The Way of the Shepherd: Introduction

If you are a leader of people, you have more than likely dealt with persons who are stubborn, distracted, paranoid, or, in some other way, not working to their full potential. As an employee, you may have felt your boss has left you to "sink or swim," without any direction, or even caring if you succeed. 

It can be enough to make you want to look for another job. 

For the next eight weeks we are going to be studying the book, The Way of the Shepherd, written by Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak. 

William Pentak, a cub reporter for the Texas Star, lands an interview with Theodore “Ted” McBride, a reclusive and greatly respected corporate leader. His approach to the interview is discovering what his secrets were to being such a successful leader. 

Pentak is excited that he has landed an interview when many more qualified journalists were denied access, meets with McBride. The CEO proceeds to tell him a story from the end of his graduate school experience in the mid-1950s. It was just a few weeks before finals, and McBride was working on his master's degree in business administration. A professor, Dr. Jack Neumann, was his mentor. 

Ted McBride had just been offered a job to head up a small department at General Technologies (the same company he would eventually become CEO), and excitedly told Neumann the news, revealing that while he had confidence in his business skills, he had doubts about his being able to lead other people well. 

Neumann proceeds to offer McBride an opportunity to learn his secrets to managing people, but the lessons would have to take place on the weekends, as both professor and MBA candidate were in end-of-the-semester crunch time. 

Ted agrees, but to his surprise, the first lesson was a trip to Neumann's ranch to look at his flock of sheep. The lesson involved checking the skin and hooves. It certainly wasn’t what McBride had envisioned, but he would soon learn some incredible and valuable insights into leading people by watching how a shepherd cares for his flock. 

Thus began McBride's adventure in learning "the way of the shepherd," a series of business principles Neumann said was ancient in theory. Subsequent lessons included an auction barn, a visit to see a neglected flock, and Neumann's extended allegory comparing a flock of sheep to the nine people McBride would be managing in his new job. 

There are 7 principles of the Way of the Shepherd and we will look at one each week. 

  1. Know the Condition of Your Flock

  2. Discover the Shape of Your Sheep

  3. Help Your Sheep Identify with You

  4. Make Your Pasture a Safe Place

  5. The Staff of Direction

  6. The Rod of Correction

  7. The Heart of the Shepherd

If you don't already have this as a resource, I would encourage you to purchase the book and read along with me. It can be purchased for less than $8 for the Kindle or around $13 for a hard copy. (LINK: The Way of the Shepherd by Kevin Leman and William Pentak).

I believe that adopting these principles to how you lead others, both at work and in your home, has the potential to radically change your ability to have an incredible influence on the people you have been called to lead.