1) What prompted me to read this book?
Prior to coming to prison, I had aspirations of being a highly respected leader. By many standards, my aspirations were realized. I held positions of leadership in my professional life, my church and my community. When I was convicted and sentenced to serve a 160-month federal prison sentence, all of those positions of leadership went away. I immediately began to design my own personal development program to rebuild my life from the inside out. I was familiar with and very fond of the work by John Maxwell. I had previously read and incorporated “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by Dr. Maxell into my personal approach to leadership. So, when I saw “Developing the Leader Within You on the library shelf, I immediately appropriated it. Dr. Maxwell has a stellar reputation for developing leaders and I want to master the principles, strategies and tactics that he espouses in his leadership development training and I felt reading and studying “Developing the Leader Within You” would bring me ever closer to mastery.
2) What did I learn from reading this book?
“Developing the Leader Within You” taught me many timeless principles that I can apply in my life and the life of any organization I will lead in the future. These principles will enable me to bring about positive change through personal integrity and self-discipline. I learned that the true definition of leadership is influence. That’s it. Nothing more; nothing less. One of the most profound lessons I learned is that there are Five Levels of Leadership. The Five Levels of Leadership are as follows: Level 1 is Position. Positional leadership is a result of you having a title (or position) and is based on “Rights”. People follow because they have to. With positional leadership, your influence does not extend beyond your job description. Level 2 is Permission. Permission based leadership stems from “Partnerships” and people follow you because they want to. People will follow you beyond your stated authority. Level 3 is Production. This level of leadership is based upon “Results” you have achieved and so people follow you because of what you have done for the organization. Level 4 is People Development. You attain this level of leadership based upon “Reproduction”. People follow because of what you’ve done for them. The highest level of leadership is Personhood. This pinnacle level of leadership is achieved due to on earning “Respect”. People follow because of who you are and what you represent. Learning this lesson has given me an entirely different perspective on leadership. I am inspired to pursue the goal of attaining Level 5 Leadership.
3) How will reading this book contribute to my success upon release?
I aspire to earn the opportunity to be in leadership again in my future. Understanding and assimilating the lessons I learned reading “Developing the Leader Within You” will enable me to be a more effective leader versus a purely efficient leader.
Efficiency is the foundation for survival as a leader. Effectiveness is the foundation for success as a leader. It is abundantly clear that “Developing the Leader Within You” will inform and shape my approach to leadership for the rest of my life in every area of my life. My success as a leader will be greatly influenced by adaption and application of the principles, concepts, strategies and tactics in the book.