“Who in his right mind would want to be a leader?” asks Dan Allender in his Waterbook Press release, Leading with a Limp. “And who would admit that God calls every one of us to lead? The dilemma is this: God does call every one of us to lead.”
Allender has a talent for exploring an issue upside down, and this refreshing book on leadership is no exception. Most leadership manuals focus on power, control, and positioning, and contemporary leaders give the illusion that if you can just achieve a leadership position, your days will be filled with acclaim, opportunities, and faithful sidekicks. Allender states, “If you’re a leader, you’re in for the battle of your life. Nothing comes easily, enemies outnumber allies, and the terrain keeps shifting under your feet.”
Biblical examples of reluctant leaders include Moses (“send Aaron”), Jonah, and Jeremiah. Biblical leadership “is a calling that is ridiculous, and counterintuitive and paradoxical.” according to Allender.
Leaders frequently fall, and we cluck our tongues and feel betrayed that one we put our trust and confidence in turned out to be human after all. But Allender suggests that we should bless men and women who have tried to leave leadership, but are compelled to continue. Allender discusses the paradox of leaders needing friends, but the reality that those same friends may be the source of painful betrayal. Other chapters focus on busyness and growing character over organization. “The reluctant leader detoxifies power by empowering others to bring their vision, passion, and gifts to the enterprise,” Allender writes. To make his point, he includes three pages of acknowledgements at the front of his book and discussions between himself and his editor at the end.
Leading with a Limp is my favorite pick on leadership. This work is written for the person trying to get their neighborhood to recycle or the person at the top of a Fortune 500 company. It is a gritty, truthful, inspiring work for anyone desiring to lead, in leadership, or climbing the ladder with stars in their eyes. – PeggySue Wells, Christian Book Previews.com
Put your flawed foot forward.
Pick up most leadership books and you’ll find strategies for leveraging your power and minimizing your areas of weakness. But think about the leaders whose names have gone down in history. Most of them were so messed up that, if they were looking for work today, no executive placement service would give them the time of day.
God’s criteria for choosing leaders runs counter to the conventional wisdom. Our culture equates strength with effectiveness, but God favors leaders who know the value of brokenness.
In Leading With a Limp, you’ll discover what makes flawed leaders so successful. They’re not preoccupied with protecting their image, they are undaunted by chaos and complexity, they are ready to risk failure in moving an organization from what is to what should be. God chooses leaders who aren’t deceived by the myths of power and control, but who realize that God’s power is found in brokenness.
If you are a leader–or if you have been making excuses to avoid leading–find out how you can take full advantage of your weakness. A limping leader is the person God uses to accomplish amazing things.