Steve Saccone’s Protegé explores a leader’s character, relationships, communication, mission and entrepreneurial leadership. In the book, each of these are defined, illustrated, and made practical through concrete action steps for mentors.
The first section of Protegé examines the four deadly sins of emerging leaders that are crucial to a leader’s character. Saccone defines character as “…doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do, no matter the cost.” The life of a leader with character compels others to listen. Someone who doesn’t have character may have skills enough to lead others for a time, but often will result in diminished influence or an eventual exit from leadership.
The next section illustrates three tensions in relationships: over and under commitment, conflict avoiding and evoking, and over attaching and detaching. Healthy leaders are aware of where they are on these continuums and avoid the extremes on one end or the other.
To develop a leader’s communication skills, Saccone recommends learning labs where young leaders are put in a pressure cooker situation to give a five-minute presentation in front of their peers. This helps them to get used to speaking before an audience as well as providing helpful feedback in a safe environment. A good mentor will design learning opportunities for protegé’s to help them develop in communication skills.
Because the church’s true organizing principle is mission, according to Saccone, leaders should be active in evangelism and social justice. Leaders need to develop the skill of learning their local community, creating relationships through interactive dialogue rather than monologue, and by drawing people into a community of faith rather than drawing people into making individual decisions.
Finally, Saccone focused on the importance entrepreneurial leadership. Churches should be place of innovation and risk taking in order to develop ways to reach new population segments. We need to resist the temptation to just keep old programs going, even if they may currently be effective.
Protegé is a book that goes beyond the basics in mentoring new leaders. The book breaks down the task into understandable components of leadership and gives practical objectives and suggestions to help mentors develop believers into effective leaders. I recommend this book.