Why Leadership Sucks: Fundamentals of Level 5 Leadership and Servant Leadership

Why Leadership Sucks: Fundamentals of Level 5 Leadership and Servant Leadership

4.5 6
by Miles Anthony Smith

What is leadership? How do we define leadership? What is servant leadership? What are the most effective leadership characteristics? Do you wish your company had a leadership development program, or are you frustrated with organizational leadership? Do you wonder why some leadership styles suck? You are not alone.

So why does leadership suck? It sucks because…  See more details below


What is leadership? How do we define leadership? What is servant leadership? What are the most effective leadership characteristics? Do you wish your company had a leadership development program, or are you frustrated with organizational leadership? Do you wonder why some leadership styles suck? You are not alone.

So why does leadership suck? It sucks because real leadership is hard, requires selfless service, and because the buck stops here. Servant leadership or Level 5 leadership is uncomfortable, humbling, self-denying, painful, and counter-intuitive; nonetheless, christian leadership is the only kind of leadership that brings lasting results, genuine happiness, and true self-fulfillment.

The book is divided into four parts:

Part 1: To serve or not to serve. Effective leadership characteristics require servant leadership.
Part 2: Do what's best for your organization. Discusses various aspects of organizational leadership and culture
Part 3: Humility 101. Leadership principles of self-examination, apologies, authenticity, controlling and displaying emotions, and handling adversity.
Part 4: Specific management situations, focusing on business leadership competencies

Here is what you will learn from Miles and experience in Why Leadership Sucks?

1. Define leadership in general and the servant leadership style specifically.
2. Why christian leadership matters and is a better long-term strategy.
3. Develop leadership competencies with practical action steps.
4. Learn from real world examples from the author's organizational leadership experience.
5. Quotes on leadership help highlight and introduce sections within each chapter.

To discover why servant leadership is frustrating and learn practical leadership principles for your leadership journey, download a sample or purchase Why Leadership Sucks now.

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Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review - Diane Donovan
Miles uses the first person throughout to personalize the account, which is based upon not only his perspective, but his successful experiences as such a leader. As he explains, a leader role is less forgiving, with organizational leaders held to a much higher standard and less able to recover from mistakes. While Miles' book isn't the only guide available, it is the most succinct, hard-hitting survey on the market, linking personal ideals and ethics to business and spiritual pursuits alike.
Self Publishing Review - Catherine Tosko
A young business senior may find it much more palatable than many out on the market today, and I am pretty sure if I was starting out and had read it, I would have made a lot fewer mistakes and have had a much better rep as a leader, maybe. Because it�s all exactly that � bite sized and accessible without reading like a tome on business theory from a knowledgeable and entertaining author...a smart choice for a speedy, easy read to get your chops down pat for business leadership.

Product Details

Kompelling Publishing
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Meet the Author

Miles has held General Manager positions for several small businesses or business units over the years. He currently works for Rawhide Boys Ranch as Director of Vehicle Donations and Digital Marketing. Miles has broad management skills across many functional business disciplines in accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, and leadership. Miles earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Oral Roberts University and a Master's in Business Administration from the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University.

Miles has a knack for spotting and developing talented, cohesive teams focused on new product development and digital/content marketing, resulting in top line and bottom line growth in the following companies:

Consumer Products Company in Green Bay, Wisconsin
Increased revenues 48% in 2 years from $2.3 Million to $3.4 Million through new product development
Increased company operating cash flow and profits by 33% and 25% by reducing expenses and streamlining operations

Consumer Goods Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Increased profit margin from -10% to +27% by restructuring the company and repositioning its focus on new line of products.

Born a Hoosier, raised an Okie, and currently residing in the Frozen Tundra of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Miles Anthony Smith is a happily married husband of Carolyn and a proud father of three. Now in his mid-30s, he was fortunate to have been given a significant leadership opportunity by his father at the age of 25. He is a classically trained violist, violinist, and composer, with passion in the fields of small-business management, marketing, macroeconomics, servant leadership, Classical education, and Christian apologetics.

Miles, a Gen X'er leader and author, cares enough about organizational health to make the tough decisions, hire and coach the right people, set clear expectations, develop a strong team culture, and strengthen organizational cash flow, exhibiting both humility and fierce resolve. His mission in life is "To Chart the Course, Pave the Pathway, and Light the Lane for Others to Eclipse My Own Success in Leadership."

