SUGGESTED BOOKS FOR LEADERSHIP READING GROUPS
Updated February 2012
PLEASE NOTE ATTACHMENT AT END OF POST RE SUGGESTED STARTER QUESTIONS FOR GROUPS
Compiled by Rev Dr Dean Brookes: email@example.com
Rodd Wagner & James K. Harter, 12 The Elements of Great Managing. (Gallup Press, 2006)
This is the sequel to the 1999 best seller, First, Break All the Rules. It considers how great managers inspire top performance in people, how they generate enthusiasm, unite disparate personalities to focus on a common mission, and lead teams to achieve even higher goals. Gallup analysed a million employee interviews. Ultimately twelve elements of work life emerged as the unwritten social contract between employee and employer. The twelve elements have direct application for church staff and volunteers.
Eddie Gibbs, Leadership Next: Changing Leaders in a Changing Culture. (IVP 2005)
The book examines how Christian leaders might change in the light of new cultural conditions. It considers recent developments in leadership styles, from hierarchies to networks and compartments to connections, and assesses the dynamics of leadership teams. Healthy characteristics of Christian leaders are identified with suggestions on ways to nurture them.
Ann Morisy, Journeying Out: A New Approach to Christian Mission. (Continuum, 2004)
The book has had a couple of reprints. Ann Morisy was in South Australia in 2006 and had quite an impact. She develops her writing from some of the ideas of David Bosch. Once you get into the book you are impressed by the concepts discussed. The book is worth the cost just for the chapter on the story-rich life, but there is much more in it that is really helpful.
D. Michael Abrashoff, It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy. (Warner Books, 2002)
Abrashoff tells how he took command of a US navy ship that had cutting edge technology but a grossly underperforming crew. He improved his own leadership skills and simultaneously led the crew to become recognised as a model of efficiency and effectiveness. He set out to see the ship through the eyes of the crew. He focussed on communication and helped each sailor to grasp the importance and purpose of their unique role in the total function the USS Benfold. This is a great story with many leadership principles.
Tom Rath, Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without. (Gallup Press, 2006)
Tom Rath analysed over eight million Gallop interviews in gaining insights for this book. What is the impact of having significant friends in the workplace? The research found that people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their job. Vital Friends reveals what is common to true friendships and what particular contribution each person brings to a friendship, acknowledging that no one person can be everything to everyone. The principles shared are easily transferred and applicable to the volunteer sector or staff relationships in a church. This is another helpful publication from the Gallup organisation and is beneficially read alongside 12 and First Break All the Rules.
Earl Creps, Off-Road Disciplines: Spiritual Adventures of Missional Leaders. (Jossey-Bass, 2006)
Earl Creps reveals that the on-road disciplines of prayer, Bible study and others should be bolstered by other kinds of encounters with God that occur unexpectedly. Becoming an off-road leader requires the cultivation of certain spiritual disciplines that allow the Holy Spirit to arrange the interior life. Twelve central spiritual disciplines are explored – six personal and six organisational – that Christian leaders need if they are to change themselves and their churches to reach out to the culture around them. This book reminds us that leadership entails more than methods and strategies. It is a recent book in the excellent Leadership Network series.
Mark Lau Branson, Memories, Hopes and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry and Congregational Change. (Alban Institute, 2004)
The thesis of Appreciative Inquiry is that a church can be recreated in a life-giving way by conversations which are shaped by appreciative questions. Hence a church’s leaders must decide what to talk about, what questions to ask and what metaphors to use. Such initiatives shape the present and the future. The emphasis is on the positive, the pleasing, upon appreciation and gratitude. Using a case study, and with sound use of scripture, the author provides resources for shaping the narratives of congregations.
Jon R. Katzenbach & Douglas K. Smith, The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization. (Harvard Business School Press, 1993)
Written over a decade ago, this is still one of the best on understanding how working in teams is the best way to function as we tackle change and seek to perform at our peak. Real teams are the most common characteristic of successful change efforts at all levels of an organization. “In any situation requiring the real-time combination of multiple skills, experiences and judgments, a team inevitably gets better results than a collection of individuals operating within confined job roles and responsibilities.”
Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. (Jossey-Bass, 2002)
Patrick Lencioni is a great teacher through story telling and he applies this to the complex world of teams. He reveals why even the best teams often struggle and then outlines a powerful model and action steps that can be used to overcome common hurdles and build cohesive and effective teams. Like a couple of his other books you can read this one in an hour or two, but then more time and thought needs to be given to the application of the truths that he reveals and the model he suggests.
Patrick Lencioni, Death By Meeting: A Leadership Fable. (Jossey-Bass, 2004)
Do you hate meetings, especially bad, boring and unproductive meetings? Lencioni offers a cure for one of the most painful problems of business and the church – terrible meetings. He tells a story, a real life fable, in order to reveal how we can have good meetings with dynamic, passionate and focussed engagement – meetings that lead to good decisions as an outcome of the full and collective wisdom of the team. It is to do with working through conflict and disagreement with purpose and with fun. It is working on the real issues. His categorising of the different types of meetings is very helpful and would work well amongst church staff.
Danah Zohar & Ian Marshall, Spiritual Capital: Wealth We Can Live By. (Bloomsbury, 2004)
Spiritual Intelligence has arisen in writings in the last few years. Zohar and Marshall have been at the forefront of this. In this book they address the problem of values-deficient capitalism and consumerism. The central theme is that a critical mass of individuals acting from higher motivations can make a difference – they can use their spiritual intelligence to create spiritual capital in their wider organisational structures, thereby making those cultures more sustainable. Spiritual capital is wealth that enriches the deeper aspects of life. It is gained by drawing upon our deepest meanings, deepest values, most fundamental purposes, and highest motivations, and by finding a way to embed these in our lives and work. Zohar and Marshall are wife and husband. Collectively they bring experience and qualifications in physics, philosophy, education, psychiatry and psychotherapy.
Harold Myra & Marshall Shelley, The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham. (Zondervan, 2005)
Billy Graham is known well for his evangelistic ministry. Yet he is revealed in this book as a great leader. His accomplishments have been an integration of executive and entrepreneurial leadership blended with deep spiritual vitality. This book is an excellent introduction to the basics of contemporary leadership, including topics such as resilience, the leader’s inner life, handling difficulty, building a team, perseverance, persistence, casting vision and hope, integrity, and courage. It reads easily and has many helpful stories and great quotes.
Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr, Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing. (Harvard Business School Press, 2002)
Not all effective leaders are upfront courageous risk takers who cast a strong vision and rally people around a particular goal or mission. Badaracco argues that much success comes from the millions of small yet consequential decisions that men and women working far from the limelight make every day. These are the quiet leaders who choose responsible behind-the-scenes action to resolve tough leadership challenges. They don’t see themselves in the normally understood idea of what makes a leader. They want to do the right thing for their organisation, their workmates and themselves – but inconspicuously and without casualties. They are realistic and truthful about their own motives and the tough, sometimes ethical, dilemmas they face. This is a book that will encourage leaders who might wonder how they can navigate some difficult situations.
Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success in Life, One Conversation at a Time. (Berkley, 2002/4)
This book will change your life. It gets to ground truth – addressing reality in one’s life and any organisation. It cuts to the chase! Seven principles are described in detail. These are designed to overcome barriers to good communication, to expand and enrich conversations with others, to increase clarity and understanding, and to handle strong emotions – on both sides of the table. The book is best used by working on the exercises suggested. This will take time – many hours – but it is worth the effort. Anyone involved in mentoring will find a wealth of helpful material here, and some fantastic questions that will open up life-changing conversation.
Louis V. Gerstner, Jr, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? – Leading a Great Enterprise Through Dramatic Change. (Harper Business, 2002)
This is the IBM recovery story. Gerstner brought IBM from the brink of insolvency to leadership again in the computer industry. The insights into management and leadership are applicable in any situation. Gerstner reveals the lessons of a lifetime of running successful organisations. It is a book about alignment, changing culture and recovery. “I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game – it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.” In this book the DNA question is dealt with fully and practically. It makes good reading and contains truths and principles that can apply in the social sector.
Steven B. Sample, The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership. (Jossey-Bass, 2002)
This book takes you out of the box where it comes to working through issues and planning future action. Sample is an original thinker who uses atypical processes towards great accomplishments. The book is enjoyable as well as full of great ways to exercise leadership. It is not a how-to book. In fact Sample is not about cloning leaders from previous days. He sees leadership as very situational and contingent; the leader who succeeds in one context at one point in time won’t necessarily succeed in a different context at the same time or in the same context at a different time. He says that of all the different kinds of human capital, leadership may well be the most rare and precious. There is no infallible step-by-step formula for becoming an effective leader. But leadership can be taught and learned. To be effective one must break free from conventional wisdom, so as to bring one’s natural creativity and intellectual independence to the fore. It is a provocative book that is worth reading.
Noel M. Tichy, The Leadership Engine: How Winning Companies Build Leaders at Every Level. (Harper Business Essentials, 1997, 2002)
Tichy claims that winning organisations possess a “leadership engine” – a proven system for creating dynamic leaders at every level. Leaders only really lead as they create other leaders – they have a teachable point of view and create a genetic code of leaders developing leaders. The essence of winning leadership is building into the future by developing the abilities of others. Leadership is the key determinant of success - energised visionary leaders who can make things happen. An organisation really hums when leaders at every level teach others to lead. They also take deliberate action to generate energy and to channel it to productive uses. The personal exercises in the handbook section of the book are worthwhile.
Robert Lewis & Wayne Cordeiro with Warren Bird, Culture Shift: Transforming Your Church From the Inside Out. (Jossey-Bass, 2005)
The book leads through the process of identifying your church’s distinctive culture, gives practical tools to change it from the inside-out, and provides steps to keep the new culture aligned with the church’s mission. Real transformation is not about working harder at what you are already doing, or even copying another church’s approach, but about changing church culture at a foundational level. New and healthy habits can be established but it takes time, wisdom and energy. It is changing the default. Change happens as leaders put their heart and soul into it, modelling the agreed upon values. The book is enhanced in its effectiveness as the reader engages in the exercises that are included.
Steven R. Covey, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness. (Free Press, 2004)
Covey urges you to find your voice and to inspire others to find theirs. In a very helpful way he blends the four intelligences – IQ, EQ, PQ and SQ. Importantly he places the spiritual at the centre, because our values and our desire for connectedness with something greater than our egos enable the development of character and high principles. This applies to the individual and to organisations. His section on the “third alternative” leads one to pursue win-win resolutions. He argues that communication is without question the most important skill in life. The steps to finding the third alternative are particularly helpful. Be sure to purchase a hard cover – then you get the DVD of 16 little films you are invited to see as you read the book. If you get the paper back edition you can download the films or order the DVD online. This book is not one you skim. In fact Covey recommends you read a chapter a month, applying what you read as you go. Then you can work at developing healthy habits.
Jim Collins, Good To Great and the Social Sectors: Why Business Thinking is Not The Answer - A Monograph to Accompany Good To Great. (Jim Collins, 2005)
Collins states that the social sector (volunteer organisations) should not become more like a business because when you compare great companies with good ones, many widely practised business norms turn out to correlate with mediocrity, not greatness. Given the social sector is not out to make a profit, it is essential to establish new criteria for what is deemed to be great. This can be both quantitative and qualitative. Leadership is different as well. There is less of a hierarchy. In a flatter system a leader’s ongoing influence, character and integrity have a large part to play. Motivating volunteers is very different from expecting performance from paid employees. This 35 page booklet is an essential companion to the best seller Good To Great by the same author.
Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman, First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers do Differently. (Simon & Schuster, 1999)
The introduction to this Gallup study sums up the thesis of the book: “The greatest managers in the world do not have much in common. They are of different sexes, races, and ages. They employ vastly different styles and focus on different goals. But despite their differences, these great managers do share one thing in common: before they do anything else, they first break all the rules of conventional wisdom. They do not believe that a person can achieve anything he sets his mind to. They do not try to help a person overcome his weaknesses. They consistently disregard the Golden Rule. And, yes, they even play favourites.” The book is worth reading for its wisdom in leadership. Not least valuable are the twelve questions that Gallup identifies as those that measure the strength of a workplace. These have been developed further in 12: The Elements of Great Managing.
Daniel Goleman, Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human relationships. (Hutchinson, 2006)
Just a few years ago Goleman introduced his research findings in his books on Emotional Intelligence. This led into knowing that IQ is but one part of how we function. In Social Intelligence, Goleman explores how daily encounters shape our brains and affect cells throughout our bodies. The book deals with charisma and emotional power, the complexity of sexual attraction, and how we detect lies. He concludes that humans actually have a built-in bias toward empathy, cooperation and altruism – provided we develop the social intelligence to nurture these capacities in ourselves and others.
Dale Galloway (ed), Leading in Times of Change. (Beacon Hill Press, 2001)
Reading a book on how to effect positive change is always worthwhile. Contributors such as John Maxwell, Elmer Towns, Mike Breaux and Gene Appel give down-to-earth wisdom on how to bring about change that helps a church change the world. We cannot expect different results if we keep doing the same things. The contributors to this book have been effective in producing change in a wide variety of different settings. This easy-to-read collection will introduce some change principles and reinforce others. It is free of padding and contains much wisdom.
James D. Berkley (ed), Leadership Handbook of Management and Administration. (Christianity Today & Baker Books, 1994)
This is no doubt the most comprehensive book on how a pastor can lead a church. It deals with personal management, ministry transitions, enabling leadership, staff supervision, management, and finances. A variety of experienced leaders contribute to the sections. If there was one text book for a course on leadership this volume would be the place to start. It is a reference book a pastor can refer to time and again. It is easily read, and can be studied over a long time, reading a small section at a sitting and pondering its application.
