Review by Chris Murray / Book review of Spark: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success by Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch and Sean Lynch / © 2017. Book review used by permission of Soundview Executive Summaries.
Leadership consultant and former Air Force pilot Sean Lynch remembers his first day in flight-training school. After an exhilarating familiarization flight, he followed his pilot and others to a debriefing room. Lynch listened intently to the fascinating no-holds-barred discussion on what went right or wrong in each flight. After the debriefing, the major berated him for not saying anything. When Lynch protested that he was new, the major retorted, “Stop with the excuses, start contributing. You’re new but you’re not dumb. Now, get out of here … and get a haircut!”
At that moment, Lynch realized that in the Air Force, leadership was not a matter of ranking officers giving orders. It was a matter of being accountable and responsible, of always looking to make a contribution and, at the same time, of welcoming and appreciating criticism.
Lynch is the co-author of the book Spark: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success. His co-authors, Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch (his sister-in-law) are also ex-military—both were officers in the Marine Corps before co-founding their leadership consultancy. Many of the book’s examples are drawn from their military experiences, where, the authors write, they learned the leadership and communication skills required to be “sparks.”
Sparks, the authors write, are the people who take the initiative and lead others. Sparks derive their power not from formal position but from the credibility and respect that they’ve earned through their knowledge, skills and actions.
In Spark, the authors focus on seven essential behaviors required to become a leader in any organization:
• Know your values. Character is the confluence of your values and your actions. Identify your values and never lose sight of them.
• Earn trust and credibility. People will only trust and follow you if they see you as dependable, trustworthy and committed.
• Be accountable. Sparks never blame others for setbacks or missed expectations. They understand how their own actions might have caused problems, and always seek to be part of the solution.
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