• Jeremy Scott

Book Review: The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make by Hans Finzel

When I picked up Finzel's book, I was hoping it wasn’t going to be a biography of my leadership! I found the book to be very helpful and enjoyable to read. If for no other reason, chapters six and eight are worth the price of the book.



“Dirty Delegation” is the title of chapter six. I, like every other leader, know that it is essential to delegate work towards others and I have little problems with the idea of it. I really don’t worry about the credit or if the other person will do a better job than me. I do sometimes struggle with the fact that they may not do a good job. So, reading Finzel’s words of encouragement in that area were helpful.

But the most helpful part of the chapter (and of the book, for me) was the table on page 123: The Delegation Continuum: The Follow Through Styles of Different Workers. Finzel states,

“the greatest mistake we can make in supervising is to treat everyone the same” (122).

When I read that for the first time and saw the table on the next page, I immediately knew that this was a mistake I had been making.

The four leadership alternatives (delegating, participating, selling, and telling) had been employed in some way in my leadership style. I just didn’t intentionally emphasize one over the other with individual people. The biggest one that I was lacking was the “selling” part of the continuum.


Finzel's continuum:



Here is some of my whiteboard work of the same information just laid out differently:

So, if someone you are leading has high skill but low willingness, you know you need to lead by "selling". Conversely, if you are leading someone with high willingness but low skill, you have to lead them through "participation."




Chapter eight, “Missing the Clues of Corporate Culture” was also very informative. I like to be a student of culture, so analyzing the surrounding culture is a habit of mine. Being in a church that is over a hundred and sixty years old means that there is a lot of culture to analyze!

As Finzel states, “If you miss the culture clues as a leader, you may be in for some tough times” (157).

The simple exercise that Finzel recommends on page 159 has been added to my to-do list at my church. What is that exercise? Read the book and find out.

I highly recommend that every pastor read and interact with this book.