Leonard Sweet, Summoned to Lead. (Zondervan, 2004)
This is a refreshing book. It inspires hope in those who aren’t born leaders and it challenges existing leaders to explore new possibilities. He speaks of vision as not something you see but something you hear if your ears are open; and this vision could summon you at any time. When you respond, the puzzle pieces of who you are will fit together into a leader others will follow because you have answered a call, not necessarily trained for a position. This quote alone may prompt reading of the book, “To put it bluntly: the whole leadership thing is a demented concept. Leaders are neither born nor made. Leaders are summoned. They are called into existence by circumstance. Those who rise to the occasion are leaders.”
Max De Pree, Leadership Is An Art. (Currency – Doubleday, 2004)
This is an older book that has many printings. It was first published in 1987. It is a small and very readable book that is packed with wisdom and encouragement. It is very values-based and contains tremendous guidance for anyone involved in mentoring. The writer is particularly strong on integrity, developing and nurturing relationships, and community building. He not only emphasises reaching goals but the importance of reaching potential. This is a good book to read for someone starting out in leadership. It could be recommended to the person who has leadership potential but claims they are not a reader.
Jack Collis & Michael Leboeuf, Work Smarter Not Harder. (Harper Business, 1995)
This book has had many printings, and has been revised and updated in the process. It is the manual for developing work patterns that bring fulfilment and effectiveness. The writers seek to enable the reader to unlock their real potential and increase the chances of achieving their important goals. It entails disciplined thinking so that we are actually investing time and energy in the right things. This is time management at its best. The book deals with topics such as perseverance, discipline, clear goals, delegation, communication and dealing with interruptions. It takes time to read but it is worth it.
Graham Hubbard et al, The First Eleven: Winning Organisations in Australia. (John Wiley and Sons Australia, 2002)
This book summarises the research of the Mt Eliza Business School as they sought to answer the question: Who are the best organisations over the long term in Australia and what are their practices? The research is based on the Built to Last methodology but also takes into account the unique aspects of the Australian business and social environment. Based on an analysis of organisations that have existed for at least 20 years, it seeks timeless principles rather than the hype related to fads and fashions. Both not-for profit and business organisations are studied. It is not about easy fixes. The ideas are complex and they take time to develop, to implement and to realise. Organisations studied include Brambles, Harvey Norman, Macquarie Bank, Qantas, The Salvation Army, Telstra and Woolworths. The findings from the study are given in a clear coherent framework consisting of the nine core elements Australian organisations need to win.
Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership. (Zondervan, 2002)
Hybels is recognised as one of the great church leaders of our time. This book is essential reading for anyone who seeks to lead well. Hybels unpacks the tools, tasks and challenges of the call to lead a congregation to reach its potential. Irrepressibly he holds up the power of vision and the need to develop a great team. He urges leaders to discover and develop their own leadership style, to develop other leaders, to embrace change, to stay their course and to continue walking with God. Underlying it all is Hybel’s clear call in ministry – to raise up churches that are effective in evangelism and to make disciples of Jesus Christ. All leadership serves that kingdom of God purpose.
Alan Roxburg & Fred Romanuk, The Missional Leader: Equipping your Church to Reach a Changing World. (Jossey-Bass 2006)
Missional churches are not about a particular program or isolated projects. At the very heart of a missional church is a gathering of people who are concerned with the bigger purpose of bringing God’s word into the larger community outside their walls. The authors give a clear model for leading the change necessary to create and foster a missional church focussed outward to spread the message of the gospel to the surrounding community. The book emphasises principles rather than institutional forms, shows how to move away from “church as usual” and demonstrates what capacities, environments and mindsets are required to lead a missional church. There are two sections in the book: 1. The Context and Challenge of Missional Leadership and 2. The Missional Leader.
Andy Stanley & Lane Jones, Communicating for a Change. (Multnomah Publishers, 2006)
Stanley and Jones offer a unique strategy for communicators to deliver captivating and practical messages. The authors unpack seven imperatives that will empower you to engage and impact your audience in a way that leaves them wanting more. The first part of the book gets you thinking about and evaluating your current preaching style and method. The second section deals with the seven imperatives in detail: determine your goal, pick a point, create a map, internalise the message, engage your audience, find your voice, and start all over. Given that preaching is the number one ministry task, this book is refreshing and extremely helpful.
Dave Allen, How to Get Things Done. (Penguin Books, 2001/2002)
This is a very helpful and practical book on managing your personal work flow. It offers powerful and practical strategies for vastly increasing your organising, your efficiency and your creativity – in work and in life generally. It shows how to cut through the clutter in your mind, on your desk and on your PC to get a lot more done with a lot less effort. It is about being organised and staying organised, about prioritising work and even feeling good about what you are not doing. Following the principles in this book you can transform the way you work and the way you experience work.
Gordon MacDonald, A Resilient Life. (Thomas Nelson, 2004)
“In the great race of life, there are some Christ-followers who stand out from all the rest. I call them the resilient ones. The further they run, the stronger they get. They seem to possess these spiritual qualities:
- They are committed to finishing strong.
- They run inspired by a big-picture view of life.
- They run free of the weight of the past.
- They run confidently, trained to go the distance.
- They run in the company of a “happy few.”
MacDonald begins with these words and, using the example of his school athletics coach, he tells how he learnt the principles and habits of self-discipline that led to finishing well. The author tells much of his own struggles and victories in a candid and transparent way that inspires the reader.
John Maxwell, The 360o Leader: Developing Your Influence From Anywhere In The Organization. (Nelson Business, 2005)
Not all leadership begins and ends with the person at the top. Maxwell claims that 99 percent of all leadership occurs not from the top but from the middle. It is learning to develop your influence from wherever you are in the organization. It comes from leading up, leading across, and leading down. It is influencing others in every direction. This book debunks myths that hold people back and prevent them from developing their leadership. He teaches the skills to become an effective 360o leader.
Michael Riddell, Threshold of the Future: Reforming the Church in the Post-Christian West. (SPCK. First published in Great Britain 1998, Third Impression 2002)
This is a handbook for the Christian journey into the Third Millennium. Surveying the church, scripture, holiness and salvation, it presents a way to escape lethargy, despair and the endless waiting around for revival to descend miraculously from above. In the process it finds radical answers to the question of how we can live with integrity as a believing, witnessing faith community and, in so doing, truly release the power of God. Riddell is a theologian, author and speaker based in New Zealand. His reflections grew out of ten years urban mission work in Central Auckland and his involvement in the alternative worship movement.
Gary Bouma, Australian Soul. (Cambridge University Press, 2006)
This is an insightful book that helps us understand what is happening in Australian society where it comes to matters of religion and faith, and the formation of social policy. His easy to read commentary style contains vital information for pastors and leaders as they live and serve in a wonderfully diverse society. Bouma cites research comparing a number of religions as well as differences in Christian congregations and denominations regarding the expectations of participants.
Carly Fiorina, Tough Choices: A Memoir. (Portfolio – Penguin Group, 2006)
Carly Fiorina is the former President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, 1999 to 2005. She was the first woman to be CEO of a Fortune 20 company. For five and a half years she led HP through major internal changes, the worst technology slump in decades, and the most controversial merger in high-tech history. Just as things were about to turn around, she was abruptly fired. In this book she speaks about her time at HP, and other aspects of her career and leadership. She reveals the private person behind the public persona, sharing her triumphs and failures, her deepest fears and most painful confrontations. Carly Fiorina was a presenter at the 2007 Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit.
