Friday, September 30, 2011

Giveaway: How to Lead by the Book

Today's book discussion and giveaway is "How to Lead by THE BOOK: Proverbs, Parables, and Principles to Tackle Your Toughest Business Challenges" by Dave Anderson (Wiley, June 2011, hardback, $24.95, 211 pp.)

Anderson offers ideas for confronting poor performers in your organization with love, respect, and the promise of improvement while boosting your business in the process. He says there is a tendency to either avoid this type of confrontation altogether or to way overdo it by letting the offender "have it."

According to Anderson, however, there's a middle ground when it comes to confronting poor performers. He says as a Christian leader (assuming you are a Christian leader reading his book), "it’s your responsibility to reach it by taking a path that blends gentleness with firmness."

“Demonstrating love for others — regardless of the circumstances or how much authority you may have — is something that truly pleases God,”  Anderson states in the book. “And the great news is that we already possess the perfect instruction manual for doing so in every aspect of life, including business: The Bible.”

The Bible, Anderson says, provides clear examples of how to use confrontation wisely to improve individuals and to protect an organization’s future. 

"Of course, following this model still won’t make confrontation fun for you … but it will guide you in making positive, tangible differences for your employees and your organization,” he writes.

Anderson offers these seven tips for confronting poor performers:

1) Confront with class. “Our objective as leaders is to develop people, not punish them,” Anderson states. “By taking the time to have a sincere, private conversation rather than tossing out criticism in front of the whole team, you’re communicating a very respectful reproof that is likely to take root and spark a sincere change.”

2) Nix favoritism. In organizations across the globe, there’s “that guy”: the one who can do no wrong in the boss’s eyes, and who blithely flouts the rules that bind everyone else. Not so fast, boss! By allowing a top performer to violate values, exhibit selfishness, or break the rules without rebuke, you’re undermining your organization’s culture and your own credibility.

3) Make sure the correction fits the “crime.” “If you look through the Bible, it’s clear that the harshest words and consequences are reserved for individuals who violated values — who knew what was right and wrong and deliberately chose the wrong path,” Anderson says. “As a leader, you must customize your approach to confrontation to fit the person and the offense. Hold your leaders to a higher standard. And take a very tough stance against those who violate values, embrace selfishness, and create division.”

4) Beware of committing a false kindness. “Skipping tough feedback and unpleasant consequences is showing a false kindness, because this tactic just results in even more poor performances,” states Anderson. “As a leader, your primary focus must be on telling the truth with love, not on whether your team likes hearing that feedback.”

5) Choose your battles wisely. “There’s a good reason why Proverbs 3:30 tells us not to ‘…strive with a man without cause; if he has done you no harm.’ You don’t want to spark unnecessary negative relations!”
Anderson states.

6) Follow up with follow-through. “Offering appropriate guidance to a team member is just as important as the initial conversation,” confirms Anderson. “Think about it this way: Where would we be if God didn’t continue to lead us back to the correct path again…and again…and again?”

7) Don’t dig up the past. “When Jesus came to the disciples on the seashore following his Resurrection, he specifically asked Peter three times — the number of times Peter had denied Him — to reaffirm his love,” Anderson recounts. “However, Jesus did not overtly remind Peter of his denials, the most significant failures of Peter’s life. Instead, He focused on defining fresh expectations by asking Peter to tend His sheep. We can all learn from this as leaders—your aim should not be to build up a case against a person, but to help that person and her performance improve.”

Confronting poor performers "will almost always be nerve-wracking, uncomfortable, and maybe even downright upsetting. But if you follow THE BOOK’s blueprint for confronting someone after a misstep, you’ll be able to correct behavior, show love and respect, and spark lasting, positive growth,” he writes.

If you'd like to win my brand new copy of this book, courtesy of Wiley publicity, e-mail me at with a mailing address to which you'd like me to send the book. Winner will be notified by email. (You could also simply comment on this blog with your address, if you wish). 

About the author:

Dave Anderson is president of Dave Anderson's Learn To Lead, an international sales and leadership training and consulting company. Prior to beginning Learn To Lead, Anderson enjoyed a career in the automotive retail industry. He is a frequent speaker and has given more than 1,000 workshops and speeches over the past decade on sales and leadership development. Anderson is author of 12 books, including the TKO Business Series, Up Your Business, If You Don't Make Waves You'll Drown, and How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK. Anderson and his wife, Rhonda, are cofounders of The Matthew 25:35 Foundation, which helps to feed educate and house under-resourced people throughout the world. Learn more about Anderson by visiting his Learn to Lead website.

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