Leadership is messy and there is no way around it. It’s a complex beast to wrap one’s head around and many have dedicated their lives to displaying the traits of leadership in various ways. Some crash and burn, sometimes publicly, and some who the world will never know far exceed even their greatest expectations. Jenni Catron provides an excellent way forward through the muck and mess with her brand new release, The Four Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership: The Power of Leading from Your Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength.
Working in the same spaces that are filled with names like Michael Hyatt, Brad Lomerick, and John Maxwell, Jenni stands out as a breath of fresh air. To be sure, those in the same pool are excellent leaders and have built quite a following, but there is something different about what Catron writes. “Leadership is hard. It’s a difficult calling and responsibility. If I finish my life and haven’t left a mark or made an impart that was significant to another person’s life, I won’t be content with that.”
In 2014 Jenni Catron made quite a splash with her book, Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence. In that short, yet influential volume, she explored the dynamics of influence and fleshed out some of the pitfalls in order to fully realize one’s potential. In 4 Dimensions she builds upon Clout in a seamless fashion. It helps to answer the question of, “What happens after I’ve gotten the clout and influence?” Leaders who have influence and spheres which they operate powerfully in will do well to have these two wisdom-packed books in their libraries.
Perhaps one of the most helpful sections, which have also come through in books from Albert Mohler Jr. and others, has been that “Leaders are Readers”. I like the way Jenni puts it though, she urges the reader to “Read ferociously”. Reading in this fashion makes us more available to not only learn from those who have gone before but to be a great resource for those looking to learn from the past. I have to admit, I use this type of influence in my level of leadership with my employer. I’m the “local theologian” as my mentor has said. I’m the guy with all the shelves packed with books and it’s an opportunity for me to start interesting conversations and give other people a chance to learn, but it needs to be more than that.
Jenni quotes Ortberg with a humorous little quip, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”. I seldom find myself in the right room, but am able to speak into various situations because of the mass of volumes that I have worked through. I have the door flung open when other people offer advice on what I should read given my current selection of volumes. I say all this to point back to Jenni, who I think of as a two-way leader. She gives great advice due to her status as leader, but she is willing to take advice on how she can continue to be molded, and not into anything. She wants to be molded into the image of Christ and that comes through very clear in this volume.
Leaders would do well to well to not only take the leadership assessment but to pick up a copy for you and your team. It’s a helpful tool in discovering how your team leads and how you lead them as a first among equals. Jenni’s writing is clear and concise yet full of wisdom gained from years of struggle and success. Jenni is a real leader who not only uses her influence to point towards Christ but to build up a generation of men and women who do the same.
Catron, J. (2015). The Four Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership: The Power of Leading from Your Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength (p. 240). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.