Mark Driscoll, Confessions of a Reformission Rev: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church. (Zondervan, 2006)
Driscoll helps the reader to define who they and their church are. Theology and action determine our identity. In many ways he describes what 3Dnet congregations seek to be – emerging and missional in practice (innovative and engaging) and evangelical and biblical in theology. To put that another way, we live in the tension of being culturally liberal yet theologically conservative. In a very refreshing and down-to-earth style Driscoll tells the story of his church plant that struggled in the early days in a tough mission field yet grew to be in the thousands and still growing. Importantly he tells of his own growth and is honest about his mistakes. This is a must-read book that excites, encourages and teaches about being fruitful in the mission of God. Hopefully the reader will see beyond Driscoll’s somewhat fundamentalist understanding of the place of women and men in leadership and glean much from the principles and practices that really work.
David Augsburger, Dissident Discipleship: A Spirituality of Self-surrender, Love of God, and love of Neighbour. (Brazos Press, 2006)
Augsburger has an unusual ability to give content and understandable meaning to the inner essential meanings of our Christian vocabulary. As a pastoral counsellor and theologian, he depicts an Anabaptist tripolar concept of spiritual discipleship that relates to God, to others and to ourselves. Tripolar spirituality is inwardly directed, upwardly compliant and outwardly committed. All three are interdependent – no single one is fully valid apart from the other two. From this premise he develops his understandings of the practices of radical attachment, stubborn loyalty, tenacious serenity, habitual humility, resolute non-violence, concrete service, authentic witness and subversive spirituality. A leader in the contemporary, missional or emerging church will find this to be just the text to help develop character, integrity and authenticity.
Alan Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church. (Brazos Press, 2006)
Hirsch states the situation candidly: the problem we face is that while as a sociopolitical-cultural force Christendom is dead, and we now live in what has aptly been called the post-Christendom era, the church still operates in exactly the same mode. In terms of how we understand and do church, little has changed for seventeen centuries. Today, subcultures abound but the average church is reasonably effective only within its own subculture. Hirsch calls the church back to mission, and to rediscover a revolutionary missional ecclesiology. This is a key reference book for the emerging missional church. It is refreshing, with theological depth and creative thinking.
Gary L McIntosh & Samuel D Rima, Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: How to Become an Effective Leader by Confronting Potential Failures. (Baker Books, 1997, Revised 2007)
Since John Ortberg talked about our shadow mission at the 2007 Global Leadership Summit, there has been a renewed interest in how leaders need be fully aware of their frail areas and to take avoidance or remedial action. Too often good leaders have given in to compromise and have failed morally. This book addresses this alarming problem and offers Christian leaders valuable guidance in dealing with the inherent risks of their work. The authors assist the reader to understand, discover and redeem their dark side, even to learn how to harness its creative powers. This book is not as heavy as the title suggests. It is easily read as a good introduction to this area of concern.
Lee Ellis, Leading Talents, Leading Teams: Aligning People, Passions, and Positions for Maximum Performance. (Northfield Publishing, 2003)
All great leaders know the importance of building effective teams. In our ever-changing environment we need new ways of adapting and being able to make quick and wise decisions that are implemented with equal expediency and wisdom. Good organisations manage their most valuable asset very well – their people resources. Ellis upholds the absolute necessity of team work. He honestly appraises the positive and the negative sides of talents and traits and then tells how to build teams that capitalise on diversity to propel teams towards common goals. He also deals with a recurring leadership issue – when to control and when to let go. He was awakened to the value of teams through his experience as a POW in Vietnam and the vision of his ranking officer.
Chip Heath & Dan Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. (Random House, 2007)
In this book the authors tackle the vexing question of why some ideas thrive and others die. How do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? There are six key qualities or factors of an idea that is made to stick – simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotion and stories. How do we nurture our ideas so they succeed? Most of us struggle with how to communicate ideas effectively. Even good content in sermons is easily forgotten and lost unless we capture the heart and mind of our listeners. How can we improve our vision casting in the church? Why do we remember some twists in films but readily forget others? This is an excellent book for all leaders and communicators.
Thom S. Rainer, BreakoutChurches. (Zondervan, 2005)
This is the account of 13 churches and the leaders who moved them from stagnancy to growth and from mediocrity to greatness. The church research study was inspired by Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t. The authors identify the qualities of leaders of breakout churches. They address the phenomenon of mediocrity and examine the question of structures, both of which can cause stagnation and decline. Excellence not unexpectedly gets a mention as well as the elusive gift of momentum, one of a leader’s best friends. For experienced leaders there may be little new material in the book but the case studies serve as a reminder of some of the obvious factors a leader can overlook.
Robert E. Quin, Deep change: Discovering the Leader Within. (Jossey-Bass, 1996)
Fast, furious and constant change seems to beset us. How can we cope, let alone gain victory, in the battle to comprehend what is happening and act to fruitfully for our own health and that of the organisation we lead? Quinn shows a way through the maze - exploring the dynamic process of deep change and learning new ways of thinking and behaving. He demonstrates the crucial importance of deep change as the path to self-understanding and the key to revitalising the individual and the organisation. He argues that by finding our own moral core and beginning to see ourselves and our organisations in new and more productive ways, we can transform ourselves from victims to powerful agents of change. This is a book for leaders who know that they have to lead themselves before they can lead others.
Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner & Lane Jones, 7 practices of Effective Ministry. (Multnomah, 2004)
Most pastors want to plan well and to act strategically in ways that bring results for the church and the kingdom. In this very readable book (would you expect anything else from Stanley?) the authors don’t tell you what to do but help you to know what to ask. The book helps you to develop ways to gain a new perspective on your church – a new lens through which you evaluate current and planned activity. Ministry and church life can be very complex. It is associated with heaps of information and much emotion. Stanley claims that it is the seven practices in this book that enable leaders to find clarity and to make tough calls. The principles are a timely reminder to leaders to make sure they are on the right page and they are giving time and energy to the right things.
Dan Southerland, Transitioning: Leading your church through change. (Zondervan, 2000)
It is not change that does you in, it’s the transition required to bring you to a new place! Most people would not like to return to former days, they just struggle getting into the new day. Hence a book on transitioning is essential reading for all leaders. Southerland addresses how we can lead life-giving change without starting a bush fire. With a strong emphasis on vision he tells how to navigate change to bring outcomes that far exceed the risks. This book also contains a substantially detailed workbook section that helps the reader put principles into practice. It is really worth reading if only because, in a period of ten years, the author has helped transform a traditional church of 300 to a purpose-driven contemporary church of over 2,300 which has also launched 17 other churches.
Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan, with Charles Burck, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things done. (Random House Business Books, 2002)
We can be clever and have great ideas, but more important is how we can be truly effective. Does our organisation (church) have a culture of implementation and outcome? In strategic planning one of the most important yet neglected areas is the action plan and implementing it. In the church do we have a productivity culture – are we really serious about measuring effectiveness? This book is all about execution – not just management techniques. It is making sure you have or can get what is required to execute your strategic plan, including the right resources and the right people. Execution doesn’t just happen – fundamental building blocks need to be in place. The bottom line is that the best thought-out plans in the world aren’t worth the paper they are written on if you can’t implement action that gets desired outcomes!
