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Front Row Leadership: Stop Criticizing and Start Leading

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Become the person of influence you were born to be. Whether you're a CEO, a volunteer, or a homemaker, leadership is your responsibility. Front-Row Leadership by Rob Ketterling will show you how to move up to the front and lead the change you want to see take place. Learn to engage the leadership process and contribute with your God-given strengths. One person can still ma Become the person of influence you were born to be. Whether you're a CEO, a volunteer, or a homemaker, leadership is your responsibility. Front-Row Leadership by Rob Ketterling will show you how to move up to the front and lead the change you want to see take place. Learn to engage the leadership process and contribute with your God-given strengths. One person can still make a difference today, and Front-Row Leadership offers tools that will empower you to do just that.


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Become the person of influence you were born to be. Whether you're a CEO, a volunteer, or a homemaker, leadership is your responsibility. Front-Row Leadership by Rob Ketterling will show you how to move up to the front and lead the change you want to see take place. Learn to engage the leadership process and contribute with your God-given strengths. One person can still ma Become the person of influence you were born to be. Whether you're a CEO, a volunteer, or a homemaker, leadership is your responsibility. Front-Row Leadership by Rob Ketterling will show you how to move up to the front and lead the change you want to see take place. Learn to engage the leadership process and contribute with your God-given strengths. One person can still make a difference today, and Front-Row Leadership offers tools that will empower you to do just that.

30 review for Front Row Leadership: Stop Criticizing and Start Leading

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jon Gill

    Great Concept, Not Well Executed First off, let me acknowledge the irony of giving a critical review of a book that literally tells me to “stop criticizing!” Don’t worry, I’ll say a number of things I liked about it, too! While I rated this book 2 stars overall, the idea itself is about a 4-star idea; it’s just not well-executed, as far as books go. The idea deserved a little better. But I haven’t written any books (yet), so I’m not saying I could do better! THE GOOD: THE IDEA! I read this book be Great Concept, Not Well Executed First off, let me acknowledge the irony of giving a critical review of a book that literally tells me to “stop criticizing!” Don’t worry, I’ll say a number of things I liked about it, too! While I rated this book 2 stars overall, the idea itself is about a 4-star idea; it’s just not well-executed, as far as books go. The idea deserved a little better. But I haven’t written any books (yet), so I’m not saying I could do better! THE GOOD: THE IDEA! I read this book because I felt like I have been stuck awhile in what Ketterling calls the “back row” – the peanut gallery, the ones who judge and criticize leaders without really doing anything to effect positive change. I knew that I needed to do what he recommends, and find ways to “move to the front row,” get my hands dirty, and positively affect my church (or any organizational situation I’m in). This is a fantastic point, and one that deserves exploring. Ketterling, a pastor of a relatively new multi-campus megachurch in Minnesota, certainly has experience and clout to discuss effective and ineffective leadership tactics. He continually contrasts the “back row/front row” idea in numerous ways. There is a list at the back detailing characteristics and strategies of “front-row leaders,” and various ways of implementing and inspiring this kind of action. He also does a good job showing, or at least asserting, that leaders come in many forms, both good and bad – we may be leaders even if we’re not trying to be, and that can be quite damaging rather than constructive. The book is aimed at showing the many angles we can look at good and bad leadership, especially in ourselves, and that in and of itself it an important message. All this was good, and I felt like I needed to hear at least some of the things he was saying. THE BAD: THE EXECUTION. Unfortunately, these were the 3 main weaknesses of the book for me, someone who agreed with the idea and wanted to learn what he had to say. All of these have to do with execution, rather than the ideas themselves. As someone who teaches writing, these were glaring and at times painful for me as a reader. First, the audience – Ketterling’s idea applies to both religious organizations like churches or ministries, but also to secular or for-profit companies. He knows this because he’s been a part of both, and this truth is well taken. However, it felt like the book didn’t know who it was speaking to at any given point. Biblical examples and principles were presented too briefly, too simply, and too tentatively to be effective to those unfamiliar with the Bible, or substantially authoritative to those familiar. A few late chapters do a better job of sticking with one example longer (e.g. showing the Pharisees and Scribes in contrast to Jesus’s reformative leadership), but most examples from the Bible or religion seemed like it was painful or risky to bring up, as if the non-religious would dismiss them entirely (then why bring it up?) and the religious would already understand everything (I was either unconvinced or confused with most – many seemed contrived to fit his thesis). If you’re going to use Biblical examples, verses, and principles to make your point, then use good theological expository. Otherwise, the Bible seems either like eye candy or lip service for the religious, or an inconvenient obstacle for the irreligious. Ketterling would have done better to either unashamedly use the Bible to perfectly illuminate his point, fleshing out those examples with pastor-like didacticism, or stick to other more familiar and effective examples for the general/secular audience. The split-audience strategy tried to do too much, and fell flat. Second, the examples themselves were either too cursory, too metaphorical, or both. Whether Biblical or not, nearly every example used to make his point failed to use the power of story to his advantage. This book’s thesis would have thrived if it had been ONLY stories, but instead there were almost none. Perhaps he wanted the book to be short, but if that’s the case, he could have condensed his ideas into fewer chapters and used longer and more effective examples. While no one would fault him for overusing his main metaphor of “back row/front row,” numerous other metaphors are made offhand with no real connections to the substance. Numerous examples are begun, and then finish as quickly and blankly as they are mentioned, without supporting the point. And any real-life examples had so little detail that they ended in 2 or 3 sentences, and didn’t have the gravitas of being a story at all. It felt at times like I was reading a blog post that had made its point in the opening paragraph, and now was just restating it again and again, without actually providing real-life examples of it being done, well or poorly. It felt like he thought he didn’t have time to really go into any detail on any stories, and in doing so it created the problem I mentioned earlier. If you’re going to write a whole book on a topic, be prepared to have numerous positive and negative examples of your thesis – stories stick, assertions don’t. If there were even one real-life story per chapter to illustrate the latest focus point of what it means to be a front-row leader, his points would have been made. Instead, each time I picked up the book, it felt like taking an unpleasant medicine; I knew I’d be rolling my eyes at the repetition, stretched metaphors, unsubstantiated assertions, and incomplete examples. Third, and slightly related to the other two, was the overall style. Metaphors aside, the writing comes across like a pocketful of quotable phrases, but without really connecting them or expanding on any of them. Lots of short, unconnected sentences read at times like a list of post-it notes or blog titles. It’s like if you did an image search for “leadership quotes” and came up with a bunch of relatively wise sayings, put them into a power point, and then just read the slides to the audience instead of really diving into what they taught us. I’m not saying he’s stolen any ideas – he includes a lot of good quotes and properly cites everything he uses. It’s just that the overall style is more like putting together a meal from a hotel’s single-serving refrigerator options: it’s eclectic, never quite satisfying, and probably cost you too much to consume. These are all things that can be corrected with a good editor, so perhaps it’s not Ketterling’s fault – it reads like an early draft of a good book idea that never really reached its full potential (or was published too early). Now that my criticism is over, my hope is that any potential readers can be willing to take his ideas (with whatever grains of salt you need) and apply them effectively, either because of or in spite of this somewhat amateur book. In fact, you don’t need to feel bad if you don’t finish the book, as long as you are inspired to “stop criticizing and start leading.” I hope my criticisms of this book’s execution don’t keep me or any of you from stepping up when it counts.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Todd Mckeever

