Book Review: Leading From the Second Chair (Pt 1)

I have really enjoyed reading “Leading From the Second Chair” by Mike Bonem and Roger Patterson.  Tons of great stuff regardless of whether you are a first or second chair leader.  I am currently a second chair leader and trying to spend some time this year deciding if that role is permanent or if God has different plans for me…can’t wait to see how that unfolds!

Here are some notes from the first couple of chapters.  Hopefully they will be helpful to you, they’ve given me  a bunch to think about the last several days.

•    When a group of leaders is willing to be used by God and is unified in following His vision, exciting things happen.
•    Being in the second chair is the ultimate leadership paradox.  It is the paradox of being a leader and a subordinate, having a deep role and a wide one, and being content with the present while continuing to dream about the future.
•    Those who thrive in this role, whether for a season or for the long run, learn to live with the tension that this creates.

Chapter 1: Living in the Paradoxes

•    God desires to use this experience in the second chair as a transforming season in your life.
•    This role challenges your ego, buffers your speech, and keeps you anchored in your calling.  It is a place of growth and development, a place of real contribution, and a place that tests your commitment.
•    A second chair leader is a person in a subordinate role whose influence with others adds value throughout the organization.
•    Regardless of where you are on the leadership development journey, there is room to grow and learn.
•    Ultimately, in Christ’s Kingdom, we are all in the second chair, submitting to Christ as the head.
•    Three tensions that are three apparent paradoxes of second chair leadership: subordinate-leader, deep-wide, and contentment-dreaming.
•    The second chair requires a special leadership lens that brings clarity to the challenges of the three paradoxes.  The lens must be trifocal, allowing you to focus on how you manage your relationships (subordinate-leader paradox), your work habits (deep-wide paradox), and your emotions (contentment-dreaming paradox).  As you see and understand more clearly the tensions experienced in the paradoxes, you will be better equipped to navigate your way through them.  Being better equipped, you will become a better leader, making a more significant contribution to God’s Kingdom.
•    Too many leaders focus all their energy on moving to the next chair as quickly as possible, and they miss the opportunity to develop their gifts in the current chair.

Chapter 2: Am I A Second Chair Leader?

•    The key to leading in a subordinate role is identifying and understanding opportunities to cultivate influence each and every day.
•    How much credibility do you have with the people who are affected by your ministry?  Do they see you as someone they trust at a deep level?
•    Without credibility and trust in their eyes, you will not have influence.
•    Building credibility and influence requires putting the prestige of your position aside and picking up the towel of service.
•    Leadership is relational.
•    Second chairs who are committed to cultivating influence and adding value have the opportunity to make the entire organization better.
•    A person’s position may be a platform from which to lead, but a title is not what makes someone an effective second chair leader.
•    Those with a leader’s temperament have a strong desire for the ministry to reach its fullest potential, and they always work toward that goal.
•    Genesis 39:2-4 tell us: “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.  When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes, and became his attendant.”
•    Joseph’s choice to honor his God and do his tasks with diligence and excellence led him to a place of great influence.
•    An essential attitude in the second chair is submission.  This is recognition of the authority God has placed over your life; it calls you to submit willingly to that authority.
•    An attitude of submission is not a loss of authority.  It is recognition of the source of authority.  If you are to model Christ to the world and to those in your ministry setting, you must be willing to be under the authority that God has established.  It is paramount that you possess this attitude of a submissive heart.

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