Kevin Harney, Leadership From The Inside Out: Examining the Inner Life of a Healthy Church Leader. (Zondervan, 2007)
Really good leaders know how to lead themselves. They engage in thoughts and practices that grow their integrity and their character. They live an examined and accountable life – they decide to humbly and consistently examine their inner lives and identify areas of needed change and growth. They listen to the voices of those who love them enough to speak the truth and point out problems and potential pitfalls. This book is written by a practitioner in ministry who has served for over three decades. There are plenty of illustrations and ideas about how to keep growing within so we can grow a healthy church. A fruitful ministry on the outside emerges from transformation on the inside.
Hugh Mackay, Advance Australia Where? How we’ve changed, why we’ve changed and what will happen next. (Hachette, 2007)
Whenever I read something by Hugh Mackay I am truly impressed by his ability to interpret the times and write about them so clearly and incisively. This book is no exception. He takes the reader beyond data to the attitudes that create culture in our time of ever increasing rapid change. He addresses topics such as the gender revolution, changes at work, the huge influence of IT, identity and diversity, marriage and partnership, the falling birth rate and having children later, and issues that need to be discussed seriously. While we enjoy unprecedented prosperity, we still suffer from anxiety and depression, have record debt, and yearn for deeper meaning. While many Australians complain they feel powerless and isolated, Mackay observes some encouraging signs indicating that we may cope okay with the revolutionary changes around us.
Kerry Patterson, et al, Influencer: The Power to Change Anything. (McGraw-Hill, 2008)
Many people give up trying to change things because it seems too difficult, if not impossible. The best we can do is merely cope. This book says otherwise as it draws upon insights from behavioural scientists and business leaders with motivating stories from influencers from many walks of life. The book teaches strategies for making positive change in your personal life, your work and your world. It helps to identify a few high-leverage behaviours that lead to rapid and profound change, in both thoughts and actions. In a practical way the authors then show how to harness six particular sources of influence to make change inevitable. This is key reading for leaders.
Books by Aubrey Malphurs
Aubrey Malphurs,Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders. (Baker Books, 1999)
Aubrey Malphurs,Developing A vision For Ministry in the 21st Century. (Baker Books, 1999)
Aubrey Malphurs,The Dynamics of Church Leadership. (Baker Books, 1999)
Aubrey Malphurs,Values-Driven Leadership: Discovering and Developing Your Core Values for Ministry. (Baker Books, 1996, 2004)
Aubrey Malphurs,Being Leaders: The Nature of Authentic Christian Leadership. (Baker books, 2003)
Aubrey Malphurs & Will Mancini,Building Leaders: Blueprints for Developing Leadership at Every Level of Your Church. (Baker Books, 2004)
I find Malphur’s writing to be clear, inspiring and very applicable. His book on Strategic Planning is one of the best on this topic I have read. I have simply listed his books and will let you choose!
Ian Jagelman, Re-engineering the Church: New Models of Governance, Leadership Teams and Succession Planning. (The Jagelman Institute, 2007)
Jagelman writes from the perspective of the Australian Church. He led a church from its beginning and through many changes as it grew. After twenty years he then oversaw the transition of passing on the senior leadership to another. This book considers necessary organisational design, and the relative roles of the governing body and staff. It gives guidance on how to build a senior leadership team and to develop an effective management structure. The section on transition is very practical in keeping with the general approach of the book. The extensive appendices document models, procedures and helpful systems that are practical and easy to follow examples.
I recommend two other books by Ian Jagelman. The Empowered Church: Releasing Ministry through Effective Leadership. (Open Book, 1998), defines the difference between leadership and (hands on) ministry, looks at team building and appropriate structures. The ‘L’ Factor (Previously published as Identifying and Developing Christian Leaders) outlines the qualities that identify leaders. It is also renowned for the model of five levels of leadership complexity and how these levels provide a context in which leaders can be developed. In summary, the levels are hands on doing, supervision, systems development, strategic planning and big picture thinking.
Tim Keel, Intuitive Leadership: Embracing a Paradigm of Narrative, Metaphor and Chaos. (Baker books, 2007)
This is written from the emerging church perspective. It is a theologically grounded, thoughtful and practical exploration of how intuitive leadership can help a congregation respond to contemporary opportunities and challenges. It addresses ways of leading that embrace intuition, creativity, narrative and the tension and chaos of our time. It places the core of leadership in imagination and in our stories. In rediscovering the power of story, making sense of it, and engaging with our current context we can discover new understandings and new postures for life and ministry.
Ken Blanchard & Phil Hodges, Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time. (Thomas Nelson, 2005)
The chapters of this book indicate the scope. They deal with the heart, head, hands and habits of a servant leader. The authors dig deep into scripture and unearth much leadership wisdom. It confronts us squarely with the leadership model of Jesus – both inspiring and profoundly challenging. It involves surrendering our life and leadership to Jesus Christ.
Bill Easum, A Second Resurrection: Leading Your Congregation to New life. (Abingdon, 2007)
When a congregation is spiritually dead, resurrection is the only hope! This book addresses how do work with churches that have lost their sense of mission and are internally focussed, ministering only to the needs of their members. Easum tells it like it is with an honest reality check. He gives tools for diagnosis of the spiritual health of a church. Then he addresses what must happen in the leader, the key agent God wants to use to help turn the church around. This book has no padding. It is only 126 pages of Easum at his best; candid, practical and challenging.
Barbara Kellerman, Bad Leadership: What it is, How it happens, Why it matters. (Harvard Business School Press, 2004)
The introduction begins, “This book is about the dark side of the human condition. It paints leadership in shades of grey – and in black.” Using contemporary examples of fallen leaders in business and politics, it describes and illustrates how people can exercise power, authority and influence in ways that do harm. They can do so individually and collectively. Kellerman contends that bad leadership is not an aberration, but a ubiquitous and insidious part of everyday life that must be carefully examined and better understood. She identifies two fundamental categories of bad leadership – ineffective and unethical – and highlights the seven types of bad leadership that are the most prevalent: incompetent, rigid, intemperate, callous, corrupt, insular and evil. It is a very honest book that challenges us to constantly check our motives, methods, ethics and actions.
Andy Stanley, Visioneering. (Multnomah, 1999)
I have had this book for some time but only now am adding it to the list, prompted by many conversations with pastors who struggle with the task of discovering and casting vision. Visioneering is the engineering of a vision – the process of developing and maintaining vision. Vision is the clear mental picture of what could be; fuelled by the conviction that it should be. If we want our lives to count then we will have a clear vision, possibly multifaceted, plus the courage to follow through on that vision. Vision weaves four things into our daily lives – passion, motivation, direction and purpose. The book deals with topics such as how visions are born, making vision public, the power of vision, the cost of vision, warding off criticism, aligning a team around vision, and maintaining your course. It is one of the best books on vision and is well worth reading.
