David A. Davis, senior pastor of Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, N.J., spent a sabbatical studying leadership. He found that while much of the books available are “unhelpful schlock,” there were also lessons to be gleaned from the exercise. Here’s his recommended reading list:
Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis and Annie McKee -- A solid introduction to the growing literature about emotional intelligence. The vocabulary and categories are easily adaptable when reflecting on pastoral ministry.
Leadership Can Be Taught: A Bold Approach for a Complex World by Sharon Daloz Parks -- The author explores the teaching of leadership expert Ronald Heifetz. A glimpse into the questions, methods and themes that arise in one educator’s classroom.
Why CEOs Fail: The 11 Behaviors That Can Derail your Climb to the Top -- and How to Manage Them by David L. Dotlich and Peter C. Cairo -- A fascinating discussion based on the assumption that one can learn from failure. The list of derailments is relevant to case after case of failed pastoral relationships.
Leading Change: The Argument for Values-Based Leadership by James O’Toole -- O’Toole’s guiding image for leading from within the community is a painting by James Ensor called “Christ’s Entry into Brussels.” The painting itself is worth contemplating.
Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block -- A popular read these days for leaders concerned about shaping communities.