Wanderer Wednesday: Leadership Edition

Well. Today’s Friday. Our apologies for being another couple days late in giving you this week’s Wanderer Wednesday post. Again, it’s been worth the wait, mostly because the editor of this post was on a road trip to Berlin Wednesday night, where there were almost 50 folks at All Saint’s first youth group meeting! We all had a great time learning learning about hope and the virtues. As a bonus, feel free to download the handout we used, and share it along with the stories about the lives of the following saints. While you’re at it, highlight some of the following virtues they exemplify.

Saint Maria Goretti | purity, faith and forgiveness

Bl. Miguel Pro | passion, perserverance and standing up for the faith

Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati | detachment, service and commitment

Feel free to use the inspiration as you wish.

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Now onto the subject at hand. We’re bringing you some books this week that may help to build up you up as a professional and cultivate your leadership skills. (Sidebar | I’ve heard of a co-worker in a Parish in our Diocese who spends one hour, every day reading for professional development purposes. Any topic, any genre, but always something that will help her become better at what she does and more informed about the faith. What a great example?! It certainly takes discipline in the work day to set aside that time and make it happen, but what great benefits it would reap.)

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Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek ($12)
This book is a bit different from the three books that will follow, in that it does not focus specifically on the area of leadership. However, before we find ourselves in a place where we are leading others, we have to recruit folks to work with us. Here’s a taste of what the book offers —

By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?

Think of it this way, you could invite people to be a catechist by telling them WHAT you do — try to control a rowdy group of 20 8th graders, work through lesson plans, administer assessments and teach the faith. Or, you could start inviting people to be a catechist by leading with the WHY — we inspire and engage the youth of the Church, so they can lead happier, holier lives and seek to change the world in the future; we form future saints; we engage in one of the most inspiring apostolates happening in this Parish. Obviously the details of WHAT the catechist does follows, but we surely do not have to lead with it. This book inspires the reader to think about how they share their message and mission — and encourages you to start with WHY. (As a bonus, they hold up Apple as an example of how a company implements this theory well. All Mac lovers — or those who know one — will appreciate it.)

Super Staff Supervision by Michael Brandwein ($25)
This book was created for leaders in the camp world to get the best out of their staff, but the principles can carry over well into working with volunteers or a staff in the Church setting. Michael Brandwein has been an inspiration for the Camp Gray staff for years, and his influence has helped so many young counselors develop into great staff members at Camp and beyond, as many of them have landed jobs coordinating apostolates in our Parishes. Highlights of this book include 6 Paths that every person you’re supervising should be following, including adding creative twists to programs and caring for kids’ safety, and very specific examples of what those good leaders say and do when they are leading activities and teaching. Michael is a master at behavior management and staff development. His books typically leave the reader bursting at the seams with good ideas and being ready to implement them!

First Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman ($17 + Many used and in great condition for less on Amazon!)
My dad is a very talented, well respected business man who I really enjoy learning from on the topic of leadership development. He is GOOD at it, and while a lot of that skill has been developed naturally, he also has done his fair share of reading and studying on the topic. The number one book on the list he made for me this past year to read on the subject was this one. And, I have loved it. Again and again, it repeats the following mantra —

People don’t change that much.

Don’t waste time trying to put in what was left out.

Try to draw out what was left in.

That is hard enough.

A couple things that follow from that mantra are that you have to put significant time and effort in to find the right people for the job. And, once you have committed volunteers or staff, you have to use the strengths, passions and talents God has given them to help them do their job well. Easier said than done. Read the book. Enjoy the learning.

Strengths Finder 2.0 ($14) or Strengths Based Leadership ($16) by Tom Rath
One of these two books are used each summer in the formation of the Love Begins Here Core Team. Both of the books include a code to take the Strengths Finder Test (so make sure to not buy the books used). Upon taking the test and reading over your results, you will learn to see your top 5 strengths in the working world and learn how to develop them. Typically, the Core Team will use Strengths Finder 2.0, and the directors use Strengths Based Leadership. The first is an introduction to the individual strengths and the second deals with how to manage them. These books would be a very worthy investment for any catechist or member of your leadership team, or among co-workers — as long as you take the time to have conversations where you learn about the strengths and how to implement them.

The basic idea of these books, which follows from the wonderful First Break All the Rules, is that you have to let people be who they are. Everyone has strengths. You need to learn what they are and give them opportunities to use them. Only then will teams and leaders find success, especially in the area of helping their people develop and grow.

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