Mark Gerzon, Leading through Conflict: How Successful Leaders Transform Differences into Opportunities. (Harvard Business School, 2006)
How does a leader pull people together and work through inevitable conflict in ways that enable forward movement? This book explains eight effective tools that leaders can use to transform seemingly intractable differences into progress. They are integral vision, systems thinking, presence (using mental, emotional and spiritual diagnostic resources), inquiry, conscious communication, dialogue, bridging and innovation. There are plenty of examples to illustrate the methods. The appendix is very helpful in providing practical guidelines to work through conflict crises. The fifteen suggested principles, with a few paragraphs on each, could make the difference between ongoing or seemingly insolvable differences and conflict resolution and transformation.
James M. Kouses & Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge (Fourth Edition, Jossey-Bass, 2007)
This book is a leader’s best friend. The preface states, “The Leadership Challenge is about how leaders mobilise others to want to get extraordinary things done in organisations. It’s about the practices leaders use to transform values into action, vision into realities, obstacles into innovations, separateness into solidarity, and risks into rewards. It’s about leadership that creates the climate in which people turn challenging opportunities into remarkable success.” The book is very comprehensive and explains powerful principles and shares practical wisdom that help make us really effective leaders and better people. It really is a true classic on leadership, the essential text for a leader wanting to lead in a way that really makes a difference.
Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation (Random House Business Books, Updated 2006)
Senge believes that the prevailing system of management is, at its core, dedicated to mediocrity. It forces people to work harder and harder to compensate for failing to tap the spirit and collective intelligence that characterises people working together at their best. The book helps an organisation understand principles that make it thrive by enabling its people to create the results they truly desire, where collective aspiration is released and where people are continually learning together. Senge draws on science, spiritual values, psychology and superior management understandings to help the reader radically think through how they operate and what paradigm shifts will make a huge difference in their leadership.
Noel M. Tichy & Warren G. Bennis, Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls (Portfolio, 2006)
In the face of ambiguity, uncertainty, rapid change and conflicting demands, the quality of a leader’s judgments has a profound effect on the entire organisation. But how does judgment differ from common sense or gut instinct? Is there a process for consistently making good decisions? The book provides a framework for making tough calls when the stakes seem high and the right path is not obvious. Particularly helpful is the section on sensing the need for a judgment, then recognising a critical moment before a judgment call. These two well known authors are candidly honest about organisations that make bad and good judgments. Though I know little about the companies they use as examples, I found the book arresting and extremely helpful in knowing when swift, decisive action is necessary and also in dealing with the crucial question of succession planning. Moreover, there is a very helpful and practical 90 page Handbook for Leadership Judgment at the back of the book.
Peter Brain, Going the Distance: How to Stay Fit for a Lifetime of Ministry (Mathias Media, 2006)
How do we manage expectations in ministry with keeping balance, health and fulfilling relationships? These are some of the matters that Peter Brain addresses. Too many pastors suffer burnout, mental breakdown or serious illness related to the demands of ministry. Others actually leave ministry for a variety of reasons. This book, written by an Australian Anglican pastor (now a bishop) gives practical principles for getting and staying comprehensively fit for the long haul. In many ways we know what we need to do but we need a timely reminder to apply practices that keep us in the game.
Bill George with Peter Sims, True North: Discover your Authentic Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2007)
The introduction states, “True North is the internal compass that guides you successfully through life. It represents who you are as a human being at your deepest level…Just as a compass points toward a magnetic pole, your True North pulls you toward the purpose of your leadership. When you follow your internal compass your leadership will be authentic, and people will naturally want to associate with you.” Authentic leaders consistently say they find their motivation through understanding their own stories. This book draws on research and interviews with 125 top leaders. It presents a comprehensive program for leadership success and shows how to create one’s own personal leadership development plan based on integrating your true self, your values and leadership principles into working with and empowering others.
Graham Winter, Think one Team: An inspiring fable and practical guide for managers, employees and jelly bean lovers (Jossey-Bass, 2008)
This writer helps an organisation think as one. We are familiar with the idea of silos where parts of the whole operate separately from the other parts, often creating unhealthy competition, unnecessary duplication and limited fruitfulness. The book intends to help leaders create a culture where everyone is involved in sustainable teamwork across boundaries and experiencing the rewards of working as one team. It does not remove personal initiative and innovation but allows for the building of effective and enduring partnerships to make an organisation more successful. This is a pithy 148 page book written by a psychologist and business consultant from Adelaide, South Australia.
John MacArthur, The Book on Leadership (Thomas Nelson, 2004)
Many books on leadership are written from a corporate or commercial world perspective even though they have application to the church. However, The Book on Leadership intentionally takes us into the life and leadership of Paul the Apostle and presents 26 characteristics of a true leader. It would be helpful as a resource for introducing and teaching leadership principles in a church. The spiritual dimension of leadership is given prominence as is the understanding that leadership is influence – appealing through one’s life and character to the hearts and inner motivations of others.
Craig Groeschel, It: How churches and Leaders can get it and keep it (Zondervan, 2008)
What is it that makes a church attractive - that draws people to it and to want to be involved in it? This little book addresses the culture and momentum question in a very entertaining and enlightening way. What is “it” anyway? Groeshel struggles to define it but he knows when a church has it and when it doesn’t. He acknowledges that it comes from God and when you have it things fall into place, ideas work and creativity flows. Part two of the book explains what contributes to it, recognising the place of vision, focus (doing a few things well), enjoyment, innovation, risk, outward perspective and willingness to share as part of God’s bigger plan. The author is the founding and senior pastor of a pace-setting multi-campus church with dozens of weekly worship experiences in 13 different locations, including an internet campus.
Seth Godin, Tribes: We need You to Lead Us (Portfolio, 2008)
A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, to a leader and to an idea. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. You can’t have a tribe without a leader and you can’t be a leader without a tribe. People have always been part of a tribe – religious, ethnic, political, interest groups, etc. But the internet has opened it up. Facebook, for example, has created tribes across the globe. Existing tribes get bigger and new tribes are being born. This phenomenon provides unique opportunities for leaders and many are taking advantage of it. The book makes one really ponder about the opportunities for leading others. Seth Godin is a best selling author whose writings have influenced millions. This 150 page book is no exception.
Bill Hybels, Axiom: Powerful Leadership Proverbs (Zondervan, 2008)
In this book Bill Hybels writes short chapters about the leadership principles and convictions that have guided him over 30 plus years at Willow Creek. He provides 76 axioms gathered into three categories: Vision and Strategy, Teamwork and Communication, Activity and Assessment, and Personal Integrity. It is easily read and can be used, for example, with a staff team, with volunteers or even as a small group study. Hybels is naturally transparent and relational as he shares his wisdom. This would be a great book to use with a new leadership team where culture is being developed and values are being established.
Wayne Cordeiro, Leading on Empty: Refilling your Tank and Renewing your Passion (Bethany House, 2009)
Cordeiro writes from his own three year experience of burnout and recovery. It is not a systematic text book on how to remain resilient in the pressure cooker of ministry leadership. It is rather a very honest account of the reality of running too hard and what one needs to do to finish well and to maintain life balance amongst all the demands and self imposed standards. The chapter on early warning signs provides a simple diagnostic tool for those who think it could never happen to them!
