I thought this quote was a great reminder as we work with people. We are going to let one another down, we are going to make mistakes and there is no perfect team. Knowing that Reagin writes this:
I know this is a crazy thought, but it’s good business to trust people. Obviously, there’s a chance someone will prove to be untrustworthy. But just because you had a bad cup of coffee once doesn’t mean you stop drinking coffee. Just because someone once used you and lost your trust doesn’t mean everyone who works with you should be called into suspicion.
If you work in any sort of group, team or organization, you know there exists what is called the “gap of information.” When that gap exists, when we don’t know all the details or what someone is thinking when they make a decision, we fill in the gap with either trust or suspicion. Reagin’s encouragement to leaders is to build a culture of trust and to be an advocate for your team members. That is some solid advice for leaders as we continue to work with people.
The Life Giving Leader is filled with some good insights for leaders. Reagin makes it clear that being a leader isn’t easy, but it is worth it. If you lead in any type of organization, this book would be of value to you.
Thanks to Waterbrook and Multnomah for an advance copy of The Life Giving Leader.