Lead . . . for God’s Sake! | Todd Gongwer

Summary of: Lead . . . for God’s Sake!: A Parable for Finding the Heart of Leadership
By: Todd Gongwer


In ‘Lead… for God’s Sake!’, Todd Gongwer presents a parable highlighting the importance of servant leadership, empathy, and finding one’s true purpose in life. Through the story of a high school basketball coach, a CEO, and a school janitor, the book explores how selflessness and a focus on others lead to more effective leadership and enriched lives. The themes covered include redefining success, learning from adversity, and building strong relationships through compassionate guidance. This book summary captures the key insights and spiritual wisdom behind Gongwer’s convincing argument for servant leadership.

The Art of Servant Leadership

In his book “Lead…for God’s Sake,” Todd G. Gongwer shares the story of a basketball coach, a CEO, and a janitor who embrace servant leadership. Gongwer emphasizes the importance of finding your life’s true purpose and aligning it with your leadership style. While some readers may find the religious theme off-putting, the message of selfless leadership shines through in this engaging and relatable parable.

A Lesson in Leadership

Coach Steve Rocker’s basketball team at Franklin North High School was struggling, and he was convinced it was due to a lack of leadership. After berating his players for their failure to step up, the school janitor, Joe Taylor, suggested Rocker be patient with the kids. Despite his frustration, Rocker took Taylor’s advice and found it to be valuable. This story shows the importance of listening to all perspectives, even those from unexpected sources, when trying to solve problems.

The Paradox of Leadership

Grant Steffin, a successful CEO, lectures Rocker about leadership over beers. Steffin advocates for traditional reward-and-punishment leadership, but Rocker is surprised when Steffin admits that his long hours and lack of involvement in his family drove them away. Both men agree that success requires sacrifice, but at what cost?

Choosing Selflessness

Rocker questions his coaching competence after scolding senior starters. Joe Taylor pays him a visit and urges him to emphasize team spirit and leadership. According to Taylor, being selfless is crucial in effective leadership and living a fulfilling life. Star player David Kelton’s selfishness results in a season-ending injury.

A Lesson in Leadership

Rocker, a basketball coach, is struggling to motivate his team after their previous season’s success. He meets with Taylor, a janitor who also serves as a mentor, and realizes the importance of empathy and compassion in leadership.
Taylor suggests that Rocker needs to encourage his players to define their purpose and rediscover their mutual love of the game. However, when one of Rocker’s players, Brant, quits the team due to personal issues, Rocker responds with criticism, causing Brant to leave in tears.
Through Taylor’s guidance, Rocker learns that leadership involves more than just winning games. It’s about understanding and supporting the individual needs of team members and leading with empathy.

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