"Leading on Empty" – Worth the Read

I finished Wayne Cordeiro’s book Leading on Empty; Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion this past week. Because of the subject matter, I really enjoyed the book. It’s in a vein that I find of great significance to leaders. Every leader needs an action plan for self-care, which includes action items for refueling. Leaders do a lot of giving; they need many opportunities for renewal. I appreciate the transparency and frankness by which Cordeiro shares from personal experience. While most will never be as high profile as the author, the burnout and depression he walked through is no respecter of persons. Regardless the size of the organization you serve, all leaders are susceptible to burnout. You’ll find the book a relatively quick read with several pauses to contemplate your own personal behavior and practices. It’s both practical and applicable.

I really appreciate the point Cordeiro makes between leading and managing. As leaders get tired, they slowly morph into managers. Most of us never even realize it until it’s pointed out to us. Leading takes a lot fuel where as managing doesn’t require as much from us. Effective leadership requires filled tanks. I love this paragraph:

“Think about it: A leader’s role is not to maintain. It is to gain altitude! That requires something called leadership energy. Of course, we will always require good managers to keep the gears turning and bearings greased, but only leaders can advance the ministry and give it the significant lift it need for the future. Leaders need to recognize the growth areas of the ministry and give upward mobility in those areas. Good, dependable managers are worth their weight in gold, but they function optimally only in tandem with leaders, because upward lift and vertical trajectory requires leadership energy. Approximately one-third of a commercial jet’s energy is expended in take-off and gaining altitude. Once they reach 32,000 feet, they maintain altitude, and that requires less energy.”

Think about it for a moment. It’s a powerful thought. Leading on Empty is an important read. It’s a call to personal self-care for leaders in ministry.