Stewart D. Friedman, Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life (Harvard Business, 2008)
This book views leadership not just from the actual work perspective but from who we are in totality. Friedman shows how the various components of life do not need to be in competition. It comes down to core values; how we identify them and make them work for us in every area of life. The book provides a framework to be real, whole and innovative – in other words, to act at all times with authenticity, integrity and creativity.
Milfred Minatrea, Shaped by God’s Heart: The Passion and Practices of Missional Churches (Jossey-Bass, 2004) (From the Leadership Network series)
Success is not defined by much activity but whether a church’s activities accomplish God’s mission. This book helps a church move beyond survival and maintenance to become missionally thriving. It provides a tool to assess where a church sits between maintenance and mission. In the bulk of the book Minatrea describes nine essential practices of missional churches and, in a latter section gives very helpful insight into missional structures and strategies.
Patrick Lencioni, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (and Their Employees) (Jossey-Bass, 2007)
This book addresses the problem of misery at work. In Lencioni style we connect with a large as life fable that illustrates what we all know – not all jobs are joyful and energising. The writer provides help with identifying causes of job misery and then gives clues to making work more satisfying and productive. It is particularly helpful for the leader or manager who wants to provide a work culture where people and the organisation thrive.
Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success (Little Brown, 2008)
Outliers are people who do things out of the ordinary. This book asks what separates the very best from others. Gladwell argues that the story of success is complex, far more complex than applying a simple formula. The lives of people whose achievements are exceptional follow a peculiar and unexpected logic and the author presents a fascinating and provocative blueprint for making the most of human potential.
Dave Gibbons, The Monkey and the Fish: Liquid Leadership for a Third-Culture Church (Zondervan, 2009)
Our world changes so quickly that we find it hard to keep up let alone understand it. In this context the church struggles to be relevant. Gone are set patterns, well tried and true. Today’s leaders are flexible and adaptive. It is as if we were raised in one culture but now find we are in a very different situation. To be third culture is to be like a child who is immersed in a foreign culture because of their parents’ work. They are still working out their indigenous culture while having to come to terms with the new culture their parents have plunged them into. This gives them advantages in relating to various cultures. Gibbons sees the true church as third culture and writes a fascinating and helpful book to assist the church in coming to terms with it.
Chip Heath & Dan Heath, Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard (Broadway books, 2010)
People readily accept some changes, like becoming a parent, while they resist others. What is the difference? The authors argue that successful changes share a common pattern that can be used to make the changes that matter both personally and organisationally. They write with the narrative style and conviction we have come to expect of these brothers. Plenty of stories are included to make the book even more interestingly helpful as they tap into both rational and emotional motivation.
Susan Scott, Fierce Leadership: A Bold Alternative to the Worst “Best” Practices of Business Today (Broadway, 2009)
Susan Scott gets you thinking way outside the box. She asks you to develop a perspective that sees what others don’t see. For example she argues that fierce feedback is best. Don’t have anonymous appraisal processes but give feedback candidly and honestly. As in ‘Fierce Conversations’ she believes that every culture is shaped by our daily practices and that conversation is the most powerful practice of all. Fierce leadership is a state of mind. It is not merely doing certain things. Fierce leadership itself is a practice that is woven through who the leader is and what they do. For mentors the book is replete with excellent questions that we might wish we had thought up!
Ken Blanchard, Leading at a Higher Level (Revised and Expanded Edition) (FT Press, 2010)
I couldn’t put this book down! Every page contains great leadership wisdom from Blanchard and other effective leaders. It is like a textbook on leadership, covering major themes and challenges that a leader faces daily. The chapters cover vision, empowerment, situational leadership, self-leadership, partnering, coaching, team leadership, leading change, culture transformation and developing a leadership point of view.
George Barna with Bill Dallas, Master Leaders: Revealing Conversations with 30 Leadership Greats (Barna Books, 2009)
The book is the result of interviews with 30 fruitful leaders from church and business. Barna creatively writes as if they are all gathered together for a major leadership conference and he has the enviable task of speaking with them backstage. The dialogue style adds interest as the reader is reminded of key leadership principles that are core to leading successfully. It could well become a general text book for the person wanting to get a good grasp of what leadership is all about.
Brian Tracy, How the Best Leaders Lead: Proven Secrets to Getting the Most out of Yourself and Others (AMACOM, 2010)
This book is no frills. It takes us to foolproof ways to lead others to be their best with outstanding results in challenging times. It is a matter of keeping it simple. Tracy gives seven fundamental responsibilities that outstanding leaders master: setting and achieving goals, fostering innovation, problem solving and decision making, setting priorities, setting high standards and leading by example, inspiring and motivating others, and performing and achieving results. This is another leadership text book that deals very effectively with the main themes and responsibilities of leadership. It is written for the business world but is applicable in the volunteer sector.
John Baldoni, How Great Leaders Get Great Results (McGraw-Hill, 2006)
Great leaders create a strong results-driven organisation by drawing people together, gaining trust, increasing enthusiasm and motivating them around aspirational goals. Baldoni profiles several results-oriented leaders and identifies proven leadership factors: vision, alignment, execution, risk, discipline, courage and results. The book is full of very helpful practical ways of influencing and empowering others.
Chris Lauer (ed), The Management Gurus: The Lessons from the Best management Books of all time (Atlantic Books 2009)
Chris Lauer is a senior editor at Soundview Executive Book Summaries. This book offers fifteen summaries on leadership, management and change. Some of the books in this reading list are included. In the 277 pages one can digest the best principles and processes of some top leaders and management gurus.
Gil Rendle and Alice Mann, Holy Conversations: Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice for Congregations (The Alban Institute, 2003)
This practical book helps leaders work through the nitty gritty of strategic planning, an essential exercise if churches are to flourish in modern society. The focus is on the congregation discovering who they are and what action they believe is important. It is a discerning dialogue in which people share story, memory and hope. The conversation itself is transformational with outcomes that can motivate people in mission. It is a handbook full of helpful guidelines in effective planning.
John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber, Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions (Macmillan, 2006)
This book tells a delightful fable from which the reader can discern clever methods to determine a better future. It also has a summary of Kotter’s research on successful change, a few pages that are worth pinning on your wall if you want to be a productive agent of change.
John P. Kotter, Leading Change (Harvard Business Review Press, 1996)
Kotter identifies the causes of failure and then gives an eight stage process for effective change. Although written a decade and a half ago this book has been used consistently by leaders because it provides a framework and methodology for dealing with substantial change – helping to eliminate inefficiencies, creating growth, improving quality and placing personnel in the right place. It not only deals with systems but addresses the crucial aspect of right behaviour.
