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Monday Morning Leadership: 8 Mentoring Sessions You Can’t Afford to Miss

Monday Morning Leadership Book Cover
David Cottrell
Recommended by: Cari Pointer, Child Abuse and Neglect Program Development Specialist, Department of Social Services

1) What is your suggestion about? 

Monday Morning Leadership is a simple, yet impactful read. Monday Morning Leadership tells a fictional story of one leader’s struggle at the crossroads of his career. In doing so, it makes important, timeless points about leadership for yourself and your teams. 

A struggling manager, Jeff, seeks out the guidance of his mentor, Tony, to coach him in turning things around at work. Jeff had always considered himself to be a good leader and boss, but found his team was delivering weak results and was unhappy. Through their Monday morning sessions, Tony teaches Jeff eight ways to become a better leader. These lessons are relevant to all of us.

2) Why did you choose it? 

I chose the book because it communicates the essential leadership lessons I learned from one of my own mentors in my agency. This leader was very clear in her expectations and transparent with her staff. Above all else, she was fair. Monday Morning Leadership teaches how to be an empathetic, yet fair leader. This allows your staff to be aware of expectations and what it takes to meet them. 

Monday Morning Leadership also teaches you to listen to your team members. We too often forget common sense: some of the most powerful improvement ideas come from the people who do the work. Think of it like this: if you supervise 10 people, and you were out, how much work would be accomplished? Now, if those 10 people were out and only you were left to work, how much work would be accomplished? You need them more than they need you, so take care of them and learn from them!

3) What else do you want to tell us about it? 

Here are basic management tips I learned from Monday Morning Leadership:

  • A real leader spends time fixing his problem instead of finding who is to blame.
  • Write things down—if you simply say you will do something, there is really no commitment to getting it done.
  • Find your “main thing.” This is your purpose or your priority. Also, make sure your team knows your main thing and develops their own. Then, focus on your main thing!
  • People quit people before they quit companies. People quit because their needs are not being met by their leader. Take time to find out what your employees need from you as a manager. Be able to communicate what you expect of them as their manager. In other words, get in touch with your people and get out of “management land.”
  • Hire tough! Settling for someone just because you have an opening will only lead to poor results down the road. Adjust your interviewing process to assure you get the best person for your team.
  • Time is your responsibility. Take control of your time by prioritizing, limiting interruptions, and effectively managing meetings.
  • Fill your buckets! Get to know your staff. Give them feedback on performance and provide recognition for the good work done.
  • Live in the “Learning Zone.” Take a step out of your comfort zone. As quoted from the book: “A forceful enemy to your potential is your comfort zone.”

​4) What is a key takeaway for leaders driving improvement in how we deliver for the citizens of Missouri? 

One of the most impactful quotes from this book that I try to adhere to in life is: “If you want to be extraordinary, the first thing you have to stop doing is being ordinary.” As leaders in Missouri, we have the unique opportunity to deliver unique impact for our team members and our fellow citizens. So, in a seemingly ordinary world at times, be extraordinary!

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  • Gai Phillips, Department of Corrections
  • July 9, 2018 10:18 am
  • Overall great advice. I however like the idea of fixing this issue and avoid blaming. But, also we need to know what went wrong and address that issue.
  • Lori Smith, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
  • July 10, 2018 8:44 am
  • I wish we could have a check out system for obtaining this book intra organizational. A lot of good books are recommended, but many of us work a ton, so getting to the library or the book store can be problematic. Just an idea!! I would also like to see more training opportunities for individuals that wish to promote to supervisors to train for such. When I worked for DOC, they were just implementing such a program. I would like to discover more with DOLIR and the state as a whole as I believe we should be working in basically the same manner across the board.