|The Barnabas Ministry
Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership- The Paradox
This is a book by leaders, for leaders, designed to prevent their readers from adding their names to the list of those who succeed greatly at spiritual leadership, only to have their "dark side" ultimately get the best of them and ruin their lives and ministries.
Nobody has to look very far to see spiritual leadership failures. Yet many wrongly think that these failings are merely the work of Satan:
Many Christian leaders have been taught to blame the "enemy" for their leadership failures. When a leader commits adultery, embezzles money from the church, or gets caught exposing himself, the most frequent explanation among the ranks of the faithful is "Boy, the devil sure is working overtime," with little attention given to the realities of human dysfunction. (p. 155)The fact is, all of us have a "dark side" that consists of the unmet needs and "existential debts" that orient our lives and drive us from deep down inside. These often provide motivation to do good things-- such as spiritual leadership. But when these "dark side" characteristics continue to lurk in the darkness and are combined with spiritual leadership, we have a recipe for disaster. Pride, selfishness, self-deceit and wrong motives are identified as the tell-tale signs that the "dark side" is out of control.
Five different types of unhealthy leadership patterns are discussed:
Here is a citation from the book, a summary statement regarding the dangers of the dark side:
A compulsive dark side allowed to operate unchecked can result in a personal and organizational rigidity that stifles creativity and frays our relationships with others. Compulsive leadership can produce a self-righteous, legalistic environment that alienates the people we are called to lead. Compulsive tendencies can result in workaholism or a painful emotional explosion and lead to a complete burnout that may take years to recover from. Additionally, the urge to control those we lead and live with more often than not results in alienation and rebellion as people react against our control. More than one marriage and church have been hopelessly fractured by such leadership.McIntosh and Rima warn that no amount of success in leadership or ministry can heal the wounds from our unmet needs or pay our existential debts. Accordingly, leaders must identify their unmet needs and existential debts and deal with them effectively before they wreak havoc in their lives and ministries.
Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership provides a means to identify and address the "dark side" in the individual leader's life. I recommend this book for all leaders, all who are training future leaders, and all older Christians who provide candid and frank input to leaders.Copyright © 2002 John Engler. All rights reserved.
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