Sunday, June 30, 2013

I've Got Your Back, by James Galvin

I've Got Your Back, by James Galvin is part parable, part theological discourse.  The first section of the book tells the story of a group of four twenty somethings who are struggling with bad bosses and other situations of poor leadership.  The group is mentored by Jack Hendrickson, a former missionary and retired Special Forces Army Sergeant.  He works with them weekly, and ultimately helps them come to understand the nuances of both leading and following in an effective and biblical manner.  The second part of the book breaks down the biblical principles that were discussed and backs them up with scripture.

I have to admit, I approached this book with a little bit of trepidation.  For one thing, I have not worked for someone else for almost two decades, and I am not currently in any positions of leadership, other than being a mom.  Additionally, I've always been somewhat hard-wired to question authority, not blindly follow it.

I was pleasantly surprised then to find that the information this book contained was applicable and sound advice for anyone, regardless of who you do or do not work for.  It was also refreshing to learn that the biblical instruction for both leading and following with discernment and grace is NOT about following blindly at all, but a mutual and respectful partnership between both parties.  The book delves deeply into what it means to both lead and follow well;  the meaning and signs of follower abuse;  different types of authority in our lives, and whose direction we are and are not commanded to follow.

On a practical level, I did find the narrative a little bit difficult to get into at first.  But it ultimately didn't matter, because the subject matter grabbed me, and taught me to look at the topic of leading and following in a way that I honestly never have before.  I feel like I understand it for the first time in my life, and that is no small thing.  My only wish is that this book had been around years ago, when I was working for one difficult boss after another.  It was a good book, with an important lesson for everyone... especially for anyone struggling in the area of leading and/or following.   This book will surely help.

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