Book Review: “The Motive: Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities” by Patrick M. Lencioni.

If you have not read books by Patrick Lencioni, do yourself a favor and go purchase a few today.

Patrick Lencioni has written many books about team leadership, team development. He is arguable one of the foremost thinkers in the realm of maximizing the potential within people you lead. But if you read his materials through an introspective lens, you’ll learn how the greatest threat or ally to leadership is yourself.

Before I dive into “The Motive,” let me tell you about his writing style. He writes a fable that has underlying business and leadership principles. He then gives you lessons in leadership showing you how based off the fable, you can learn from someone else’s mistakes.

In his book “The Motive,” he walks us through the life of a CEO and his daily conversations and rhythms. When pushed up against failing numbers, low employee moral, and lack of team camaraderie, this CEO has to make a change. How he makes the change will surprise you and leave you wondering if you could make the same decision.

So often when we lead, we lead for the wrong reasons. We want the higher salary; we want the prestige; we want the corner office. There are so many reason to lead, but those are not it. What we truly should be searching for is an opportunity to lead people in order to develop them and pull the best out of them. There’s nothing more rewarding that seeing people reach their full potential.

In the first part of “The Motive,” Shay Davis (main character) is convinced he’s leading the right team, in the right place, at the right time. Doesn’t that sound just like you and me? When everything is going well, we’re convinced that we’re unstoppable, indestructible, and our team is stronger that any other on the planet! But when things start going south, we doubt everything we once thought sure.

As Shay’s company begins its tailspin down the earnings chart, he’s forced to make a decision. He can resign and admit defeat; get fired and be surely shown defeat; or course correct and turn his company around.

This is no different than what any of us would face. Whether it’s our marriage, our family, or our job, we all have a moment of realization that we can change course for the better, or we can allow it to tailspin and eventually crash and burn.

My hope for you is that in the moment of decision, you would make the decision that results in a positive turnaround.

In making decisions that have the opportunity to turn something around, why is it so hard to make the right one? As Lencioni states, “It is an emotional and behavioral process more than a transactional and informational one.” He reminds us how “…employees have to hear a message seven times before they give buy in. Before that they discount it as corporate-speak and internal propaganda.”

I would argue for his case that it’s the same way with our families, our marriages and our friendships. We can often struggle to first make the decision, then we’re left with the hardest part: communicating it to those we lead.

If I tell someone one time, “I have your back,” they may feel a small measure of gratitude, but it’s not until the seventh time I’ve said it they may begin to feel that I actually do have their back. Ultimately, no decision can be made unless we’re leading through relationship and responsibility.

Why is it so important to lead from a relational place? Because it’s our responsibility as a leader. We have been entrusted to care for those we lead. Lencioni goes on to state, “Leaders who are responsibility–centered always exceed expectations. Leaders who are reward-centered almost always fail to live up to theirs.”

I challenge you, lead from a place of humility. Look for ways to lead relationally and responsibly. Show that you’re more interested in those you lead than the company you lead. As the old adage goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

David Urzi is the connections pastor and communications director at Cape First Church.