Mastering Leadership: Insights from The Vagrant


How can the parable of “The Vagrant” inform your leadership style?

I love a good parable. It’s why I wrote The Book of Mistakes the way I did. Because, as John David Mann, one of my guests on this week’s “Aim Higher” said, “Stories are the way we communicate wisdom.”

John David is the coauthor of the award-winning classic The Go-Giver. And I got a chance to sit down for a lively, fascinating talk with him and Dan Rockwell, creator of the very popular Leadership Freak Blog. Together, they wrote, The Vagrant: The Inner Journey of Leadership and it’s got a lot of great lessons for leaders, aspiring leaders, and anyone who wants to come to grips with the challenges of self-awareness.



John David Mann, celebrated coauthor of the award-winning The Go-Giver, recently joined me for an engaging chat. Alongside him was Dan Rockwell, the brains behind the widely-followed Leadership Freak Blog. These two teamed up to write The Vagrant: The Inner Journey of Leadership, a book jam-packed with invaluable insights for leaders and those on the path to becoming one. Dan Rockwell is known for his sharp insights on leadership, while John David Mann has a knack for storytelling that resonates with readers across the globe. Their collaboration brings forward a must-read on mastering self-awareness and tackling leadership challenges with finesse.

I don’t want to give away too much about the plot of the book. It’s fascinating and fast-paced and there are so many moments that resonated with me. It starts with a high-powered leader who has a confrontation with an odd homeless man just moments after losing his job. In the next few weeks, his life is turned upside down and he ends up homeless himself. And then, once again, he meets up with the same strange man… Trust me: it’s a powerful tale, with powerful messages.



Acknowledging Leadership Tension

One of the themes explored in the book is the tension, as leaders, that we face when juggling between our own abilities and those of the people on our team. To be a successful leader, there are going to be times when you need to make the call. When you must use your experience and judgment. But there are other times when your judgment will tell you: “I’m not the expert here.”



John David made a powerful point about this during our talk. He said, “Don’t walk into the room assuming you’re right. Walk into the room assuming you have something to learn.” I think that’s a great way of thinking about this paradox. You can be very good at your job. You can be a great leader. But what if you always assume that there’s more to learn from others? If you go looking for that, actively, and let your team know that you rely on their knowledge and skills to inform your leadershipm you can get the best of both worlds.



I hope you’ll tune in. I always enjoy talking to these two guys each on their own. Together? It’s a fast-paced, lively discussion that will leave you wanting more. And probably send you straight to the bookstore for “The Vagrant.”





For more information, see The Vagrant: The Inner Journey of Leadership.


Image Credit: Tim Mossholder


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