Leading with a Limp

Get hold of Dan Allender‘s book, Leading with a Limp. It’s unlike most other books on leadership. Allender’s thesis right there on page 2 is “to the degree you face and name and deal with your failures as a leader, to that same extent you will create an environment conducive to growing and retaining productive and committed colleagues.”

Wait a minute… I thought leadership was about know-how, competence, expertise, control!

No, says Dan Allender. In this book he calls us as leaders to be willing to expose and dismantle our sins and shortcomings out in the open, where our colleagues and employees can see us for who we really are. Put another way, we leaders are supposed to be the chief repenters.

Allender spells out five challenges every leader faces: crisis, complexity, betrayal, loneliness, and weariness. He explains that there are both ineffective and effective responses to each of those challenges. Drawing from both personal experiences and Biblical stories, Allender calls on leaders to move into the chaos of each challenge with courage. But the kind of courage we must exercise is paradoxically the kind that admits weakness. “You are the strongest when you are weak, and you are the most courageous when you are broken.”

If you’re looking for a book that will tell you the five secrets to success or the seven steps to taking your organization to the next level, Leading with a Limp is not it. But if you’re a discouraged leader who wonders whether God can use you, a mother or father who thinks you’re the only parent in the world who doesn’t know what to do next, or a church leader who wants to see your church grow as a gospel community, this would be a great read. It certainly encouraged me.

What books have you found helpful for surviving in ministry?

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