Thursday, December 6, 2007

Heroic Leadership

Chris Lowney's Heroic Leadership occupies my reading time this week. Though I have not completed the book yet, its key ideas and historical survey make it worth recommending.

Lowney (a former Jesuit and later investment banker) affirms that everyone can be a leader. This is possible because a leader is not simply a person who commands a chain of followers, but rather someone who exerts a positive influence on other people. He then illustrates this thesis at work in the life of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), a religious order that has an over 400 year history.

Another reason that everyone can be a leader is that leadership begins with self-leadership. Lowney explains that the leaders who last are not necessarily the brightest, but rather those who first understand their strengths and their weaknesses and then take action on that knowledge.

Because I am a student of history and religion as well as leadership I find the book enjoyable, but I chiefly appreciate his decision to write a leadership text that challenges popular notions of leaders as masters and commanders.

To visit Lowney's website, click here.

IDEA LEADER: In what ways am I leading myself?

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