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Why Leadership Sucks: Fundamentals of Level 5 Leadership and Servant Leadership 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Big_B99 More than 1 year ago
This was a great book detailing the meaning, purpose, and applications of leaders. I really enjoyed it, and it was a quick read, but full of helpful tips on how to be a better leader in your business or corporation. It goes from general leadership applications down to specific 'what-to-dos'. Although this book was aimed at those already in a leadership position in a company, there are a lot of general life principles that everyone can benefit from. Those already in leadership positions would greatly benefit from reading this book; there are many many useful tips to be gleaned from Miles Anthony Smith's book. Full disclosure: I received a complementary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
RosemaryPadilla More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read for any person in a leadership position.  It is filled with useful, functional information and methods. Very easy to read book.
Lennendraw More than 1 year ago
I wish I had read "Why Leadership Sucks" before I became a junior employee without authority to influence decisions.  No leader is perfect. This book would have helped me understand the strengths of my boss and see where I can compensate for their weaknesses, or at least weather the consequences of their weaknesses. Is your boss a dictatorial glory hog who micromanages everything? Or is your boss a decisive promoter and team-builder? Either way, this book can help you see how the traits of your leaders will influence your career. From there you can make informed decisions about what is best for your life. Maybe your boss doesn't suck. Maybe it's just leadership that sucks.
Littleebookrev More than 1 year ago
This is a well written book and is clearly influenced in terms of style and delivery by the legacy of Carnegie, Covey, Godin etc. and at the same time has sufficient grounding in theory to be educational. More than the theory, the author gives to us the benefit of his experience and therefore rounds off the hard edges of the abstract with the everyday practice of making it work in the real world. Miles gives us quotations and anecdotes that make his point as he is developing a discourse on the proper method of being a modern leader. It is not all glamour and joy at the top and this point is well made.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As the title indicates, this book focuses on discussing authentic servant leadership, which as esteemed author Jim Collins designates as Level 5 leadership. The book is composed of four parts. Part 1 and 2, discuss servant leadership. Part 3 discussed humility, which is a key value for authentic leadership. Finally, the last part, part 4 includes common situations through which the previous learnings are applied. Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful: 1- " Jim Collins describes Level 5 leadership in his book Good to Great as a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will (fierce resolve). He goes on to write of the five attributes Level 5 leaders possess: They are self-confident enough to set up their successors for success. They are humble and modest. They have "unwavering resolve." They display a "workmanlike diligence-- more plow horse than show horse." They give credit to others for their success and take full responsibility for poor results. They "attribute much of their success to `good luck' rather than personal greatness." 2- "Servant leadership is about caring for others more than for ourselves. It is about compassion for everyone who serves the group. It enriches everyone, not just those at the top. Servant leadership requires us to sit and weep with those who weep within our organizations. It requires getting down and dirty when hard work has to be done. There is nothing in my organization that anyone does that I should not be willing to do myself if it promotes the good of us all. HANS FINZEL, THE TOP TEN MISTAKES LEADERS MAKE" 3- "Great leaders ask great, thoughtful questions. We all have a strong desire to be understood, but we have a responsibility to our team to listen first." 4- "When making decisions, stop and ask yourself whether you are trading short-term gain for long-term pain. Also think of how this affects others, not just yourself. And when you choose to delegate, don't reverse course. It does more damage than not delegating in the first place." 5- "We are either ignorant of the need for us to actively participate in empowerment, or we choose to be lazy, since true empowerment takes a lot of work. In order to empower others, we must define the power and authority they have in decision making. I liken this to setting guardrails on a task or project being delegated; it is our job as a leader to define what we want them to do-- and more importantly, what we don't want them to do. Then we must define what types of choices they can make without our involvement and what decisions they must bring to us for input. Then they have been genuinely empowered, since we have properly equipped and invested in them first." 6- "In the vacuum created by a lack of communication, people tend to dream up and believe in the wildest explanations of fact." 7- "We need to leave situations better than we found them. One of my goals in my career is to leave the organization better after my stewardship tenure than it was when I began. We should have the same goal in any relationship." 