    Front Row Leadership This is a book that first let me say, I would recommend it to anyone starting out in their leadership journey. I believe this book is fit for those leaders. Once you have been leading for a few years this information and examples should be all known to you at this time. This book does do a good job of reminding each leader that whatever you may be going through is all a natural flow of things for anyone in leadership. In closing, if you are starting down your leadership journ Front Row Leadership This is a book that first let me say, I would recommend it to anyone starting out in their leadership journey. I believe this book is fit for those leaders. Once you have been leading for a few years this information and examples should be all known to you at this time. This book does do a good job of reminding each leader that whatever you may be going through is all a natural flow of things for anyone in leadership. In closing, if you are starting down your leadership journey this is a great read. If you have been leading for a few years or more, here is a book that will serve as a good reminder that any of the struggles you may be going through are all normal. And lastly, if you have been leading several years, this book can be a good template of the kind of book maybe you should be assembling to pass off to the leaders coming behind you.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    More than anything, this book is a call to action. It's a call to get engaged in a healthy, productive way. It's a call to use the influence that you have to work toward shared visions, values and goals; to create alignment, and to inspire others to engage with their full heart. This book is less about the hows of leadership and more about the characteristics of positive leaders. It's an exploration of the hard work of leadership necessary to pave the way forward to an envisioned future. The boo More than anything, this book is a call to action. It's a call to get engaged in a healthy, productive way. It's a call to use the influence that you have to work toward shared visions, values and goals; to create alignment, and to inspire others to engage with their full heart. This book is less about the hows of leadership and more about the characteristics of positive leaders. It's an exploration of the hard work of leadership necessary to pave the way forward to an envisioned future. The book is ideal for discussion with leadership teams, key volunteers, and others who shape the direction and effectiveness of an organization. If you're willing to be honest with yourself and others, the questions at the end of each chapter, and within the Group Discussion Guide are great tools for identifying opportunities for improvement in your leadership. You may just be surprised at the practical opportunities for applications within areas you may not even think of as being related to leadership.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    I liked the idea and the central premise. It would be a good book for a young person just beginning their leadership journey. It consisted of a lot of thoughts from others that Rob compiled. A nice elementary book on leadership.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Vafakos

    Many highlights! Easy-to-read. Good for anyone.

  6. 5 out of 5

    David Decker

    I've read many books on leadership. This may be the best one yet. I've read many books on leadership. This may be the best one yet.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Craig

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Kramer

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Koenig

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kayla M

  11. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Sembera

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Holte

  13. 5 out of 5

    Glenice Deterville

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Smith

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erika Kester

  17. 4 out of 5

    Esther Moreno

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Refsland

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jason Kohler

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rodney Wardwell

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lois Ann

  22. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Needs

    This is another great book with a lot of good information. It's not just lip service as Ketterling backs it up with data. This is another great book with a lot of good information. It's not just lip service as Ketterling backs it up with data.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Ward

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robert Prather

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kitavi George

  26. 4 out of 5

    Justin Flanagan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Brotherton

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Zack McCullough

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mariam Varghese

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