The Leader Code

Summary Written by Dianne Coppola
"Leaders are not born, they are taught; in fact leadership skills are more caught than even taught."

- The Leader Code, page 5

The Big Idea

Effective Leaders Emulate Chameleons

"There is no one best leader mode. They can all be effective…and they [all] can be ineffective…"- The Leader Code, page 58

A chameleon is “a type of lizard that can change the color of its skin to look like the colors that are around it” (Merriam-Webster online dictionary). I’ve always thought that was so cool! When you think about it, effective leaders actually are like chameleons; they adapt their methods of leading others according to the situation and the abilities of the people they are leading. In doing so, they are more effective and their teams achieve higher levels of success. Those who fail to adjust their leadership styles to the situation as well as the knowledge and skills of those they are leading, are less effective and the results suffer.

This makes intuitive sense, but exactly how does one know what adjustments to make? Fear not, The Leader Code provides you with a clear and simple way to assess the situation and determine which mode of leadership is most likely to achieve desirable results. To be an amazing leader all you need is some PEP and a little STP!

Insight #1

Develop your PEP!

"There are three Greek words that are used to describe a leader in the New Testament. These three leadership styles encompass most of the situations that you will face as a leader."- The Leader Code, pages 19-20

The foundation of the leader code is based on three words used to describe leaders in the New Testament:

  • Poimen (pronounced poy-mane’) which means pastor or shepherd;
  • Episkopos (pronounced e-pis’-kop-os) which means bishop or overseer; and,
  • Presbuteros (pronounced pres-boo’-ter-os) which means elder.

Blakeslee divides each of these leadership styles into two distinct roles for a total of six leadership modes. Each mode is defined by how it performs the following five tasks:

  1. Listening – to diagnose and solve problems
  2. Planning – both long- and short-term
  3. Delegation – directing others
  4. Recognition – feedback and rewards
  5. Mentoring – train and develop others

I loved the clarity that these five tasks brought to my understanding of a leader’s responsibilities, and the fact that they are relevant no matter where someone is in an organization or community. And while I wish that I had this frame of reference back when I held a management role in a large organization, it is equally applicable to my responsibilities as a parent of two twenty-something young men and in my current role as an external consultant. We all will find ourselves in situations where doing these five tasks will be critical to our success. In the future, I will be more conscious of which task area I am operating in and you might want to do the same.

So, now that you appreciate the importance of developing some PEP, let’s move on to the real magic – using STP!

Join our newsletter

Sign up for the very best book summaries right to your inbox.
We care about your data in our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Insight #2

High Performers use STP!

"…remember Stress, Task and People – S.T.P."- The Leader Code, page 55

While we can improve our leadership results by being more in tune with the five tasks of a leader, the real traction comes when you add some STP. This formula is the essence of the ‘leader code’ and enables you to assess any given situation and determine which leadership mode will help you achieve optimal success. The most effective leaders approach situations in terms of the dynamics between the level of stress + the complexity of task + the experience of the people involved. Then they adjust their leadership response accordingly.

So, it’s as simple as looking at any given situation and asking three critical questions:

  1. How stressful is the current situation (low stress, moderate stress or high stress)?
  2. Is the task that needs to be done simple and routine, complex and demanding or somewhere in between?
  3. What is the skill level of the people involved – unskilled and inexperienced, moderately skilled and experienced or highly skilled and highly experienced?

Once you know where along the continuum these three elements fall, you will know which of the six leader modes to employ.

There were a few other notable gems in The Leader Code which space limitations won’t allow me to elaborate on (check out page 64 for some more sage advice from ‘Bob’). The book also includes several reflection questions at the end of each chapter to deepen your learning and a quiz to help you identify your preferred leader modes and decipher your personal leader code.

Read the book

Get The Leader Code on Amazon.

Daniel Blakeslee

Blakeslee is an experienced leader and a trainer of leaders. He is a pastor, college professor, husband, father and grandfather. He consults with non-profit organizations, churches and businesses to help them accomplish their mission – efficiently and effectively. Blakeslee served on board three nuclear powered submarines as a Chief Petty Officer. Blakeslee was assigned to the U. S. Navy’s Leadership Development Program (NLDP) as an instructor. He developed curriculum and taught the pilot course for the Navy’s Total Quality Management (TQM) Program. Blakeslee served as the Lead Pastor and Executive Pastor of three churches. He was the Director of Operations for the Baptist Bible Fellowship International and on the faculty and administration of Baptist Bible College and Graduate School. He is currently serving as an Administrative Pastor in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Subscribe to digest
Read about our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.