3 out of 4 stars
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How was your day today? What kind of encounters did you experience? Maybe you saw a tired mother with three restless kids at the grocery store and helped her pack and carry her groceries. Or maybe you bandaged the wounds of an unknown child who fell with his bike on the street outside your window? If that was the case, you have just done something remarkable! You might wonder what is there to applaud for, but as a matter of fact, you have just committed an act of servant leadership.
Profiles in Kindness by Paul E. Kotz is a collection of stories of servant leadership. The author has a long track record in the fields of education and business expertise. Despite his proficiency in teaching, Dr. Kotz does not claim to know everything about the given topic, nor does he promise to reveal all the hidden secrets or train the readers to be excellent at servant leadership. Instead, he allows us glimpses of his own life, describing where and how he has experienced servant leadership. Indeed, there are a lot of little lessons hidden in between the lines of these short stories.
According to the philosophy of servant leadership, the most effective leaders are the ones who are striving to serve others instead of taking ultimate control or gaining power. As Paul E. Kotz states, we recognize the presence or the lack of leadership when we see it. I believe this to be true. The author proves his case by introducing multiple small incidents, where the actions of servant leadership have made an enormous difference. I enjoyed the author’s accurate interpretations and appreciated his openness in sharing these little, sometimes painful, lessons of life. The greatest lesson for me was to realize that everyone needs to be recognized by fellow human beings. Dr. Kotz demonstrates how we can deliver this feeling of recognition with the very little things we choose to say or do. I was left with a resolution to bring this particular teaching alive in my own life and relationships.
Profiles in Kindness is divided into five sections in a way that has been used in many other leadership books. I did not feel satisfied with this kind of structure. The author’s own words suggested this book to be more of an inspirational book than a piece created for teaching purposes. Knowing this, the given structure left me feeling somewhat confused. The stories were adorable, funny, touching, and even heartbreaking sometimes. However, I believe this otherwise such beautiful content might have worked better if it was written into a form of a daily devotional for leaders.
I am happy to grant this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. I felt obliged to reduce a star based on the structural concerns mentioned above. The editing of Profiles in Kindness was close to perfection as I only found one typing mistake. To conclude, this book is a beautiful, good-spirited read for everyone who wants to know more about servant leadership or just to find positive ways to influence the surrounding society. As the author kindly points out, we all have so much time. We just have to decide how to use the time given to us.
Profiles in Kindness
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