Book Review: “The Mentor Leader” by Tony Dungy

Book review by: ellis j. still

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If you have read books that concentrate on leadership, you know that leadership is simply the ability to influence others. If you have not read any books on leadership, “Mentor Leader” (Tyndale House Publishers, 2010) by Tony Dungy is an excellent place to start. Leadership is not a formal position or role. We all show leadership in varying degrees… at home, at work, at the mall, on the golf course… everywhere in life where we have interaction with others. Moreover, there is good leadership and bad leadership, effective leadership and non effective leadership as well as sustainable results of leadership in the long run and temporary results of leadership. Leadership books frequently focus on the short term results (bottom line, sales, etc.) with the prominent motivation being self-centeredness, but the focus on short term results often come at the expense of long term stability and growth of the organization.

#1 New York Times bestselling Author Tony Dungy discusses a more sustainable leadership style… one that has been tried, tested, and proven to work for the past 2000 years. It is based on one simple premise:

“It’s not about me”

Leadership style can dictate the effectiveness of the leader. A mentor leader is not self centered, but more interested in developing and cultivating the people he leads, so that upon maturity those people will someday lead others that will birth new leaders. Mentor leadership focuses on building people up, building significance into their lives, and building leaders for the next generation. As a mentor leader, you have an authentic interest wanting the people that you lead to succeed. Creating good, grounded people, whose desire in everything they did was to make each other better – which in the author’s view, is a more accurate measure than short term results.

The book gives you tools to think about your leadership style, allowing you to reflect on questions such as:

  • How can I move from an authority-based model to an influence-based model of leadership?
  • What can I do today to build up the people around me?
  • Am I complimenting your strengths with the strengths of others?
  • Do I exhibit faith in what you are asking others to believe in?
  • What kind of role model will I be?
  • How am I affecting the culture of the organization?

The Mentor Leader by Tony Dungy is a great read. Tony uses his success as a coach in the National Football League (NFL) to demonstrate how mentor leadership is effective in all areas of life. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Quiet Strength and Uncommon,and was the first ever an African American coach to lead a team to a Super Bowl victory. Coach Dungy established another NFL first by leading his teams to the playoffs for ten consecutive years.

Tony DungyDungy has been involved in a wide variety of charitable organizations, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, Mentors for Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Prison Crusade Ministry, and All Pro Dad. He also works with Basket of Hope, the Black Coaches Association National Convention, Indiana Black Expo, the United Way of Central Indiana, and the American Diabetes Association. He retired from coaching in 2008 and now serves as an analyst for NBC’s Football Night in America. He and his wife, Lauren, are the parents of seven children.

Question: In your strivings for worldly success, what are you doing to build for yourself a life of significance?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have a marketing connection to a brand, topic or product herein. Through the use of affiliate links contained herein, I may collect fees from purchases made. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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