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Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Heart of Leadership summary: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow

The Heart of Leadership:-book summary

The Heart of Leadership
The Heart of Leadership  

Chapter 1: Leaders Are Different

The story begins with Blake Brown in his performance review at work. His boss Samantha tells him that he does outstanding work, but unfortunately is not getting a promotion. Blake is confused about why he did not get a promotion even though he has done outstanding work. She tells him that there is a lot more to leadership than great individual work. She tells him he is not acting like a leader, that leaders are different. She suggests to him to go speak with some of the leaders that he knows for some advice. He goes home dreading having to tell his wife that he did not get the promotion. They already have trouble paying their bills. When he gets home he sees that she is crying. She tells him that she is pregnant with their second child. He tells her that he is going to set up a meeting with his old mentor, Debbie Brewster, to get some leadership advice.

Chapter 2: When the Student is Ready
Blake meets Debbie Brewster at a coffee shop early one morning. Blakes father started a leadership group before he passed away. The group consists of people from all walks of life who are dedicated to becoming better leaders. Debbie Brewster was a member of his group. He explains to her how he wants to meet for some leadership advice because he was passed over for a promotion. She tells him that his boss Samantha was right when she said leaders are different. She also tells him to not associate leadership with a position. That he can lead with or without a title. She drew him a picture of an iceberg to explain a picture of leadership. The 10 percent about the waterline is skills and the 90 percent below the waterline is leadership character. Skills are just want leaders do, leadership character is what drives what we do and why we do them. She explains to him that leadership is not just about traits like honesty, integrity, and loyalty. You want everyone who works for you to have these traits. You can have great character and still not demonstrate leadership character. Debbie sends him on a journey to meet with five other leaders that are in his father’s leadership group who will tell him something about leadership.

Chapter 3: It’s Not About YouBlake first meets with Chad Culpepper, a man who started a non-profit kitchen to feed the homeless called Heaven’s Kitchen. Chad stands at the end of the line to hug and shake the hands of the homeless people who come through. He tells Blake that his dad used to do this often and Blake never knew. He tells Blake to think of others first. In Chad’s opinion, this is what separates the best leaders from everyone else. Chad explains how servant leadership is the opposite of conventional leadership where the leader focuses on himself and his accomplishments. Servant leaders are always trying to help others win. He says that traditional leadership is outdated because it relies too much on what the leader contributes and too little on the skills and talents of those underneath. Servant leadership is not about who is in charge, it’s about how can the leader help people be successful. Being a servant leader also build trust. Chad says, “Servant leaders don’t think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less.” There are five strategic ways that great leaders serve: See the future, Engage and develop others, Reinvent continuously, Value results and relationships, Embody the values. Chad says that the foundation of leadership character is the ability to think others first.

Chapter 4: Leaders Create the Future
Blake next meets with Joe Conrad, the CEO of a global pharmaceutical company. He reiterates what Debbie told him: Without leadership character, no one cares about your skills. His contribution to Blake’s journey is to expect the best. He explains that great leaders see how things could be. They see a future that is better than the present. Great leaders think they can make a difference. Leaders are usually more optimistic than non-leaders. Every successful leader has an expect the best attitude. He tells Blake that he will not always get the best, but having that outlook will make him a better leader. He tells Blake to think of the glass always as completely full- with half air and half liquid.

Chapter 5: Vision Fuels Courage
Before meeting with the third leader in his journey, Blake meets with Debbie again to go over what he’s learned so far. He tells her that thinking others first is not a strength of his. He tells her that he’s always focused on what he wanted or how he was going to advance. He tells her that he is going to get in the habit of asking himself two questions before every conversation: “How can I serve this person?” and “What does a win look like for him or her.”

Blake’s next meeting is with Molly Ortega, the school superintendent for their school district, one of the largest districts in the country. Her contribution to his journey is that leaders respond with courage. She explains that the best leaders respond with courage when they are faced with a challenging situation. Non-leaders will often choose the path with less risk and less conflict. She says that leaders don’t wait, they initiate. She is responsible for thousands of students so she can’t take her time making decisions. If she sees a teacher struggling or a student falling behind, she acts right away. She says that “Leaders respond with courage when they: Articulate the vision for the future, Build relationships with challenging people, Challenge people to grow and change, Mend broken relationships, Confront difficult problems, Make hard or unpopular decisions.” She says to not wait around when an opportunity arises. “Your missed opportunities are often no big deal in isolation. They are, however, cumulative.” Molly says that leaders’ willingness to respond with courage over and over again is what makes them different from followers.

