Book Review: Next Generation Leader


I have read Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley several times over the past few years and just realized that I’ve never reviewed it on here.  With no exaggeration at all, this is a book that all leaders should read…and then re-read on a yearly basis.  Our Leadership class at Cedarcrest Church is currently reading this book together and I eagerly await our group discussion to hear how reading this book influenced those in my class.  My favorite part about the book is that it isn’t talking about adding something else to your list of things to do as a leader, it’s really about removing those things from your list that someone else could take care of for you.  Stanley’s challenge is to really lean into what God created you to do and to realize that you are the only one that can accomplish that task from the Lord.  We get so bogged down in the details of day to day life that it is so easy to get distracted from that one thing or those few things that God put you on this earth to accomplish.  Through an in-depth look at competence, courage, clarity, coaching, and character, Next Generation Leader gives leaders of all ages and levels of experience a fresh look at just what God has called us to do and how we are to steward our influence for His glory and the good of others.

Here are several things that I highlighted while reading and hope you will find these thoughts helpful as well…

  • Leaders must challenge their energies towards those arenas of leadership in which they are most likely to excel.
  • Competence-Leaders must channel their energies toward those arenas of leadership in which they are most likely to excel.
  • Courage-The leader is the one who has the courage to initiate, to set things in motion, to move ahead.
  • Clarity-Uncertain times require clear directives from those in leadership.
  • Coaching-You may be good.  You may even be better than everyone else.  But without a coach you will never be as good as you could be.
  • Character-Character provides next generation leaders with the moral authority necessary to bring together the people and resources needed to further an enterprise.
  • “The secret of concentration is elimination.” Dr. Howard Hendricks
  • The less you do, the more you accomplish.
  • The less you do, the more you enable others to accomplish.
  • Identify areas in which you are most likely to add unique value to your organization—something no one else can match—then leverage your skills to their absolute max.
  • When you try to exercise authority within a department that is outside your core competencies, you will hinder everything and everyone under your watch.
  • We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is…leadership, let him govern diligently.  Romans 12:6, 8 NIV
  • Upgrade your performance by playing to your strengths and delegating your weaknesses.  This one decision will do more to enhance your productivity than anything else you do as a leader.
  • “You are most valuable where you add the most value.”  John Maxwell
  • What if you could do anything and work anywhere?  What would you do?  Where would you do it?  Who would you work with?
  • Look for opportunities to temporarily shoulder someone else’s burden within your organization.  Be strategic in your timing.  Remember, once you step outside your zone, don’t attempt to lead.  Follow.
  • “Only those leaders who act boldly in times of crisis and change are willingly followed.”  Jim Kouzes
  • A leader is someone who has the courage to say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately.
  • Leaders are not always the first to see an opportunity.  They are simply the first to seize an opportunity.
  • Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10
  • What set David apart from every other soldier in Saul’s army?  It wasn’t his talent.  It wasn’t his ability to lead.  It wasn’t even the fact that he recognized an incredible opportunity.  It was his courage to seize what everyone else merely saw.  Courage was the catalyst for his leadership.
  • As a next generation leader, you will be called upon to go first.
  • Courage in a strategic moment can change the playing field dramatically.
  • Choose your opportunities carefully.  Many opportunities are worth missing.  Just say no.
  • Designing and implementing a strategy for change is a waste of time until you have discovered and embraced the current reality.  If you don’t know where you really are, it is impossible to get to where you need to be.  What you don’t know can kill you.
  • Dream no small dreams, for they stir not the hearts of men.
  • “Every success is usually an admission ticket to a new set of decisions.”  Henry Kissinger
  • Clarity of vision will compensate for uncertainty in planning.
  • Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.  Proverbs 1:5
  • A good coach always coaches to a leader’s potential, not his current level of performance.  A good leadership coach will see the potential in you and inspire accordingly.
  • Experience alone doesn’t make you better at anything.  By itself, experience has the potential to leave you in a rut.  Evaluated experience is what enables you to improve your performance.
  • Learn everything you can from everybody you can.
  • “We set young leaders up for a fall if we encourage them to envision what they can do before they consider the kind of person they should be.”  R. Ruth Barton
  • Character is the will to do what’s right even when it’s hard.
  • Leaders committed to maintaining their character will often say no to what many would perceive to be the opportunity of a lifetime.  The willingness to say no is what sets the leader with character apart from the pack.
  • Leading with character is not about doing right to avoid consequences.  Leaders worth following do the right thing because it is the right thing.  Virtue is not a means to an end.  It is the end.
  • Character is not made in crisis; it is only exhibited.
  • Success raises the stakes.
  • Leaders get themselves into trouble when the momentum of their giftedness propels them past their ability to sustain the pace and handle the pressures of accomplishment.  Your eventual success will introduce you to new temptations, new options, and new opportunities.  Your response to these depends entirely upon the condition of your heart.
  • Character development always begins with the end in mind.  What do you want to be remembered for?
  • Leaders worth following predetermine their response to invitations and opportunities that have the potential to sink them morally and ethically.


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