8- "Mutual responsibility is at the core of accountability; the onus is not solely on the manager to provide direction. It is equally the duty of the leader and team member to hold each other accountable." 9- "After we have done our part as leaders by coaching, we must step back and allow others the opportunity to make mistakes, even if it costs us or the company something of value in the short term." 10- "It is quite risky to let our guard down and make ourselves vulnerable with others by giving them the right-- no, the duty-- to call us out on our faults. But doing so allows us to prove our true leadership in the sense that we are comfortable in who we are, despite our shortcomings and insecurity. This leads to others recognizing and choosing to follow our trustworthy, genuine authority." 11- "But I learned a valuable lesson not to put absolute faith in any one person. It simply sets them up for failure and sets us up for disappointment when they make a mistake. Having said that, we do need leaders who will stand up and choose to do what is right, but leaders are human and all of them will make poor choices. Some of them will fail spectacularly. And even though leaders have failed me, I won't stop trusting all leaders, just the ones who prove untrustworthy." 12- "Much as the wisdom of Solomon admonishes us that "there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven," 14 there is a time to display emotion (sorrow, anger, etc.) and a time for a lack of emotional display." 13- "The best managers/ leaders can both inspire people (leadership) and hold them accountable for work that needs to be done (management)." 14- "Organizations who think they are maintaining/ holding ground are mistaken. You are either growing or dying. JIM COLLINS" 15- "Chris Zook and James Allen point to four key rules that companies should follow to increase shareholder value. Build intolerance for excess complexity. Compete for the long term. Focus on your greatest strengths. Make strategy a search for a repeatable model that can replicate and adapt your greatest successes again and again." 16- "All Level 5 leaders, it turns out, are hedgehogs. They know how to simplify a complex world into a single, organizing idea-- the kind of basic principle that unifies, organizes, and guides all decisions." 17- "The company that quickly builds on the failures of the first-to-market company, learning from their mistakes and improving on their initial efforts, is likely to reap a majority of the market without having to invest the same R& D money." A very light and educative read. The author's examples are on point to illustrate the concepts presented. Finally, the numerous references embedded within this book on leadership (servant and authentic) makes it a great starter within this field.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good book should engage the reader. A book about good leadership should challenge the reader. A good book about good leadership should do both. I have begun more than one book on leadership or management without finishing it. Most of the "management" books I've picked up didn't hold my attention. So before I started reading Miles Smith's _Why Leadership Sucks_, I wasn't sure I'd make it to the final page. I just finished reading _Why Leadership Sucks_. Mr. Smith has written an engaging book. I found _Why Leadership Sucks_ to be a good read. The chapters are short and tightly focused... perfect for someone who has only short blocks of time available for intentional reading. There are about 30 of them, so it will fit nicely into a monthly reading schedule. I easily forgave the one less well-focused chapter - after all, the author warns about it, and besides, it's more humorous than the others. The style of _Why Leadership Sucks_ is at times a bit uneven, but I found that easy to forgive also. _Why Leadership Sucks_ contains valuable and often challenging insights into, and opinions about, a wide range of topics related to management and leadership. (Mr. Smith contends that "management" and "leadership" should not be considered separately, as often seems the case these days, so I'll refer to both as "leadership" from here on.) It also contains a generous sprinkling of pithy quotes from other works, which serve nicely as pointers to further reading on topics of deeper interest to the reader. _Why Leadership Sucks_ is an unusual mix, in my experience. It focuses primarily on aspects of leadership that one would expect to find valuable for any person, in any kind of organization. But it also makes occasional excursions into spiritual waters, both personal and corporate. This unique perspective may be particularly helpful to those interested in pursuing the "servant leadership" Mr. Smith is discussing in the book. I have been in some leadership roles, and I've been an observer of leadership in many situations, in both volunteer and paid positions. Most of Mr. Smith's observations and recommendations rang true to me. I haven't seen them written down before in any one place, and that's why I'll be keeping _Why Leadership Sucks_ for reference. I said that most of Mr. Smith's observations rang true. Those that didn't immediately ring true to me are the ones I'm still challenged by. Congratulations are due Mr. Smith, for his good book about good leadership.