Chapter 6: The Price of Leadership
Blake again meets with Debbie to go over what he has learned. They again talk about developing character. She explains that when leadership character traits are established they are hard to hide because it becomes who you actually are.

Blake goes back to work looking for ways to respond with courage. He was going through his reports and noticed one of his clients was always late on their payments. He approached his boss Samantha about it and told her he wanted to discuss it with the client himself. She was hesitant because they are a long-term client and she doesn’t want to tick them off. He said he will be very careful. Blake admitted to himself that he was scared and had a new appreciation for responding with courage. He scheduled a meeting with the owner of the company and explained to him that they pay them 60-90 days late every month. The owner had no idea they were paying late and said he will fix it right away. Blake acted with courage in a risky situation with a long-term client and it turned out well.

Chapter 7: No Substitute for Wisdom
Blake’s next meeting is with Judge Victoria Barnett. She tells him her contribution to the leadership character conversation is to hunger for wisdom. She said great leaders hunger for wisdom so they can better serve those they are leading. She says, “A commitment to lifelong learning will help you maintain this openness. The pursuit of wisdom requires an open mind, and an open mind can be fueled by learning. Leaders who desire wisdom must become predatory in their search for wisdom.” The judge says leaders need to think of their quest for wisdom as a hunger that can never be satisfied.

After he met with the judge he met with Debbie again. Blake asks her about others that have gone on the same journey that he is and whether or not they have been successful. She says that some have and some have not. She says this is for three reasons: 1) They never got past their “leadership is a title dilemma. They worried too much about their position. They were blind to the daily opportunities to lead. 2) They were afraid- afraid of failure, the unknown, the responsibility. She tells him, “Leadership is a privilege, but it is not free- it comes at a price. She says that he will have to wait to find out what number three is.

Chapter 8: Look in the Mirror
Blake’s final meeting is with Coach Tom Bradley, a local high school football coach. He tell him that leaders accept responsibility and that leadership is about ownership. Coach Tom says, “Ownership in this context is about a leader’s willingness to assume responsibility for his or her actions and the actions of those they lead. It is about being accountable for action and outcomes-yours and others.” Great leaders will accept responsibility when the team fails and are very slow to blame others. When things do go well, leaders don’t need to accept all the responsibility, they need to give praise. This is because it is the leader’s role to help others win. Blake realizes this is his greatest fault. When things don’t go his way he blames others. When things do go right, he takes all the credit.

Chapter 9: I Can Change This
After meeting with the coach he still realizes that accepting responsibility is his biggest hurdle. He arranges a meeting with Debbie again for the next morning. Blake goes home to his wife and tells her he’s sorry for all the blame he has put on her over the years. He is excited because he realizes that he gets to decide how he responds to situations, no one can do that for him. He realizes that he can change and fix himself in to becoming a leader.

Chapter 10: A Matter of the Heart
In the next few weeks at work, Blake demonstrates more of the leadership character traits that he has learned. In a meeting at work Blake chimed in that one of the problems in their business cycle was him. He admitted that his clients’ orders had been getting smaller and smaller over time. He told the team he owns it and is on it and that he will update them at their next meeting. His boss Samantha is shocked and tells him that she has never seen him own anything before. She tells him to keep up the good work.
He meets with Debbie again. Blake is dying to know what the third reason is for why some leaders fail. She tells him, “Leadership is a matter of the heart. If you do all the things we’ve talked about, it still won’t matter if your heart doesn’t change.” The heart of leadership is a matter of the heart. HEART is an acronym for all the facets of leadership: Hunger for wisdom, Expect the best, Accept responsibility, Respond with courage, Think others first. Blake tells Debbie that his leadership character is strengthening because when he first started out, he was just trying to get a promotion so he could make his house payment. By his last meeting his objective had changed. He wanted to now serve more effectively at home and at work.

Chapter 11: The Next Step
Blake sits down for his next review at work and thanks Samantha for challenging him during his last review. He has changed for the better and learned about leadership character more than he ever would have. She tells him she has noticed that his heart is changing into the heart of a leader and to keep up doing what he’s doing. She wants him to share what he’s learned at the next team meeting.

The book concludes with Debbie asking Blake to join the leadership group that his father started.

Biography of the writer

Mark Miller
Mark Miller 
Mark Miller is an international best-selling author, business leader, and communicator.

Mark began writing almost twenty years ago when he teamed up with Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager, to write The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do. The book you now hold in your hand is his seventh. With over 1,000,000 books in print, in more than 25 languages, Mark’s global impact continues to grow. you can buy  his books here

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