Book Review: ‘Play the Man’ – Mark Batterson

PTMcoverWhere did we lose sight of what it means to be a man?
As we look around society it’s increasingly obvious that we have lost our way. Men seem to have neglected their responsibilities to teach the next generation of men, leaving boys trying to figure things out for themselves or follow their peers. Adding to the mayhem, more and more kids are growing without a dad (or in some cases even a father figure) to teach them what they need to know, or have someone to cheer them on or coach them. No wonder men in our society are confused and lost when it comes to their roles in society.

Mark Batterson arrives with a great book Play the Man to address the issue and start to look at really practice ways to attack this head on. Mark Batterson is the New York Times bestselling author who’s works include The Circle Maker and The Grave Robber, and Pastor of the multi site National Community Church in Washington DC.

A book, for men?
“Is it a picture book?” I hear you shout from the cheap seats.
Okay… men aren’t renowned for their reading skills, in fact it’s something that Mark himself even addresses in his book.

“According to the Pew Research Institute, half of adults read fewer than five books per year. Men read 13 percent fewer books than women”

I’ve been an admirer of Mark’s writing for years and the main reason is simple ‘readability’ – it’s easy to read.
It’s obvious that Mark is well read as he has a real knack of taking a tale and twisting it full of intrigue and natural logic. To this he adds a dash of science and pinch of history. 
Batterson is the the author for men who want substance,  don’t want to read the Encyclopedia Britannica and still want to learn.

In ‘Play the Man’ Mark uncovers what he calls the seven virtues of Manhood.
The six virtues of Manhood in the book are:

  • Tough love (sacrificing yourself for others)

  • Childlike  wonder (never losing your desire to learn about God’s world)

  • Will power (that sanctified stubborn streak)

  • Raw passion (an infectious enthusiasm)

  • True grit (the combination of passion and perseverance)

  • Clear vision (knowing what you’re fighting for)

In ‘Play the Man‘ Mark is able to use  his natural storytelling ability to share an anecdote about manhood, the good the bad and the ugly. However the thing that makes this book great is his ability to be able to couple that together with the scriptures, and give really practical ways to teach this to the next generation of men.

Let’s be honest, men are really great at avoidance and I wonder if we have lost our way a little because of it? Men are living in some weird void where it seem like we have become the joke of the party. I think it was Scottish comedian Billy Connolly who said “Middle aged white males are the only people you can make fun of without being told off” and he’s right to a point. Men are living in a no mans land where manhood is skewed.

The subtitle of ‘Play the Man’ is ‘Becoming the Man God created you to be’.
This is more than just a book, it’s a manual for manhood. Imagine if this is shared, developed locally, put into practice and focused on, it could be the start of a manhood revolution that could change the world.

The revolution starts at home, in our families and in our communities. Are you willing to ‘Play the Man’?

Viva La Revolution

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The burden of being an extrovert (or… Team Leaders please pay attention)

Energy Levels Approaching Maximum. @Over

It’s not just Caffeine that picks up energy levels 

I’m an extrovert… a ‘people person’… I love being around people, in fact I’m actually energised by people.
If I don’t get a chance to really communicate with people… if I don’t get the chance to connect with people… If I don’t get the chance to relate with people, I actually start to find my energy levels drop.

I’m the kind of person who loves the chatter, the sounds of talking… I like music in the background… I really love the buzz of it all… it really picks me up… it really gets me going – I love the sound of a positive working environment.

Now I know for some people, a noisy work place would frustrate them… but for me it’s the opposite, I love the hubbub.

So when today I found myself separated from my team I found myself slowly fading… I got grumpy… I got tired… worse of all I got quiet, which for someone like me who is a natural talker starts to get people worried… I felt isolated.

Here’s the crazy thing… I was moved to my position because a manager wanted me to not get distracted (which is fair I can be distracted easily) however they didn’t understand how energy levels of an extrovert can be determined by the people around them. You see it was fair for my manager to want to make sure I didn’t get to distracted, as a creative, people oriented person like me can be easily distracted… however is it really for the best?

So what can a manager (or any team leader) do with an extrovert that gets distracted easily?
What they shouldn’t do is put the person in a place where they feel isolated.
I can understand the urge to want to separate them from a group, however quite often you find that the person is more productive in a place that is right in the middle of the business, they are more creative, their mind is engaged and they seem to find their natural rhythm.
What you should do however is put them around people who are organised… putting two people who are easily distracted together is a recipe for disaster… however putting them in a place where they can distract when it’s quiet (and help keep the communication of a team together) but when it’s busy and time to get back to business, the people around them are focused and force the extrovert to do likewise.

You don’t need to do much to keep energy levels up… fun emails, just checking up on them… talking to them… keeping them in the middle of the buzz… and you will have a productive extrovert.
You see for someone like me… an extrovert… I don’t even need to be talking… just listening… just hearing the fun environment energizes me.

So please, leaders of teams… don’t be tempted to segregate an extrovert, but manage them by surrounding them with people who can keep them grounded. It actually does two things… it grounds the extrovert but quite often can pick up the vibe of a team in a positive way.

Have fun managing your extroverts.