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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"The Top Ten Leadership Commandments" (Hans Finzel)

TITLE: The Top Ten Leadership Commandments
AUTHOR: Hans Finzel
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2012, (256 pages)

Based on the example of Moses as a leader, this book captures ten particular lessons for the Christian leader. For Finkel, leaders are people who make things happen. In doing that, obstacles will be many. Leaders must be prepared to tough it out in a tough environment that is often discouraging and meaningless. Often, the temptation to quit is real. Finkel relays 6 reasons why pastors leave the ministry.

  • 58% feels drained
  • 51% feels lonely
  • 43% feels bored or constrained
  • 43% feels a lack of support for their work
  • 38% finds a better job somewhere
  • 25% has relationship or marital problems.
Instead, all leaders need to learn to begin strong and finish strong. Moses is symbolic of this strong start and strong finish, complete with a perseverance to follow God's calling. The best teachers on leadership are those who have led through very difficult times. Finkel describes Moses's life in 3 acts. Firstly, Moses was born with power in Egypt from birth to 40 years old. Secondly, He became a man of weakness (40-80 years old), leading the people to 40 years of wilderness. Thirdly, he grows as a man of God from 80-120 years old. In our modern world, it is common for book publishers to approach popular and famous figures to write something about leadership. Since Moses is a great leader, if he is still alive today, probably the top publishers of the world will be queueing up to ink an agreement to write a book on leadership. Finkel, an admirer of Moses sums up the leadership tips through the Ten Leadership Commandments. They are:

  1. Thou shalt cling to the vision
  2. Thou shalt not serve thine own ego
  3. Thou shalt practice servant leadership
  4. Thou shalt be opposed, resisted, and misunderstood
  5. Thou shalt have a life
  6. Thou shalt sweat the small stuff
  7. Thou shalt spend time in the tent
  8. Thou shalt lead to leave
  9. Thou shalt never give up
  10. Thou shalt keep thine eyes on the prize.
Finkel tries to encourage the meek while at the same time dissuades the proud from seeking leadership. In fact, he takes special care to remind us that leaders should not lead to serve their own egos (commandment #2). For reluctant people, he talks about the 5 common excuses potential leaders give. For current leaders, he warns them about the 7 deadly motives of power, prestige, position, popularity, pride, personal gain, and paycheck. These can be addressed by adopting an attitude of servanthood (commandment #3). Finkel then gives us helpful comparisons between servant leadership and self-serving leadership, putting leaders at the bottom of importance instead of the top, asserting that servant leaders succeed when others succeed. He points out how easy it is for leaders to lose heart, and then point to the need to be prepared to face hardship, discouragement, and adversity.

Commandment #5 talks about delegation and the need to spend time with families. In commandment #6, Finkel reminds us that small stuff do add up, if we let them. Maintain our integrity but not compromising on integrity, intelligence, and energy. Commandment #7 is an important reminder to spend time with God. The leader for God is a man of God. The man of God prays, practices what he preaches, and grows to be more Christlike through the Word, thoughts, and actions. In commandment #8, leadership that is successful but without successors is actually failure. That is why it is critical to develop leaders during one's term as leader. Sometimes, this can be misunderstood. Actually, the essence of leading to leave is to ensure the organization has a longer term plan. Mentoring is a major part. Commandment #9 talks about perseverance, and #10 talks about keeping our eyes on the goal.

My Thoughts

For me, the single strongest message in this book is the leading to leave idea. It reminds us what Christian leadership is all about. At the heart of all leadership is discipleship. Leadership is not about leading people based on our own strengths, to beef up our egos, or to show other people we are better than them. Leadership is about serving others as an example to leaders to be. It is about demonstrating the love of Christ. It is about directing all praise and glory to the One who is the True Giver of life, and deserving Receiver of praise and worship. All of our work as leaders are basically ground work in preparing the ground to pass the baton. Sometimes, as leaders, we tend to hang on too tightly to the baton that it has become glued onto our hands. 

These ten leadership commandments are comprehensive enough to allow any reader to jump into any commandment and start from there. I like the many quotations and wisdom that Finkel has drawn in from different sources. I appreciate the way he explains difficult concepts with simple language, tables, and illustrations. This is a wonderful book on the life of Moses seen from the perspective of leadership. If you have not known the biblical character Moses, this book helps you to appreciate this great leader even more.

Highly practical, this book is a good book for equipping new leaders, and to encourage current leaders.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by David C Cook Publishing and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All comments offered are freely mine.

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