Once a star player in the NFL, Dungy went on to become an award-winning coach. Drawing on his life and career, he shares mentoring secrets to help you become the leader God wants you to be. Discover how to develop key leadership traits, positively influence your team with words and actions, maximize group performance, and more. 256 pages, hardcover from Tyndale.
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The Mentor Leader, by Tony Dungy, is the coach’s third book he has written, but only the first of which I have read. From the onset, it is clear that this book covers a topic which unfortunately doesn’t get implemented by individuals in leadership positions to the extent which it should. Coach Dungy masterfully explains how an individual in a leadership role influences others, and by virtue of that fact, essentially leaves a legacy to those underneath them so that they can become peers. That is in contrast to a more secular interpretation of a leader being one who is in control of others. Coach Dungy provides examples of how to allow individuals to become good influences on others, for the purpose of making them better, no matter what they do. The impact that a leader can have on an individual is tremendous. It is refreshing and worthwhile to see Coach Dungy’s approach as a leader in an avenue which is too often full of leaders who are out for their own goals and achievements. The mentor leader seeks to better others and build them up to make them leaders as well. A definite worthwhile read for someone who is seeking to gain insight from someone who is truly a gentleman and a great positive influence. “It’s not about me” sums up Coach Dungy’s mentor attitude, but also servant attitude as well.
In his introduction, Dungy outlines the “essential traits of a mentor” (p. xvii-xviii):
• Mentoring “can be taught and learned; but in order to be absorbed, it must be practiced” • Mentoring “focuses on developing the strengths of individuals” • Mentoring “works best” when there is “genuine concern” shown • Mentoring is about “shaping, nurturing, empowering, and growing” • Mentoring is “about relationships, integrity, and perpetual learning” • Mentoring is “about changing lives” (p. xvii-xviii)
Although all 9 chapters of Dungy’s book relates to the “mentor leader,” there were 3 chapters that seemed to prepare the heart of the mentor: Chapter 3, “A Look Within,” Chapter 4, “Characteristics That Matter,” and Chapter 6, “Living the Message” (p. 45, 67, 123). In chapter 3 Dungy explains, “In order to become an effective mentor, in whatever setting, it is important to take a look inside yourself” (p. 45). He suggests that potential mentors take a “personal inventory” to assess what makes them “think, react, and respond the way they do” and what makes them “do the things they do” (p. 46). An honest self assessment will reveal personal strengths and weaknesses, unresolved issues from the past and meaningful priorities (p. 64-65).
“Character” is described as “the person [others] view as the most trustworthy, who cares the most and who is willing to always do the right thing,” and according to Dungy, it is the “glue that bonds solid and meaningful relationships” (p. 71). In chapter 4, Dungy presents the characteristics he believes are “marks” of a good mentor. These “marks” include competence, integrity, authenticity, courageous, faithfulness, accountable, available/approachable, loyalty, and protectiveness (p. 72-91). Throughout this chapter (and the whole book), Dungy uses Biblical references to support his points. For example, Dungy states, “a genuine sense of self-worth is best obtained through a relationship with God” (p. 74). In another part of the chapter, Dungy discusses the parable found in the book of John, chapter 10, to illustrate the “mark” of protectiveness—“When a wolf comes and threatens the flock, the hired hand runs away. . . . the shepherd on the other hand, rises to the defense of his sheep” (p. 94).
Dungy starts chapter 6 with a Scripture verse from the book of Matthew: “Jesus said, ‘It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth. . . . The words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you’” (Matt. 15:11, 18). He uses this Bible passage to show that mentoring starts in the heart of the mentor—basically, what is inside determines what will come out (p. 123). Dungy claims that people will notice various things about other individuals: their faith, their words and actions, and their legacy (p. 124-135). When discussing faith, Dungy says, “Faith is the foundation and strength of the mentor . . . . the guiding principle behind everything we do . . . . Faith will go a long way toward giving others a reason to follow you” (p. 134-135). Dungy believes that the “many things that guide the daily steps of mentors” (relationships, impact, involvement, character, faith, and actions) shape one’s legacy; “legacy” results in “changed lives” (p. 136, 138). In other words, a mentor is successful if he or she contributes to the positive changes in other people’s lives. Dungy’s use of the Bible shows that God’s Word is important to him. It also shows that even if a mentor has all the necessary traits necessary, it is God who ultimately changes people— “with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).
Review by: M. Teresa Trascritti
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Review 5 for The Mentor Leader
Date:November 26, 2010
This was a good book that has helped educate me further on mentoring.
Our pastoral staff has been reading leadership books over the last few years and this month we had the privledge to read Tony Dungy's book "The Mentor Leader".
I have had some great mentors in my journey and I know the value that they have played in my life. I have also had the honour of being able to be a mentor to some pretty incredible people. The big thing that I took out of this book was that all of us, no matter what position we may have, can be a mentor to someone around us. People are always watching and whether we realize it or not we are an example to young and old. But the question is... what do they see?
Being a mentor is something you do that is intentional and Tony gives some great tips as to how to mentor in the simplicity of everyday life. I also believe that best part of mentoring really has nothing to do with you, but has everything to do with the person you mentor. It's engaging them, connecting, educating, challenging & encouraing them to be all they can be and then... the hardest part sometimes, letting them go. Basically, working yourself out of job... or watching them move on somewhere else. Honestly that is the greatest reward - to see those around you grow wings and flourish! It's sweet!
If you're in leadership this is a great book to help develop your team and those around you. If you're not in leadership this is still a great read and I believe will challenge you to step it up and mentor someone around you who really needs someone to be their biggest cheerleader. I mean who doesn't want to become all God's created them to be! Enjoy!
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Review 7 for The Mentor Leader
Date:August 4, 2010
"the mentor leader" is tony dungys newest book it is very hard to put down and what I like most about it is at the end of each chapter and at the end of the book there are some very helpful questians and comments by coach tony dungy which gives you some great leadership lessons to think about along with quotes from famous historical and inspirational people and how you can use there examples from there lifes. I found this great read has many scriptures as well as many life lessons great for a gift or Bible study