by David Reneau/ November 16, 2016
When working with other leaders, the question I hear often is, “How do I lead up?” They may not use that phrase exactly. It usually comes out like, “Why won’t my leader do this?” or “How can I get them to see it my way?” This is a common theme among any leader who must submit to the authority of someone else.
Every leader who must submit is faced with two options: They can sit on the back row and criticize every move their leader makes, or they can move to the front row and bring about the change they know needs to happen.
The thing is, it’s always easier to sit in the back. You don’t have to do anything but criticize and talk about how much better it would be if they would just do it “your way.” Back-row leaders get a certain joy out of seeing their leaders fail and convince themselves that they know the right way. Back-row leaders are ultimately poisonous to the organization because of their negativity. They do bring change, but unfortunately it's usually the bad kind and can destroy the organization from the outside in.
Conversely, a front-row leader moves past the cynicism and ego. They decide that they’re not going to sit in judgment. They decide they are going to do something to create the change they want to see happen. They choose to support their leader no matter what direction they choose.
That’s what Front Row Leadership is all about. Rob Ketterling shows how a leader can move from the back row to the front row. As a recovering back-row leader, Ketterling gives the road map for moving from the back to the front. He shows the reader how to look for obstacles and frustrations and how to push through them. With his conversational writing style, he walks the reader through creating alignment on teams and describes the job of a front-row leader.
Each chapter ends with key points for quick reference and discussion questions to ask yourself or your team.
As a children’s pastor, I am constantly finding myself needing to lead up. With Front Row Leadership, I now have the tools I need to bring about the changes I know need to happen. If you’re a mid-level leader, you need to read Ketterling’s wise words and apply them to your own leadership because, as he states in the book, “Organizations that refuse to change, won’t survive.”
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