The Mentor Leader by Tony Dungy
This book is a nice follow up to reading Tony's earlier memoir, Quiet Strenth. (I have yet to read Uncommon, though I would like to, so if any of my blog readers would like to send me a gift....) Although this book was good and useful, I think I prefer Quiet Strength because Tony shared many of the same principles but they were better contextualized in his personal examples (in my opinion). Still, this book is an excellent resource for people who want to mentor others.
Two of Tony's key insights that I really resonated with are: 1) mentoring is a way to "build into" someone else's life; and 2) good mentors will never be known by their fruit because their fruit will receive all the attention. Mentors must be willing to live in the shadows of their results, so to speak.
The concept of "building into" someone's life, which Tony repeated over and over, was very important to me. Sometimes in business, or in church ministry (my sphere), we can lose focus on building people because we become distracted by trying to build an organization. Organizations are made up of people, and people must be built to strengthen the organization. As Jesus taught that the "Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27), so it is with the organization: it exists for people, not people for it. When we "build into" the organization and neglect "building into" the life of the people within the organization, we end up with a cold, empty shell. Rather, we should "build into" people and work with their strengths and abilities, even if it means restructuring the organization.
The second key insight was perhaps more important to me, because I have never seen this idea emphasized in a leadership book as clearly as Tony emphasized it. Good mentors, because they "build into" the life of another, will often see the fruit of their mentorship overtake them. Good mentors must be people of humility who are focused on the betterment of others ahead of their own recognition. For example, Tony says that when we mentor others--a football player, a businessperson, a child--people will always look at the end result: "What a great young man that is!" They will not often reflect on the training and mentoring that went into making that person the person they are. Good mentors understand this and are okay with this. There is no room for pride in mentoring.
If you are looking for a good book on leadership, this is a good one that will teach you the principles of mentoring and "building into" the lives of others. Build people, and the organization will thrive.