Leading with Joy

Rare Leadership is a book by Marcus Warner and James Wilder that focuses on habits leaders can cultivate to increase trust, joy, and engagement in people that they lead. Rare Leadership is based off the idea that leadership can only be as effective as how much joy is cultivated within a team. Without joy, trust and engagement will die. As a side note, this leadership book is written from a very strong Christian worldview.

The book is divided into two sections. Section 1 discusses what they call ‘Fast Track’ leadership and sets the stage for understanding what it is. I have to say, I found this section confusing and hard to follow. The wording often felt clunky and hard for me to relate to even though there were some good points that it shared. The entire section can be summarized by saying that Fast Track leadership is comprised of the unconscious habits that leaders have which may dictate their conscious reactions. It also talked about how our “Fast Track” can become blocked or damaged by situations in our life and the importance of ensuring that we restore and rebuild our Fast Track in order to engage with others from a place of joy and relational leadership. Again, I felt that the authors shared some excellent information, I just feel as if it could have been phrased differently. As it was, I felt that I was receiving an idea a bit of analysis and moving on to the next idea before I could even process and understand the first idea.

Section 2 was much easier for me to relate to. It talked about building RARE leadership that:
Returns to joy
Acts like yourself – stays true to identity even in the face of great upset.
Remains Relational – puts the relationship AHEAD of the problem.
Endures Hardship – enduring hardship helps us grow, avoiding it keeps us stunted. Just as Christ endured hardship, so too must we endure and embrace our struggle. Doing so allows us to relate, suffer, and ultimately grow as a team.
Part 2 talked about how to cultivate a RARE leadership style and I felt as a result the flow was much more natural. While I can understand the value of part 1, I believe that the authors would benefit from removing it until they can revise and make it easier for the readers to grasp. I do not find it completely relational, especially as we breeze by the science of it all.

I found this book a great companion read to a book by Brené Brown called Daring Greatly that my book club is currently studying. In Rare Leadership we see the spiritual component talked about and explored. Instead of just looking at our shame and vulnerability and saying we need to overcome it, we learn how we can overcome it with Christ’s help. I enjoyed this book and if it were not for the first part of the book along with frequent spelling errors and typos that appeared in my review copy, I would have given it a higher rating. For a good book with a strong model that needed revision, I am still willing to give this book 4/5 stars. I believe that the message is stronger than those two issues and perhaps those issues were cleared up a little bit in the final version that was recently released to readers on April 5.

I received this book for free from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

To purchase this book on Amazon, please click here.


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