Leading in Demanding Times, by Peter Shaw and Graham Shaw (Grove Leadership Series, L11) is both realistic and challenging. It aims to give leaders a framework for acting wisely, and it puts a lot of emphasis on standing back and reflecting on experience in order to grow in leadership capacity and resilience.
Drawing from the life and proverbs of Solomon, and the experience of contemporary leaders, the authors suggest that coping effectively requires:
- An attitude of mind that brings humility and a perspective about what is important
- A considered approach where you deal carefully with your own emotions, and draw on the wisdom of others around you
- Actions in which you are aware of the impact of your words, and make clear and considered decisions
- An awareness of the risks of power going to your head and being caught off guard
For me, the primary value of the booklet is that it offers practical ways of addressing each of these issues, and questions for personal reflection. It would make a good work book for groups of leaders on a training event or a retreat. Or you could use it as an agenda for personal reflection, in bite-sized chunks, over a period of many months.
The authors, a father and son, are a good writing partnership. Peter is an executive coach and Graham is a vicar, so there are perspectives from both inside and outside the church. I would recommend this book to any Christian in a position of leadership.