I make a confession: I don’t like books on leadership. I’m not sure why, but I’ve never found the word “leadership” remotely interesting or evocative of what I do or what I think pastors do. So, when I hear that a church has a leadership conference, I roll my eyes. Perhaps it sounds too corporate or managed or technique-ish … yes, that’s it. Too much of what I hear sounds like techniques. As for my own, admittedly unformed, ideas, I see “leadership” as a “charism” or gift. And then something happened …
First, Ruth Tucker wrote a book on leadership, sent me the ms and asked
me to “blurb” it. I said something like this, “This is the first book
on leadership I’ve read and I like it because it deconstructs
leadership chat.” (Ruth’s book is not out yet.)
Second, Nancy Beach wrote a book on leadership (Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading As a Woman in the Church
) — Kris read it and
said, “You need to read this and blog about it.” I did but asked Alice
Shirey to blog about it. Which she did and did well.
Third, Nancy Ortberg writes a book on leadership and gives it a great
title: Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands: Lessons in Non-Linear Leadership
. Maybe it was because I’ve
always found some thrill in stretching a rubber band and shooting the
thing across the room — the sort of thing that makes for a good stunt
during mind-numbing faculty meetings.
Now I have to admit this: Nancy Ortberg’s book … I couldn’t put it
down. Read it from cover to cover. Great stories; wit on top of wit.
More importantly: wisdom. Down-home, experienced-shaped, honest to
goodness wisdom. Which is to say, this isn’t about techniques. It’s
about hard work, about relationships, about learning from doing, about
hope in action, and about team work.
Yes, three books about leadership by women. I’ll leave it to others,
those who know leadership books better, to tell us if women have
a unique angle on the questions. What I will say is that these are
three books by three leaders, three women leaders, and I like what they say.