Aubrey C. Daniels, Bringing Out the Best in People: How to Apply the Astonishing Power of Positive Reinforcement (McGraw-Hill, 2000, reprinted 2003)
This book takes a scientific approach to leading people and organisations. Hunches and intuition can help but there are also fundamentals that are too easily overlooked. The book uses the scientific approach of Behaviour Analysis based on over 80 years of research into human behaviour. Performance Management applies the scientific findings to create the environment and conditions that bring the best performance. Daniels argues that the one thing leaders need to know the most about is human behaviour. In other words it is not enough to know that something works; it is vitally important to know why it works! Then the leader can effectively reinforce people and provide feedback and measures that truly improve performance.
Hyrum W Smith, The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management: Proven Strategies for Increasing Productivity and Inner Peace (Warner Books, 1994)
Effective time management is at the heart of fruitful leadership. The ten laws in the book are priceless, going way beyond simply managing time to meet demands. The writer addresses the importance of one’s driving values, determining and organising priorities, accomplishing daily tasks and attaining long-term major goals. We gain life control by controlling our time, and we become more effective through increased focus and real congruence between beliefs and behaviour.
Jim Collins, How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In (Random House Business Books, 2009)
Irrespective of its supposed greatness, every institution is vulnerable to decline. The many expressions of the church, a number come and gone, are evidence of that. Collins addresses the reasons for decline, and how it can be detected early and avoided. Is there a threshold of no return and can the direction of decline be reversed? Written specifically about businesses the book has very helpful principles that apply to the church. Decline is largely self-inflicted and the path to recovery is predominantly in our own hands.
Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese (Vermilion, 2001)
The book is a parable about factors of change. It helps us discover ways to deal with change so we can enjoy more “success” and less stress in life and work. The delightful story helps people to discuss risk on a lighter note and to approach change confidently. The book of just over 90 pages can be read quickly but the principles it espouses will be ponded and applied for a lifetime by the discerning and fruitful leader.
Ken Blanchard, The Heart of a Leader: Insights on the Art of influence (Honor Books, 1999)
There are one-liners or sayings that are timeless and memorable. This little book lists many of them with a simple page of application for each. It is a book that can be picked up at any time as a reminder of what leaders ought to be doing and how they should be behaving. It would be especially helpful for someone who finds it hard to get into a more detailed text. Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson (above) are co-authors of the One Minute Manager, the book that has transformed the thinking and behaviour of thousands.
Ken Blanchard, Sheldon Bowles et al, High Five: The Magic of Working Together (Harper Collins Business, 2001)
We achieve more in teams and this book illustrates it convincingly. It is another brief story by Blanchard and collaborators that is replete with principles of leadership and the incomparable value of working in synergy with others to accomplish great things. It brings to life the adage that none of us is as smart as all of us.
James M. Kouses and Barry Z. Posner, Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others (Jossey-Bass, 2003)
People thrive when they are given recognition and encouragement. Yet not all leaders encourage their people or fail to do it well. This book helps leaders touch the heart through authentic caring. Such caring awakens motivation and purpose in people. Encouragement boosts performance, improves health and strengthens resolve. We gain enthusiasm and energy from others. The book investigates the art of encouragement and reveals the way exceptional leaders inspire extraordinary performance in others.
Jerry C. Wofford, Transforming Christian Leadership: 10 Exemplary Church Leaders (Baker Books, 1999)
This is a good starting book for a Christian leader. It is easy to read and contains excellent research and material that will help leaders be truly effective. It uses biblical material and research from churches and pastors who are making a difference. Wofford argues that a transformational style is essential, with emphasis upon the model provided by Jesus.
Stephen M. R. Covey with Rebecca R. Merrill, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything (Free Press, 2006)
Christian leaders know that integrity and trust are essential for successful leadership. Covey illustrates this and unpacks what it means to create and live out a culture of accountability, trust, integrity, credibility and relevance. Such qualities change an organisation from within and exponentially grow its influence. This book is a must read for leaders seeking to improve their leadership and their work context.
Charles M. Olsen & Ellen Morseth, Selecting Church Leaders: A Practice in Spiritual Discernment (The Alban Institute, 2002)
Having to select people and recruit leaders is daunting. Not only do we wish to choose the best people for the task, we are also making decisions about other people’s futures. How do we creatively deal with the responsibility of being in the selector role? This book is about discernment and provides very helpful steps and principles to help leaders make wise and mature selection choices.
MaryKate Morse, Making Room for Leadership: Power, Space and Influence (IVP, 2008)
The writer helps us to appreciate who we are in relationship to others and the complex way in which we exercise power. She states that leadership is a physical and social process. It is thousands of little body postures, gestures, nuanced voices and intricate, intuitive engagements with others. The book prompts us to use our bodies, space and power in honourable and healthy ways that increase our leadership and truly release the energy and gifts of others.
Larry Osborne, Sticky Teams: Keeping Your Leadership Team and Staff on the Same Page (Zondervan, 2010)
Unity and alignment don’t happen by chance but are the outcome of intentional efforts to build a culture that honours unity, honesty and commitment. Teams bring greater results than solo performers but teams require constant attention from leaders. This very practical book exposes impediments to team work and shows what it takes to create and sustain healthy teams in all levels of the church.
Robert Banks & Bernice M. Ledbetter, Reviewing Leadership: A Christian Evaluation of Current Approaches (Baker Academic, 2004)
This well researched work provides an excellent overview and study of leadership, its development and current practice. It evaluates much of the current literature and emphases of contemporary writers and leadership practitioners. It also addresses biblical and historical leadership perspectives. This is the book for the person who wants a more academic text on leadership.
Glenn C. Daman, Developing Leaders for the Small Church: A Guide to Spiritual Formation for the Church Board (Kregel, 2009)
The writer desires to see transformation in how the Church Board or Leadership Council lives out its life and conducts its business. It is intended to change perspective from maintenance to mission, from mere organisational duties to true spiritual and visionary leadership. It is also written for the smaller church where at times resources appear meagre and everyone seems very busy.
Jimmy Long, The Leadership Jump: Building Partnership Between Existing and Emerging Christian Leaders (IVP, 2009)
How can the baton of senior pastor leadership be passed on with ease and effectiveness? How can existing leaders work well with the energy and fresh ideas of new leaders who may come from the next generation or more? This book is about bridging the cultural and generational gaps to provide the leadership that advances the mission of the church through effective and dynamic partnership. It helps us embrace leadership more as empowering others for a shared journey than merely directing them.
Tony Dungy, The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams that Win Consistently (Tyndale, 2010)
Intentional mentors will value this book. We maximise our impact through building into others. We change the world one person at a time. The influence we have on another in a mentoring relationship has an impact that lasts way beyond our lifetime. The author has successfully coached in the NFL. He helps us to improve our mentoring and to understand how such purposeful relationships are a key to bringing out the best in people. This book will inspire and assist any leader, coach and mentor.
Carson Pue, Mentoring Leaders: Wisdom for Developing Character, Calling and Competency (Baker Books, 2005)
Two common words in the church and business world today are leadership and mentoring. In this book the author helpfully unpacks both words and relates the interaction between them. He is intricately involved in the Arrow Leadership program that has transformed many Christian leaders, and he draws upon many principles that program uses. From self-awareness of the leader to acquiring vision and implementing it, from accountability to being sustained in leadership, the book is valuable for the leader who wants to step up to the next level.
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