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Reviewing Leadership: A Christian Evaluation of Current Approaches
Banks, Robert and Bernice M. Ledbetter
Baker Academic, 2004
Reviewing Leadership sets out to review, analyze, and process the paradigms of secular and religious leadership from the Christian worldview. The authors accomplish this mission through the development of six chapters, each building up the previous. The construct of the book is--
Ch. 1 The Growing Interest in Leadership Today: Definitions, Causes, and Issues
Ch. 2 Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Perspectives on Leadership
Ch. 3 The Emerging Spiritual and Religious Dimensions of Leadership
Ch. 4 Popular and More Substantial Faith-based Approaches to Leadership
Ch. 5 Practicing Leadership through Integrity, Faithfulness, and Service
Ch. 6 Christian Leadership in Action: Some Exemplary Case Studies.
Banks and Ledbetter attack this reviewing, analyzing, and processing through six tiers--theological exploration, current writings, personal experiences, cultural analysis, and personal observations of exemplary role models-- that consistently stack upon a common foundation: "truth comes from God in a variety of ways and that all truth is God's truth" (p. 11).
The authors from the onset of the book suggest that leadership and the leader are based both upon objective and abstract values. It is futile to establish any sense of a system of leadership as one-and-only-one and any limited catch-all attributes of the leader; but, the authors, as well, make it clear that there is a base philosophical system and a base of attributes that should be core to "influencing and empowering...people to bring about change" (p. 17).
What the authors uniquely provide in Reviewing Leadership is unparalleled in all "influencing literature" familiar to the reviewer. Banks and Ledbetter extract the core of every leadership book presented in their book, giving an objective-as- possible- purview to the reader. The authors do not merely attack-and-extract, but carefully weigh the pros and cons of each unique paradigm. As well, the authors complete each section with an exemplary model of the paradigms and implications for application (whether the authors agree to the model or not).
As great as the first four chapters book are, the reviewer believes that the remaining two chapters would even be as valuable if standing alone. The authors complete their reviewing, analyzing, and processing by giving heed to their personal flavor of leadership as focused through the core attributes of Integrity, Faithfulness, and Service. Banks and Ledbetter finalize these cores attributes by describing several near impeccable examples of "Christian Leadership in Action."
The reviewer holds little in negative assessment to the book as a whole. The book was informative through its historical description of leadership and provides an intense survey of modern leadership, leaders, and culturally relevant literature. As much the book was informative, it was far greater spiritually inspiring and provided the reviewer with a rekindled and new-founded motivation and desire to move to a greater personal and communal hope. Though small in size, the material begins to uncompress as soon as the reader opens the preface and continues to expand even upon completion of the final chapter.
The reviewer was affected not merely on the concept of external leadership but received a harsh slap to the ego. The result is a deep tattooing of the core questions addressed by Max De Pree--What do I believe? What is my purpose in life? To what am I, as a leader, devoted? Who do I intend to be? What is the source of our humanity? What will I die for? If anyone is unable to at least ask the tough questions, one may be doomed to a reciprocal selfish and superficial existence.
Reviewing Leadership's affect transverses the cognitive, affective, and spiritual synapses--what one hopes will be for the reviewer's remaining temporal existence. This learned objective and affect of leadership is not for the "I", but for the "we."