“Practicing Greatness” by Reggie McNeal

Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual LeadersPracticing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders by Reggie McNeal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reggie McNeal writes this brief definitive book on extraordinary spiritual leaders with the belief that great leaders are direly needed. A great leader has certain characteristics that make them unique from mediocre leadership: humility, effectiveness, and the willingness to serve. A problem is that these traits are often missing in leaders today. This book is the answer: in these pages are seven specific disciplines needed to foster great leadership. Attention: spoilers to follow…

The first discipline covered the self-awareness. McNeil provides examples of biblical leaders demonstrated self-awareness, specifically David, Paul, and Y’shua. Evaluating the reader’s personal history, addictions, and compulsions, McNeil looks at the boundaries to help the reader be more self-aware. The second discipline is self-management. Self-management includes: managing feelings (these include depression, anger, hostility, grief, fear, and bitterness), managing expectations (those the reader places on themselves and those others have on the reader), managing money, and staying healthy (physically, mentally, and spiritual). The third discipline is self-development. This includes the lifelong learning and the unlearning curve, as well as establishing best practices for learning and networking appropriately. In this process, the reader can become aware of their strengths and develop a culture that supports their strengths, as well as avoiding burnout. The fourth discipline is mission. This section helps the reader understand their mission/call, by evaluating their passions, talents, and personality. A mission must have meaning and significance, focus on excellence, improve energy, and be intentional.

The fifth discipline is decision-making. Leaders must have the elements of good decision-making, which include: asking the right questions, getting enough of the right kind of information, considering timing, involving the right people, operating with the right motives, understanding intended outcomes, making accurate decisions from debriefing sessions, and learning from mistakes. The sixth discipline is belonging. The leader must have appropriate belonging within their family, which includes: being at peace with family of origin, working toward intimacy in marriage, and blessing their children. A leader must also appropriate belonging within a friendship network, ensuring friends have beneficial qualities and knocks detrimental qualities to the friendship. A leader should have appropriate belonging to coworkers, investing in their team. The leader must also have a mentor to help with life coaching, professional matters, and spiritual life. This can be accomplished out of peer mentorship if needed. Leaders must also have belonging to their followers. The seventh, and last, discipline is the discipline of aloneness. A reality of life is a leadership is often times lonely. This includes the wilderness experience – which can often be a life-changing experience for leaders. During alone times, leaders should observe the Sabbath, have extended prayer times, fast, and journal. Having alone time is needed, and can often be violated by mismanagement of time, inappropriate boundaries, and unnecessary distractions.

By the end of the book, readers have become leaders, but not just that – leaders practicing greatness.

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