I Have The Watch: Becoming A Leader Worth Following, by Jon S. Rennie
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookSirens. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
According to this book, and I believe the count, there are at least 14,000 books on leadership. As a reader I have read a substantial portion of this large body of work. What is it that makes a book like this worth reading? When one is dealing with a book about leadership, there are at least a couple of aspects that a reader is likely to consider. For one, there is the message, and for another, there is the messenger. This book does not have what I would consider particularly novel principles, at least by the standard that I have read. That said, the principles the author gives about leadership are very sound ones and ones well worth celebrating and practicing. The author follows what would be considered the humanistic tradition of leadership in focusing on the way that leaders serve and encourage others and enable employees to be the best that they can be. If many books say those things, they are still principles worth hearing about even though they can be hard to put into practice.
The other area where this book really shines is the way that the author gives a lot of his own experience. Even the writer of the foreword has a lot to say about his own experiences where he failed to be the sort of team player that a good leader is. It is not only the fact that this book has good principles that makes it notable but the way that the author and the writer of the foreword mix in solid reading (even if Quiet is not a book I particularly enjoyed reading) as well as a lot of personal experience in being leaders and dealing with leaders. The fact that they demonstrate growth in their approach as leaders provides a subtle example to the reader that leadership is not something that springs up automatically in certain kind of people but something that can and should be intentionally and consciously developed for the purpose of better serving one’s companies and other institutions. If this book is focused on the corporate world rather than on other approaches and if this book resembles something that one would read from a business consultant more than one would read from someone who wanted to talk about biblical servant leadership, it is still a book that is worth reading and applying.
This book is about 100 pages or so and is divided into a variety of easy-to-understand and generally short chapters that begin with some sort of leadership quote and that are filled with lots of examples from the author’s reading or personal experience. The author asks the reader why one would want to be a leader, gives insight on how one leads experienced employees. The author discusses how one brings plans to light, sees employees as an asset, appreciates others, puts employees ahead of customers, and has the employees’ back. The author talks about the importance of respect and caring and celebrating employees and gives some suggestions for doing memorable things. The author discusses giving intangible gifts, communicating face to face, and understanding the power of personal presence. There are chapters on the downside to being too busy or distracted, being absent, and being a jerk. There are also chapters that provide the author’s thoughts on building an unstoppable team, getting the most from one’s team, and recognizing and developing new leaders. There are also chapters on the paradox of leadership and a conclusion that encourages the reader to be a better leader.